The publication of the report of the national advisory committee on palliative care was approved by Government and launched on 4 October 2001. The report describes a comprehensive palliative care service and acts as a blueprint for its development over a five to seven year period. My Department has provided funding to all the health boards on a pro-rata basis to commence the development of palliative care services in line with the recommendations in the report.
The report recommended that palliative care needs assessment studies should be carried out in each health board area and these studies are either completed or nearing completion. Information gleaned from these studies will inform the future development of palliative care services at health board level in consultation with the consultative and development committees which have been set up as recommended in the report. In addition, a paediatric palliative care needs assessment study is nearing completion and the report of the expert group on specialist design guidelines for palliative care settings is also nearing completion.
As the Deputy can see, my Department, the health boards and the voluntary sector are actively involved in planning for the development of palliative care services in line with the recommendations in the report of the national advisory committee. Funding is being provided for the development of such services on a incremental basis in line with the recommendations in the report.