Advocate of Wagga’s proposed palliative care hospice meets with NSW Health Minister

CONFIDENT PUSH: Forrest Centre chairman Peter Fitzpatrick met with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to discuss Wagga's hospice.
CONFIDENT PUSH: Forrest Centre chairman Peter Fitzpatrick met with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to discuss Wagga's hospice.

AN ADVOCATE of Wagga’s proposed 10-bed palliative care facility has pleaded with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard for state government funding. 

An ongoing campaign to raise $5 million to build a hospice at the Forrest Centre has so far yielded $2 million in community donations, leaving $3 million in the red.  

Forrest Centre chairman Peter Fitzpatrick said it has been an extraordinary effort so far.

He met with Mr Hazzard and Murrumbidgee Local Health District CEO Jill Ludford last week to ask for financial assistance. 

“This is the last piece of the puzzle,” he said. 

"I'm optimistic following the Minister's comments to me that we will get somewhere.

"Not everyone gets to die at home, everyone wants to but there are always hurdles.

“We are trying to provide a space for people to die with dignity, irrespective of their standing in the community.” 

It has since been revealed the hospice is slated to open in April, 2018 – providing the funds fall into place. 

Marge Colvin, whose mother used an end-of-life facility in Sydney, said it is a no-brainer for Wagga.

”People in regional areas should have the same access to dignity in their dying days as those in the city,” she said. 

“I’ve donated to it and I’d hope that most would lend a hand and show the power of the community.

“My mum was in so much pain and discomfort – and it just made a world of difference to get her out of the clinical hospital environment.”

Notable organisations to contribute to the Forrest Centre proposed hospice include Wagga police, Wagga RSL and the North East Riverina Rural Counselling Service. 

Putting further attention on the need to secure funding, Wagga MP Daryl Maguire spoke of the community’s amazing progress. 

“This issue affects us all, as one in three people suffer from cancer,” he told fellow parliamentarians. 

“I look forward to seeing the new facility in Wagga Wagga finished.”

A decision is expected to be made next month.