The Victorian Government has dedicated $28 million to improving cultural safety in health care for Aboriginal patients, and one of the major beneficiaries in Wyndham is Werribee Mercy Hospital (WMH).
Mary–Anne Thomas, the Minister for Health, visited WMH to meet their Aboriginal Programs team and to see their progress in breaking down barriers to health care access for Aboriginal people.
The Aboriginal Programs team at WMH is increasing representation throughout the hospital to ensure that doctors, nurses and other health care staff are aware of the services available to Aboriginal patients. They are also connecting with the local community and expanding the hospital‘s referral network, so that Aboriginal people in the area know what support is available while they are in hospital and afterwards.
WMH Aboriginal Programs Manager, Marika Jackomos, says that word–of–mouth is an important part of their success. Team members often speak to patients on their way to hospital, so that the right supports are in place when they arrive.
The Aboriginal staff provide a range of services, such as attending appointments with patients and acting as their advocate to create a culturally safe place to talk and reflect. A dedicated space within the main hospital, Weelam–ik Murrup Dornong, is a culturally welcoming environment for patients and families.
This is just one of the steps that Victoria is taking to create a culturally safe health care environment which recognises, appreciates and respects the diversity of Aboriginal peoples, cultures and communities, and works to remove any barriers to optimal health and wellbeing for Aboriginal people.