Palliative Care Tasmania

The State of Palliative Care Report 2023-24

The palliative care sector in Tasmania needs reliable and replicable data and information to understand, plan, and measure its work. In particular, we should be able to answer the fundamental questions:

Who receives what palliative care services from whom? For what purpose? At what cost? To what effect?

In 2021, Palliative Care Tasmania produced a State of Palliative Care Report (SOPC Report) that outlined the extent of the Tasmanian workforce that has any role in palliative care. It found that nearly every Tasmanian is likely to interact with palliative care at some stage in their life, and that more than 49,000 workers – including 28,785 employees in the health and community sectors and 20,582 unpaid carer and volunteers across 1,870 services – are providing at least some palliative care for Tasmanians in at least part of their role.

The 2021 SOPC Report served an important purpose by demonstrating that Tasmanian palliative care comprises a vast, integrated ‘community of care’. It supported the messaging that ‘Everyone has a role to play.’

The 2021 Report was, however, broad in nature and there was little additional value in replicating this approach.

State of Palliative Care 2023-24

In 2023, Palliative Care Tasmania aims to enhance the SOPC Report concept. In particular, Palliative Care Tasmania aims to:

  • Take a consumer-focused approach by centering analysis around the number of Tasmanians needing palliative care each year
  • Be far more precise about the size of the palliative care service sector by estimating, analysing and comparing the full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce 1
  • Ensure the analysis could be used comparatively (in future years; and against other states/territories) by using established, replicable national data sources
  • Examine differences in palliative care need and services across 29 Tasmanian Local Government Areas (LGAs).

The challenge, however, is there is no comprehensive database in Australia and Tasmania on who needs palliative care, who provides palliative care, and the setting in which palliative care is provided.2 In particular, palliative care delivered in primary care, community health centres and the aged care sector is ‘hidden’ in the national data.

So, Palliative Care Tasmania partnered with the University of Tasmania (UTAS) to tackle this data and information challenge by drawing together partial data sets from reliable and replicable sources to provide important sector insights. The methodology behind each data insight is explained in detail. This means the headline figures can be replicated year-on-year. It also means that as data collection and analyses improve over time, changes in method can be documented and explained.

Palliative Care Tasmania and UTAS anticipate, and warmly welcome, robust examination of the headline figures in this Summary and the Full Report, and the reasoning behind them. We intend to update these figures annually, and look forward to doing so by learning and sharing knowledge with others.

In particular, in future years we look forward to adding analysis for sections of the Tasmanian palliative workforce for which there is currently no reliable and replicable FTE dataset.

State of Palliative Care 2023-24

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