The development of hospital-based palliative care services in public hospitals in the Western Cape, South Africa
With the recent approval of a South African (SA) National Policy Framework and Strategy for Palliative Care by the National Health Council, it is pertinent to reflect on initiatives to develop palliative care services in public hospitals. This article reviews the development of hospital-based palliative care services in the Western Cape, SA. Palliative care services in SA started in the non-governmental sector in the 1980s. The first SA hospital-based palliative care team was established in Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in 2001. The awareness of the benefit of palliative care in the hospital setting led to the development of isolated pockets of excellence providing palliative care in the public health sector in SA. This article describes models for palliative care at tertiary, provincial and district hospital level, which could inform development of hospital-based palliative care as the national policy for palliative care is implemented in SA.