Aboriginal flag raising ceremonies will be held at Rylstone Multi-Purpose Service (MPS) on Wednesday, 29 October and Oberon MPS on Thursday, 30 October.
The ceremonies are the first of a series of the installation of flag poles and Aboriginal flag raising ceremonies across Western NSW Local Health District facilities which are taking place as part of the Health District’s commitment to ‘Closing the Gap’.
Chief Executive Scott McLachlan said it’s just one of many initiatives taking place to make health facilities more inviting for Aboriginal people, and it’s hoped that this will help encourage Aboriginal people to increase access to health services to live healthier lives.
“We want Aboriginal people to access our health services and one way to do this is to create a welcoming and culturally appropriate environment when entering a facility,” he said.
“Flying the Aboriginal flag at our facilities shows our recognition that we are on Aboriginal traditional land and we hope that Aboriginal Communities see this step as a respectful symbol of our strong commitment to ‘Close the Gap’”.
Aboriginal people experience the worst health of any population group within Australia, with lower life expectancy than non-Aboriginal people, high infant mortality rates and high burden of chronic disease contributing to poor health outcomes.
“With over 11% of the Western NSW population being represented by Aboriginal people we have a big role to play in addressing these problems and coming up with solutions to improve health outcomes for our Aboriginal patients,” Mr McLachlan said.
The Health District’s Strategic Health Services Plan identifies closing the Aboriginal health gap as one of its five strategic priorities, and a recently developed Aboriginal Health Plan provides clear guidance on how the Health District will contribute to improved health outcomes in Aboriginal people.
“Our commitment is that improving Aboriginal health is ‘everybody’s business’ and so changes are occurring from policy and planning through to service delivery and staff attitudes,” Mr McLachlan said.
“This includes building respectful relationships with Aboriginal communities and developing culturally appropriate workforce and services that will contribute to closing the health gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people”.
The flag raising ceremonies take place Rylstone MPS on Wednesday at 11.00am and Oberon MPS on Thursday at 12 noon. All are welcome to attend.