Cultural bridge needed in hospitals

Daneka HillNorth West Telegraph
Yvette Kelly runs through the issues brought to attention during a day long Women's Business meeting among Elders
Camera IconYvette Kelly runs through the issues brought to attention during a day long Women's Business meeting among Elders Credit: Daneka Hill

A need for more indigenous translators and liaison workers in hospitals was flagged as a major priority by female Aboriginal elders at the Yule River meeting.

Communication problems between patients and staff, and issues of cultural insensitivity were the main drivers behind a recommendation for greater indigenous inclusion in the healthcare sector that arose out of a Women’s Business meeting.

Presenting the findings last Thursday, mental health worker and Aboriginal woman Yvette Kelly said more indigenous health workers would improve the experiences of Aboriginal people accessing services.

“In our discussions, one of the key things was more liaison officers at the hospital,” she said.

Mawarnkarra Health Service director Jolleen Hicks said the push for liaison staff was also about creating jobs suited to indigenous people.

“We need to really start to think about those employment roles that we are qualified to do and get us into those roles,” she said.

Addressing Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt and a panel of visitors, Ms Hicks said Aboriginal people could add value to the health service and were needed within the system.

“We can add value to the commitments and actions that you are responsible for achieving,” she said.

“We need us within the system.”

She said racism remained a big problem in the health sector and more training in Pilbara Aboriginal cultures was needed.

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