Queensland’s peak Catholic women’s group has told a state parliamentary inquiry that the health system should not be focused on ending life, but on providing quality palliative care. Source: The Catholic Leader.
“We’ve got to stand up for what we believe,” 82-year-old Veronica Box, who is state president of the Catholic Women’s League, said after addressing the Inquiry into Aged Care End-of-Life, Palliative Care and Voluntary Assisted Dying.
Ms Box spoke on behalf of 700 CWL members during an inquiry hearing in Caloundra earlier this month, explaining that good terminal illness care would “validate the lives of individuals” who were suffering and/or at the end of their life.
“It’s not that we don’t have feelings for people suffering – we do,” she said.
Ms Box delivered a moving personal testimony and presented a written submission focused on the lack of palliative care available in country Queensland, and the difficulty of patients trying to negotiate the red tape involved in NDIS, My Aged Care and Queensland Community Care.
“How well a society cares for its vulnerable, weak and unwell members is, we believe, to be a measure of the loving capacity and resourcefulness of that society,” the CWL submission stated.
“When the quality of its care is guaranteed and safeguarded by society, its members are able to trust and have confidence in its provision.
“In contrast to the medical, nursing and community support, which a supportive society wraps around its sick and dying members, is the alarming suggestion that its sick members may be better off dead.”
Ms Box said competent palliative care assured patients and their loved ones that they would not be abandoned or left alone, that they would be provided with the best pain control and symptom management, and that palliative care doctors and nurses would never give up and walk away.
“More energy, funds and focus should be placed on the provision and improvement of our current palliative care system rather than enacting and supporting assisted dying,” she said.
“This is a strength-based, positive approach to those facing the end of life, rather than pushing to end a person’s life, which could be detrimental and harmful to the society as a whole.”