This week is National Reconciliation Week. At Wentworth Healthcare we recognise that “Reconciliation” is not just a word - it is a process that requires change and positive action. It is a journey for all Australians - as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Our organisation has a strong history of collaborating with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities within our region. Over the past two years our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has reinforced this, and has formalised our ongoing commitment to continue to work together to build communities of healthcare practice that support and empower Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We acknowledge that Reconciliation requires tangible plans. To reflect this, we identified some key priorities and focus areas in our RAP and have worked hard towards achieving them. Some highlights include:
We currently provide RACGP accredited Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training to healthcare providers within our 4 LGA's. This training was developed and is delivered by an Aboriginal consultant in partnership with our Aboriginal Liaison Officer.
We have incorporated an Acknowledgement of Country plaque in all meeting rooms as well as Acknowledgement of Country being standard practice across all internal and external meetings, Aboriginal art and flags are visible across our workplace and our meeting rooms are named after the local Aboriginal countries on which we work.
We commissioned the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health to support local Aboriginal students to complete a Diploma in Mental Health, specialising in mental health and alcohol and other drugs. As a result we are thrilled to have nine more qualified Aboriginal mental health and addiction support workers in our region.
We are proud to have appointed our first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Director to our board in 2018. Mr John Yealland is a Wiradjuri man and has an in depth understanding of the issues that confront Aboriginal people and also brings a wealth of experience in the support of people with disabilities.
These initiatives have allowed us the opportunity to collaborate with organisations who share our values in improving accessibility to healthcare. Through this, we have been able to identify and develop various programs and services that will assist Aboriginal &Torres Strait Islander people on their journey to better health outcomes.
We are proud of all our programs, but we are particularly proud of our unique and innovative ‘‘Breath of Fresh Air’ campaign. It focuses on culture and collective community engagement, through the use of storytelling and art-based visual messaging, to better engage Aboriginal people. This campaign was developed in consultation with local Aboriginal community members who strongly reinforced that the campaign needed to find a positive approach and draw on the importance of culture.
The theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week is 'In this together'. This reminds us that every one of us has a role to play when it comes to Reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal &Torres Strait Islander people, their histories and cultures.