Earlier this year in October 2021, the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Chief Executive, Mr Graeme Loy, was reported to announce in a staff meeting that the Westmead Hospital dedicated stand-alone Palliative Care ward would reopen. This was after a ministerial review was called after a long campaign of advocacy led by Dr Philip Lee which has been supported by Spotlight.
Since the reported announcement, little information has been released. A request by Spotlight for Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, to appear on Spotlight and update the community with plans for the Palliative Care Ward received the following quote from the hospital media team.
Our priority is to ensure the people of western Sydney have access to health services which work for them now, and in the future. It would therefore be premature to comment on future service provision while our palliative care services review is ongoing.Graeme Loy, Chief Executive, WSLHD
It is understood that the report conducted at the request of Minister Hazzard has been endorsed by the WSLHD Board and has been forwarded to Minister Hazzard. Spotlight will again invite Minister Hazzard to appear on Spotlight to provide updates to the community of Western Sydney.
Spotlight believes it is paramount that the Western Sydney community has answers to questions on a timeline for reopening of the dedicated stand-alone Palliative Care ward, the location of the ward within Westmead Hospital, the number of beds and funding or plans to re-establish an experienced, specialised palliative care nursing workforce for the ward.
The reopening and redevelopment of the dedicated stand-alone Palliative Care ward must not be delayed any longer. The previous ward closed in 2009, over ten years ago. The community cannot wait another 10 years before there is further action. The quality of life for Western Sydney palliative care patients has been impaired for far too long, increasing the likelihood of unnecessary suffering.
For more information on the Westmead Push for Palliative Care campaign and to provide support, please visit the public Facebook group (link below).