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03 Oct 2019

MP Julian Lesser applauds San Palliative Care

The San's Palliative Care services and hospital care have been highlighted and applauded by Julian Leeser MP during a moving tribute in Federal Parliament.

"Colin Wood was a wonderful man and a Liberal Party branch and conference president in my electorate. Just after I lost my first preselection, he called me and offered me words of encouragement. That was the sort of person Colin was. Colin was a Yorkshireman who came to Australia for better weather and a better life. He ran an engineering business that enabled him to pursue his passions for cruising and cricket. Every year, he volunteered to be an attendant at cricket grounds in England, so he could watch the game that he loved. Colin had a wonderful sense of humour and a sense of justice, and he was always up to date with the latest technology. No election campaign was complete without Colin and his wife, Mary, organising the booth kits. When I decided to run for Berowra, Colin Wood was the first person I told. Their support and enthusiasm were hugely valuable, and Colin and Mary became great friends.

Sadly, over the last five years and eight months of his life, Colin was battling pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer normally takes people in a matter of weeks. The fact that Colin had survived so long is a testament to his spirit and the care that Mary and his doctors gave him. I had the honour of visiting Colin in his home in the weeks before he died. Colin and Mary told me about the incredible palliative care service at the Sydney Adventist Hospital. The San's community palliative care service enabled Colin to spend the majority of his last months being cared for by Mary in the comfort of his own home. The San is at the forefront of palliative care. They've recognised that, while around 70 per cent of Australians would prefer to die in the comfort of their own home, only about 10 per cent do so. The San has developed a community palliative care program that enables patients to receive specialist palliative care services in their home. The program comprises two elements. First, there are nurse practitioners who can prescribe medicines, diagnose illness and offer referrals. The extended clinical role of the nurse practitioner improves access people have to specialist care. Second, there is a telephone service which ensures carers have access to 24-hour support if needed. The San's community palliative care service provides continuity of care between hospital and home and better-quality end of life for patients and their families. None of this would have been possible without an anonymous philanthropic gift the hospital received in 2011.

Colin received exceptional support from his wife, Mary, supported by staff at the San. Mary spoke extremely highly of the staff who provided them comfort, safety and pain relief. I want to acknowledge the incredible work of Dr Gillian Rothwell, Professor Gavin Marx, Kerrie Kneen and the team at the San, who are doing wonderful work in palliative care. Their work improves the wellbeing of individuals and alleviates pressure on the health system. My hope is that the palliative care work at the San can continue and be rolled out across the country, so that more people can benefit from the highest-quality palliative care at the end of their lives. That would be a fitting tribute to the life of Colin Wood, a man who gave so much and asked so little but wanted to see that other Australians didn't suffer pain and could spend their final moments in the comfort of their home."
 

This program is a San Foundation initiative.

    


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