Bathurst Health Service will celebrate National Reconciliation Week on Thursday, 29 May with an Elder talk and a performance by Bathurst West Public School dancers in the hospital foyer.
National Reconciliation Week is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June: May 27marks the anniversary of the 1967 referendum in which over 90 per cent of Australians voted to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census. June 3 marks the anniversary of the High Court Mabo decision in 1992 which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land that existed prior to British colonisation and that still exists today. This recognition paved the way for Native Title land rights.
The theme for this year’s National Reconciliation Week is Let’s Walk the Talk. The theme aims to encourage all Australians to put words into action by getting involved in the reconciliation journey. Each year during Reconciliation Week people across Australia gather to hold events that celebrate Indigenous cultures and raise awareness about what still needs to happen to achieve reconciliation.
National Reconciliation Week is a good opportunity to highlight the “Aboriginal Identification in Hospital Quality Improvement” (AIHQI) project, which has been running at Bathurst Health Service for the last 12 months and is the first project of its type for NSW Health. The aim of AIHQI is to improve the health outcomes of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It’s a good example of the theme of Let’s Walk the Talk.
Western NSW Local Health District has the highest proportion of Aboriginal people in Western NSW (9.5%). The AIHQI project ties in with the Health District’s Closing the Gap priority in its Strategic Health Services Plan.
The AIHQI Project works alongside Bathurst Health Service Aboriginal Health Workers, Western NSW Local Health District’s Aboriginal Management team, Medicare Locals, the Kelso Clinic and local Aboriginal communities to achieve the AIHQI goals which are to:
- improve patient journeys for Aboriginal people attending Bathurst Health service, in particular the Emergency Department,
- improve the data collection systems used within the hospital systems to appropriately reflect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status of client’s presenting to Bathurst Health Service so that appropriate follow up care can be implemented,
- develop partnerships with the local Aboriginal community, and
- improve cultural competence of hospital staff.