Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture will be celebrated across the South West Hospital and Health Service with a range of NAIDOC Week activities from 8–15 July.
“As a health service, we are strongly committed to improving our services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents and to delivering them in culturally appropriate ways. Just recently, we released our 2018–2022 Strategic Plan, where closing the gap in health inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents is one of our four core priorities over the next four years.”
“But achieving this requires much more than the provision of clinical services, it requires us to have an understanding and respect of cultural differences and needs, and a commitment to applying this understanding across all areas of the health service.’’
Ms Patat says the South West HHS had been proactive in working toward this goal, appointing several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officers in recent years who provided advocacy and support for patients.
“We already have Liaison Officers in St George, Charleville and Roma who deliver outreach services to the surrounding towns. But just recently, we have also added Nina Jordan as a Liaison Officer at Cunnamulla Hospital and appointed Rheanna Bartley at Roma as the South West’s first ever Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officer Women’s Business.
Mrs Bartley says she is honoured to be the first Women’s Business Liaison Officer for the South West. Previously, she had worked in the areas of chronic disease and mental health.
“It’s a great privilege for me to be chosen to represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the South West – and particularly in the year when our NAIDOC Week theme is about women.’’
This year’s NAIDOC Week theme – “Because of her, we can’’ – The theme pays tribute to the significant role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played in society, at the community, local, state and national levels.
Cunnamulla Hospital’s new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officer Nina Jordan has been working for the health service for more than 18 years in various positions before recently being appointed to her new role. As well as Cunnamulla, she covers Eulo, Yowah and Thargomindah.
“After losing my young son to suicide, it inspired me to apply for the liaison officer position to help other members in the community. My work involves interacting with clients, follow-up care with patients after they are discharged from hospital, working with other health care providers and ensuring patients attend further appointments.”
Additionally, South West HHS employs Advanced Aboriginal Health Workers in Dirranbandi, Charleville and St George, who support clinicians in the delivery of health services through community engagement and health promotion.
It has also recently established an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Advisory Council to provide clinical leadership, engagement and expert advice to the highest level of operational management in our organisation.