Sue Manton from Little Haven Palliative Care preparing for the Melbourne Cup luncheon last November.
Sue Manton from Little Haven Palliative Care preparing for the Melbourne Cup luncheon last November. Jacob Carson

Little Haven needs more support from Qld Health

I CONGRATULATE you on running the feature "Dealing with Death” (The Gympie Times, March 3) for encouraging discussions around end of life planning.

However as the business manager of Little Haven Palliative Care, the primary provider of community based palliative care services in the local region, I was disappointed the contributors of these articles did not mention or seek comment from Little Haven on the palliative care services being delivered in our region.

This omission disrespects the work the Gympie community has done over the last 38 years in developing, and largely funding, a model of community based Palliative Care that is nationally and internationally recognised.

Springtime at Springhalls is always a big social and fundraising event. Event hosts and organisers (from left) George Springhall, Sue Manton, and Bronwyn McFarlane.
Springtime at Springhalls is always a big social and fundraising event. Event hosts and organisers (from left) George Springhall, Sue Manton, and Bronwyn McFarlane. Scott Kovacevic

Our model of care gives all residents early access to in home palliative care, on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, all free of charge.

This is something the Gympie Community should be and is extremely proud of.

Furthermore, I wish to make mention of the pivotal role our local doctors play in the initial diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care of locals with a terminal illness.

Haven Palliative Care manager Sue Manton (second left) with Happy Wrappers organiser Lola Cass (left), Glad Brennan and Glenyce Hartwig.
Haven Palliative Care manager Sue Manton (second left) with Happy Wrappers organiser Lola Cass (left), Glad Brennan and Glenyce Hartwig.

The majority of local GPs provide extremely good palliative support, home visits and after hours advice.

The relationship between GPs and Little Haven's nurses is one of mutual professional respect fostered across many years, working together to give our patients the best possible quality and quantity of life.

Access to the Sunshine Coast Specialist Palliative Care Service for patients with more complex clinical needs is the icing on the cake.

Little Haven's service consistently performs above the national statistics provided by the Gratten Institute of "only 14% of Australians dying surrounded by their own walls”.

Year in year out 56% of our patients remain at home to die and a further 16% with less than five days in hospital - as this is their wish. This represents an enormous saving to Queensland Health and the tax payer.

Our repeated approaches to QHealth for more equitable funding have been met with a brick wall. Their advice to reduce the size of the area we service and cap the number of patients we admit is completely unacceptable.

Instead QHealth provides Little Haven with token funding.

Of the $87 million spent on palliative care each year in Queensland, Little Haven receives just $255,000.

Currently this equates to contributing just $8.72 per patient per day to cover 11 nursing staff on the road across our vast district, a social worker, specialised equipment, bereavement support and a host of complementary therapies.

You can see why I feel we get the crumbs off the table.

To omit the role Little Haven plays in the provision of quality end of life care in the Gympie region is disappointing.

Our community has and continues to invest in developing a unique, successful and growing model of community based palliative care that is the envy of every community in Australia.

Sue Manton,

Little Haven Palliative Care.

Gympie Times


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