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Green shoots in campaign for hospice in Orange as local, state and feds back concept


If you think Orange needs a hospice, let your local politicians know. Stock image.

By Peter Holmes


Orange is setting out on a long and arduous journey towards providing a 24-hour-a-day hospice to complement the palliative beds opened at Orange Hospital last year.



According to one government source, in a best case scenario - in which all three tiers of government worked together to make the dream a reality - politicians could be cutting the ribbon on a new hospice in about five years.


Community group Push for Palliative, which was behind the tidal wave of community support for palliative beds at Orange Hospital, says that Orange needs a hospice for those not requiring end-of-life care, including younger people who may otherwise need to go into aged care.

At Orange Civic Theatre on Sunday afternoon the Orange Symphony Orchestra played to a packed house of about 500 people.




The event was a fundraiser for Push for Palliative.


Orange Symphony Orchestra performs on February 20 at the Orange Civic Theatre. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

During her speech after intermission, the group’s president Jenny Hazelton spoke of the need for a standalone hospice in Orange.


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“We are very happy with the palliative care at the hospital - the feedback has been great and the staff have been wonderful - but essentially they only do end-of-life care, which is generally the last seven to 10 days of a person’s life,” she told The Orange News Examiner on Monday.

“When you do full palliative care, which includes end-of-life, you are able to offer respite care, so people can come in while their carers have a break; you can also offer pain management so people can come in and then return back home.”

Hazelton said it was “very, very early days” in the campaign to have a standalone hospice in Orange.



“That is our ultimate goal, but we have to go one step at a time, bit by bit.”


She said that patients, who might otherwise go to a hospice before end-of-life care was required, may currently be admitted to a ward in the main hospital, or be supported by the community team in their own place of residence.


Stock image.

Among those in the audience for the symphony concert on Sunday afternoon was state MP Phil Donato, who has long backed palliative care in Orange, and who chairs a palliative care working committee with community stakeholders.


"The model at Orange Health Service is working at almost 100 percent capacity and going well from all reports, but a designated hospice is still something we are seeking," he told The Orange News Examiner.



He said the working group had been discussing the concept of a hospice: "It's something I support."

All three tiers of government would likely need to work together to find land for the site, fund the building of the facility and then staff it as a 24-hour-a-day concern.

The CEO of Orange City Council David Waddell told The Orange News Examiner that council would do what it could to assist with land for a hospice.

This could include scoping studies to try and find a suitable site owned by council, or entering discussions with NSW Health about using land at the vast Bloomfield medical site.


Federal member Andrew Gee told The Orange News Examiner on Monday afternoon he has "always been a supporter of a palliative care hospice at Orange, and still am".


"While the NSW government is primarily responsible for the bricks and mortar construction of hospitals and palliative care facilities in NSW, and also staffing, the states get an annual bulk funding allocation every year from the federal government (which is at record levels) and could use some of this funding for a hospice project."

But Mr Gee also says he thinks "there is some scope for some lateral thinking on this. I’d be very interested in seeing a project proposal to explore whether there is a way for the state and federal governments to work together to make it happen.

"The Australian government’s Building Better Regions Fund, while not strictly health funding, is one potential funding stream that we could investigate."

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