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14th August 2019

Palliative Care WA is concerned about being misrepresented in an article published on 12 August in the Western Suburbs Weekly.

Palliative Care WA recognises the diversity of views in the current Voluntary Assisted Dying debate and believes this is a decision between the people of WA and their elected representatives.

The article entitled “Nurse says better palliative care negates need for assisted dying” wrongly stated that Palliative Care WA is anti-euthanasia.  Palliative Care WA is neither pro nor anti Voluntary Assisted Dying. The intent of palliative care is to neither prolong nor hasten death, as clearly articulated by the World Health Organisation definition. The article also wrongly stated the palliative care nurse quoted was speaking on behalf of Palliative Care WA.  The newspaper has acknowledged its error and has retracted the connection with Palliative Care WA on its online version of the story.

As the peak body for palliative care in WA our priority is to advocate for increased provision and access of quality palliative care for all Western Australians who require it.

Western Australia has the lowest number per capita of inpatient palliative care beds in Australia and only 15 full time equivalent palliative care specialist doctors.  Of the 16,000 Western Australians who die each year, 70% would benefit from palliative care, but only half of these have access to palliative care services.

Palliative Care WA Chief Executive Officer Lana Glogowski said “We would like to reiterate that we do not see voluntary assisted dying as part of palliative care.  We will continue to work with our sector and with Government to increase funding and availability of palliative care for all Western Australians.”

Palliative Care WA will also continue to focus on encouraging all Western Australians to engage in Advance Care Planning and have conversations with their loved ones about what matters to them for their last stage of life.