A COLLABORATION agreement between Bendigo Health and Bendigo District Aboriginal Co-operative will further strengthen hospital services for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people.
The agreement was signed this week by Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder and BDAC chief executive Raylene Harradine.
It will support Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander patients and their families, ensuring that a holistic approach is taken in all aspects of care.
This includes family circumstances, social and emotional issues, financial and accommodation arrangements, and engagement will be based on the recognition of understanding cultural and historical beliefs and perspectives.
Mr Mulder said the health service continues to support Aboriginal health and is committed to supporting the Victorian government's strategic directions for Aboriginal health over the next 10 years via the “Koolin Balit” strategy.
“We are committed to enhancing our service to provide a culturally safe, welcoming and supportive environment for all members of our community,” Mr Mulder said.
“We continue to encourage identification so we can ensure that the appropriate services are being offered.
“This includes an on-site Aboriginal hospital liaison officer and increasing our Aboriginal workforce and volunteers.
“Our commitment to making Aboriginal health everyone’s business is ‘closing the gap’ and improving the patient journey in our community.”
Bendigo Health executive director of healthy communities and continuing care Liz Hamilton said this was the third collaboration agreement since it was first introduced in 2011.
“It is a real commitment between ourselves and BDAC and sets the standard of how to improve the health of (indigenous) people.
“The basis of what we want to do is to create a safe environment in Bendigo Health for indigenous people, a service that is responsive and committed,” she said.
Ms Hamilton said the collaborative agreement would be in place for two years before it was reviewed. Mr Mulder said Bendigo Health is committed to facilitating meaningful and sustainable change in the way in which the organisation works with the local Aboriginal community to develop appropriate and high quality services.
“We value and appreciate the time and expertise that the Aboriginal community provide to develop initiatives, such as the display of Aboriginal artwork in the main foyer of the hospital and the development of Bendigo Health’s acknowledgement to country process,” Mr Mulder said.