Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) has announced its inaugural First Nations Equity Strategy which will guide the service for the next three years as the organisation works to close the gap in life expectancy.
An extensive consultation period was undertaken at the beginning of the project, with project officers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers engaging in yarning circles across the community.
Stories, experiences and truths were shared at these circles, and they underpin the actions and priority areas within the strategy, resulting in a co-designed plan that Board Chair Peta Jamieson says WBHHS could be proud of.
“The First Nations Health Equity Strategy has provided a unique opportunity to co-design and develop a strong vision and achievable priorities for our organisation, partners and community,” said Ms Jamieson.
“Together with the health service executive team, the board would like to acknowledge the great work and commitment of our staff, healthcare partners and consumers, not only throughout the process of drafting this strategy but as we commit to implementing it in the future.”
Chief Executive Debbie Carroll acknowledged the importance of the strategy and recognised the vast consultation and input sought while crafting the document, to ensure it meets the needs of our First Nations communities.
“This strategy details the specific actions we will undertake to provide culturally appropriate, safe and responsive services to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Wide Bay,” said Ms Carroll.
“Across five priority areas, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) is actively focused on working in partnership with First Nations peoples and organisations to achieve the goals and actions of this strategy; actions that were shaped by those who are affected by health inequity the most – our First Nations patients, carers and community members.”
“We will be guided by the five priority areas within the strategy and all WBHHS staff will focus our collective efforts to:
- Actively eliminate racial discrimination and institutionalised racism within the organisation
- Increase access to healthcare services
- Influence the social, cultural and economic determinants of health
- Deliver sustainable, culturally safe and responsive health services
- Work with First Nations peoples, communities and organisations to design, deliver, monitor and review health services.”
Key stakeholders in drafting the strategy include Galangoor Dulawami Primary Health Care, the Indigenous Wellbeing Centre, the Primary Health Network and our WBHHS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council.
The shared knowledge and commitment of these significant groups is seen in the comprehensive, culturally appropriate and person-centred focus of the strategy.
“It has been a concentrated and collaborative effort to finalise the First Nations Health Equity Strategy, but we are under no illusions that launching the document signifies the entirety of our efforts in this space,” said Ms Carroll.
“The truly important work begins now as we need to work in partnership to implement the actions within the strategy and endeavour to create real supports and bridges to improve the health and wellbeing of our First Nations communities.”
To find out more about the WBHHS First Nations Health Equity Strategy 2022-2026, head to www.health.qld.gov.au/widebay/publications.
Other stories: Event commemorates Queen’s Platinum Jubilee