Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative has unveiled major refurbishments to its Aboriginal Primary Health Care Centre in Hamilton.
The $800,000 investment was undertaken to meet the growing health and medical demands of the Aboriginal community. Currently the Centre provides primary health care services to about 8,000 people per year.
Awabakal CEO, Don MacAskill, said that growth in patient numbers together with the organisation’s commitment to plan for future needs led to a comprehensive review last year.
“The number of Aboriginal people with chronic health disease is growing due to poor diet, smoking and a fear of going to the doctors,” Don said.
“We are constantly looking at ways to work smarter and make sure that Aboriginal health is viewed as a long-term commitment by the whole community.”
“The review identified that services provided through the Centre were growing an average rate of 60 new patients per month. ”
“This meant that accessing appointments was becoming challenging, IT was under-utilised and the existing site prevented integration of the health workforce which impacted on patient outcomes and quality care.”
“Our new medical facility has been designed to complement this model of care and ensure that we provide truly holistic healthcare to our community.”
The refurbishments include additional consulting rooms, improved disabled/wheelchair access and better security. A great deal of work has gone into improving patient flow access across the areas of reception to triage, consult and chronic care while internal doorways and resuscitation rooms can now be accessed by NSW Ambulance gernies.
“The Centre is supported by the new Awabakal Mobile Medical Service (MMS truck) which is designed and built to enhance our clinical service. Its flexibility allows us to help ‘Close the Gap’ beyond the existing site at Hamilton, while we can still operate in a way that maintains the model of care found at the clinic,” Don continued.
“The Awabakal medical service began at the current site in Samdon Street in 1995 operating just a few days and with a community nurse and a locum. We have come a long way since then.”
The Federal Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, The Hon Shayne Neumann MP, joined Awabakal to re-open and inspect the renovated Centre and the MMS truck.
Awabakal is the lead agency in the Hunter driving services that will help to ‘Close the Gap’. Awabakal was the Match Day Partner of the Knights’ home ‘Close the Gap’ game last Sunday at Hunter Stadium when the Newcastle Knights defeated the Warriors.
Image | Awabakal CEO, Don MacAskill, Federal Member for Newcastle Ms Sharon Claydon and federal Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs The Hon Shayne Neumann MP
Awabakal has provided services to indigenous people living in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and Hunter Valley regions of New South Wales since 1977.
Their services are delivered and predominately managed by professional Aboriginal staff experienced with and sensitive to the needs of the community.