40 years of the Mater’s Palliative Care Service

This year, Calvary Mater Newcastle’s Palliative Care Service is marking a significant milestone, celebrating 40 years of caring for patients. As the largest specialist palliative care provider in the region, Mater General Manager, Mark Jeffrey, commended staff for their commitment to quality care. “Supporting patients facing life-limiting illness and accompanying them and their loved ones through treatment, as well as providing dignified and comfort-focused care, is the number one priority for staff,” he said. “To work in this area requires a specialised skillset and an empathetic approach to care. It is an emotionally challenging job, and I’m proud of the staff who turn up for our patients and each other, every day.”

Service Director Dr Rachel Hughes said the service has come a long way in its 40-year history. “In our anniversary celebrations, we acknowledge the legacy of our founding and past staff and volunteers, and their commitment to improving the experience of our community,” she said. “Today, we are proud to operate as an integral part of Hunter New England Local Health District, providing public health services to our community in the form of public inpatient, outreach and hospice care.” Established in August 1983, the service was born out of necessity, operating unfunded and in a voluntary capacity by haematologist Dr Pamela Harrison, and Sister Mary Brendan O’Connor (RSM – Sister of Mercy). In 1987, the palliative care service became fully funded by the NSW Government. The service now consists of a 24/7 multidisciplinary community palliative care team and the Mercy Hospice, which is also celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Read the full story in our Summer Edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.