This would require better care for people with advanced illness; for palliative care to be available to people in all health settings, not just in a small NGO sector; and for training of all healthcare professionals in palliative care. HPCA endorse the South African Patient’s Rights Charter that states that “everyone has the right of access to health care services that include provision for special needs in the case of patients in pain, and palliative care that is affordable and effective”.
Dr Gwyther launched the HPCA petition calling on the South African government to ensure that palliative care is accessible, available and affordable to South Africans facing advanced illness, and to ensure that at the end of their lives patients are treated with dignity and experience relief of suffering.
There are active steps to be taken to ensure access to palliative care. The World Health Organisation recommends a public health approach to the implementation of palliative care services that relies on the education of all health care workers in palliative care; accessibility of palliative care medications; and the development and implementation of policy to ensure the provision of palliative care through services in health and welfare sectors.