North Shore MP Maggie Barry has announced the formation of an all parliamentary group on palliative care.
This is a significant step toward helping promote a better understanding among politicians about the outstanding level of palliative care available in this country. I intend this to be a group that can work constructively, across party lines to focus on improving the quality of life for those with life-limiting conditions. It will be an opportunity to foster discussion around the challenges of providing palliation in caring for people with chronic diseases and dementia, advance planning and the health economics of palliative care.
This group, established in partnership with Hospice NZ and the palliative care sector will be modelled on similar ones internationally, including the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Dying Well.
Later this year Baroness Finlay of Llanduff, who chairs the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Dying Well, will be welcomed as the guest speaker at our inaugural meeting. Ilora Finlay is an Independent Crossbench member of the British House of Lords, a professor of palliative medicine and a past president of the Royal Society of Medicine.
Good palliative care makes a huge difference to people with fatal illnesses and their family and friends who suffer with them.
An all parliamentary group has a much better chance of coming up with policy which works and is enduring than an initiative in which politics might come first.
Maggie has some experience in this area. She chaired a working party into ‘Care of people who are dying’ and is a past patron of Mary Potter Hospice and Hospice New Zealand.