As we bid farewell to our staff who have delivered the Blue Mountains Healthy for Life program for the last six years, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the successes that have been achieved by this program.
We are very proud of these successes, and have countless stories that show the difference this program has made to the lives of Aboriginal people living in the Blue Mountains.
The client who was feeling isolated and disconnected living in a nursing home, who, through the program, was helped to reconnect with the community and supported in his health management to improved mental wellbeing and no longer needing the care of the Public Guardian (NBMPHN Annual Report, 2016).
Or the client - who after being told by a specialist to go home and put her affairs in order - was helped by the program to recover from transplant surgery and more. She praised the Healthy for Life program for giving her such well connected team work and care coordination that ultimately improved her life (NBMPHN Annual Report, 2015).
It is through each and every single instance of the Healthy for Life program making a difference to the individuals within our community that we are able to appreciate the full extent of the success of this program.
With almost a third of the Blue Mountains Aboriginal population registered with the Healthy for Life program and over 4000 occasions of service provided annually by dedicated Healthy for Life staff, the program has had significant impact. Our region is ranked number one nationally for GP antenatal shared care for Aboriginal women and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Online Services Report showed the Healthy for Life program is tracking extremely well on a national basis.
From 1 April, 2017, the Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (Wellington) will be managing the Blue Mountains’ Healthy for Life program.
Because of the Department of Health’s new funding arrangements for Healthy for Life, the Nepean Blue Mountains PHN will no longer be able to deliver this program, however the Department of Health has assured us that they are committed to ensuring it continues.
We are working closely with the Department of Health to transition the running of the program to Wellington. Naturally, client confidentiality will be a key consideration as part of this process.
The commitment, governance and support provided by the Blue Mountains Aboriginal Health Coalition has been central to the establishment and success of the Healthy for Life program and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the current and past Coalition members for all they have done and continue to do to support better heath for the Blue Mountains Aboriginal community and all they have taught me and the organisation.
I would also like to thank the GPs, the Healthy for Life staff and other health organisations that have been committed to this initiative. I am in awe of their passion, commitment and dedication to the local community and their drive to make a positive difference to the lives of Aboriginal people.
If you have any queries in relation to this change or the Healthy for Life program moving forward, please contact Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service on 02 6845 3545.