Palliative Care Queensland

Dying on the Sunshine Coast, A Game of Russian Roulette

In the lead up to National Palliative Care Week 2012 (May 20-26), experts are warning that dying in Queensland is like playing a game of Russian roulette.

“It all depends on the district you live in”, says Associate Professor Rohan Vora, President of Palliative Care Queensland. “In some areas of Queensland, people will have access to a specialist palliative care if they need it to manage difficult symptoms such as pain and nausea. But in areas like the Sunshine Coast, of the 100 patients referred to the specialist palliative care team per month, there is only enough money available to care for 16 people.”

Associate Professor Vora further advised that over the last few years referrals to the Sunshine Coast specialist palliative care team had increased from 250 per year to 100 per month. Despite the increase in referrals, funding to palliative care has not kept pace, an issue that is mirrored in other regions including the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

“We also have a shortage of doctors and beds; we should have more than 5 full time equivalent specialist palliative care doctors and we half that number. Similarly, with a population of 350,000, the Sunshine Coast needs over 23 specialist palliative care beds, and we only have 14.

” These are just some of the issues that are likely to be discussed at the Your Death Your Choice Community Forum at Events Centre Maroochydore on Saturday May 19th, when Senators Larissa Waters and Claire Moore will participate in a public debate focussing on physician assisted suicide. The day long seminar will provide an opportunity for the Queensland community to talk openly and honestly about their concerns and fears regarding death and dying in modern Queensland.

Tickets are $45 or $27 Concession. For more information about the Your Death Your Choice Community Forum or to purchase your ticket, please visit or call (07) 3211 2299.

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