Ryall: Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty

Speech – New Zealand Government

It is a pleasure to be here today to help open your newly refurbished buildings.

Hon Tony Ryall

Minister of Health
20 January 2012 Speech
Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty

Good afternoon.

It is a pleasure to be here today to help open your newly refurbished buildings.

While medical progress finds new cures at an accelerating pace every day, there will always the need for end of life care.

And as Dame Cicely Saunders – the modern founder of Hospice – said the end of life “can turn out to be the most important part.”

The government recognises the vital part Hospice plays in providing relief, comfort and dignity to people who may be in pain and difficult circumstances.

Hospice makes a huge difference to people’s lives by caring for the whole person – ensuring that terminally ill people are as free from pain and suffering as possible – and that they can die with dignity.

And you also care for families and friends, both before and after the death of a loved one – that takes expertise, commitment and kindness.

All this is free of charge – so it also requires adequate funding.

Anyone who is trying to keep a budget – or raise funds – will agree that the financial challenges we face are major and difficult – and will continue for some time to come.

Like, most Hospice New Zealand members, Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty has a contract with BOP DHB to provide specialist palliative care – which has been boosted under this Government.

We increased funding for hospices by $15 million a year to $75 million in 2011, to expand care and services and meet current financial challenges.

This investment provided equitable funding across hospices in order that we can have this vital service in our communities.

But I know this still doesn’t cover the whole bill.

For that, we must all rely on the generosity of communities – who reached into their pockets to the tune of around $30 million dollars in 2011 to enable patients and their families to make the most of the time they have left together.

Eastern Bay of Plenty may be small – but people here support their Hospice generously.

And I’d like to thank the fifty or so volunteers here who contribute their time and talents to running hospice – and to organising fundraising events and campaigns – about three and a half thousand hours a year between them.

That is the sort of dedication, generosity and hard work that has grown Hospice services here from a volunteer led organisation twenty seven years ago to one of the core health providers in this region.

Thank you all for what you do.

These newly renovated buildings we open today carry a special significance to this community.

They are the hub for the provision of Hospice community-based services across the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Registered Nurses – on call 24/7 – travel thousands of kilometres visiting patients mainly at home.

For 25 years, they’ve provided the best possible specialist palliative care nursing service, free-of-charge, to patients with a life-limiting illness and their families.

All of that, more recently, in quite difficult and cramped conditions.

Now Hospice EBOP can offer even better services to patients and their families across the district out of these newly refurbished buildings – along with more day services on site.

I’d like to wish you all the best for the next twenty-five years.

ENDS

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