Monday, November 2, 2009

Proposed Sale of Clare Holland House

HCCA is opposed to the sale of Clare Holland House (CHH) to Little Company of Mary (LCM). We have a range of concerns relating to the continued integration of palliative care services, implications for governance and staff conditions, and the lack of considered analysis about current and future needs for palliative care in the ACT.

Integration of service:

Concerns have been raised that the proposed sale of Clare Holland House will create a private monopoly in ACT palliative care. At present the service is a tri-partite one, involving ACT Health, LCM, and the Palliative Care Society, which provides checks and balances on the quality of the services provided. What guarantees are there that this balancing mechanism will be maintained if the LCM becomes a monopoly provider of palliative care services?

Implications for governance and staff conditions:

Since home based palliative care management transferred to LCM, nursing staff resources available to provide palliative care in the community appear to be considerably less than when home based palliative care was part of ACT Health. Consumers are expressing concerns about these reductions in available resources while the need for palliative care is growing and the population increasing.

Staff are currently employed by ACT Health, but with the change of management will be employed by the Little Company of Mary and will be required to sign employment contracts agreeing to work to LCM values.

Future needs for palliative care in the ACT:

The palliative care approach is highly valued as a response to end-of-life care in the ACT community. However it is not all patient groups are adequately served because of limited resource availability (e.g. some cancer patients are well cared for but some people with other end of life conditions such as motor neurone are less well catered for; before any transfer of ownership consideration must be given to the establishment of an independent review team made up of individuals with expertise to build a progressive case for additional resources, and to examine the current mix.

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