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Coleambally's care for patients & families.

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Media Release

Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

9th April 2003, No.: 920

Coleambally's care for patients & families An innovative model of service delivery for people who are terminally ill, their families and their carers was opened today in Coleambally by the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator The Hon Kay Patterson.

Senator Patterson and Mrs Kay Hull MP congratulated the collaboration of local GPs, nurses, allied health workers, pastoral care workers, volunteers and other community service providers to develop an integrated system of palliative care.

"Palliative care is very complex, and its various services extend far beyond the traditional health system," Senator Patterson said. "Even with proximate services, overcoming traditional barriers of different health roles can be a significant challenge."

"The development of a totally integrated system with the added obstacle of distance in rural areas is an enormous achievement. The success of the pilot is a tribute to the commitment of all involved in supporting people who are dying and their families and friends.

Coleambally is one of the first extensions of the highly successful Griffith Area Palliative Care Service pilot project. The Griffith Palliative Care Service (GAPS) began in 2001 as a pilot project of the Murrumbidgee Division of General Practice, with joint support from NSW Health and the Commonwealth.

"This project aims to change the structure and delivery of palliative care services by creating united multi-disciplinary teams," Senator Patterson said.

"The elements of the program are simple," she said. "A 1800 number, 24-hour on-call services, best practice protocols, weekly case reviews, ongoing training and support of volunteer networks have been the key ingredients for people to work in a totally integrated system."

"GAPS has overcome distance, scattered infrastructure and a low population base to demonstrate that integrated palliative care is achievable and sustainable within a rural setting."

Media contact: Randal Markey, 0417 694 520