NSW State Parliament has heard how Rutherford woman Fiona Murphy suffered in the last days of her life because she could not receive 24-hour palliative care.
Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison told Mrs Murphy’s story in parliament last week in a bid to pressure the State Government into allocating more funds for around the clock palliative care nurses.
Last week Fairfax Media reported how Mrs Murphy’s husband James watched his wife suffer during the final days of her life. Mrs Murphy was diagnosed with cancer just a few week’s prior to her death. Her wish was to die at home.
Palliative care nurses visited to administer pain relief between 8.30am and 5pm. A lack of government funding meant there were not enough nurses to provide a 24-hour service for Mrs Murphy or Maitland and Dungog’s other 79 other palliative care patients.
On Thursday Mrs Aitchison addressed State Parliament appealing for more funding. She raised the issue of a petition which bears more than 83,000 signatures supporting the push for around the clock care.
“Palliative care is one of the most important and yet unrecognised areas of health care,” Mrs Aitchison said.
“Mrs Murphy suffered discomfort and pain during the night. With no palliative care nurses available she was unable to be administered any pain relief.
“No one should experience this,” she said.
“A month ago I made an urgent representation to the Minister for Health after I was contacted by a women whose father receives palliative care.
“She was distressed and agitated. Due to the lack of 24-hour palliative care services available, her father suffered unimaginable pain and discomfort during the night. All she asked for was more funding to ensure more nurses were on the ground.
“To date I haven’t received a response, not even an acknowledgement, not even after I raised this in the parliament earlier this week,” Mrs Aitchison said.
“Not even after the Murphy family raised their concerns in our local paper. The minister needs to act urgently,” Mrs Aitchison said.
Mrs Murphy’s daughter Amanda said her family is grateful for Mrs Aitchison’s support.
"It's great this debate is ongoing but politicians need to give the issue much more than just lip service. My family will continue to fight until we get more funding for 24-hour care,” she said.