Red-tape misery hurts dying patients

National Project Manager Liza Nagy with Charles Klaverstyn, 63, and Meredith Dennis of Tweed Palliative Support. They are at Wedgetail Retreat in Dulguigan where Charles is receiving end-of-life care.
National Project Manager Liza Nagy with Charles Klaverstyn, 63, and Meredith Dennis of Tweed Palliative Support. They are at Wedgetail Retreat in Dulguigan where Charles is receiving end-of-life care.

A COLLAPSING palliative care system has failed 49-year-old Banora Point mother Donna Harrison, who was told she was ineligible for in-home nursing care just before she died last month.

The incident is not isolated, as new funding cutbacks take effect from "the most significant reforms to the aged care sector in history".


Volunteer-run, non-profit Tweed Palliative Service has been left with the burden of the new cuts.

TPS president Meredith Dennis said when people were at the most difficult time of their life, looking after them at home should be easy and medical assistance for those people should be provided with the highest level of care.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot blamed the coalition's $3 billion cut to the NSW health budget and warned of more cuts with the failure of PM Malcolm Turnbull to appoint a Minister for Aged Care.

The Tweed Daily News has launched the Hospice Appeal campaign today to raise $500,000 for TPS Wedgetail Retreat nursing wages.


Tweed Hospital's palliative director Dr Graeme Burger has urged politicians and the community to act, to free up the ailing hospital's strained palliative ward for more patients.

The hospital's palliative ward has not been upgrade for two decades, and in it the dying must share a room with "screaming" dementia patients, Dr Burger said.

"The whole community needs to support TPS and Wedgetail Retreat," he said.

"I urge action from politicians to find the funding required as it is a model that should be replicated statewide."

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