Objective: This paper reports on and discusses the development of a visiting palliative medicine specialist outreach service for Wagga Wagga New South Wales, Australia, and presents initial data and three case vignettes for reflection. The visiting doctor was flown from Sydney each fortnight for a day and integrated with the local nursing based palliative care team.
Methods: Demographic data was collected over the initial 12 months of service, which included the location of the consult (hospital, home, nursing home), whom the consult was from (specialist, GP), age of the patient, location of death, type of cancer, as well as the complexity of consultation from the perspective of one of the authors.
Results: The majority of referrals were for advice on cancer pain control (62.3%) and other symptoms (26.7%) confirming the expectation. Those patients referred were considered appropriate, with over 75% having a palliative care issue that was considered appropriate for direct patient contact by the specialist in palliative medicine.
Conclusions: The provision of a visiting palliative medicine specialist to rural areas has been developed over the last few years in New South Wales and the reporting of the success of this particular service aims to provide evidence for the need and the development of further services, as it is expected that this service would continue but with an increasing number of referrals as the service became increasingly known.