Aboriginal health service face accommodation crisis:
40,000 episodes of care a year with 3 nurses to a room
Doctors, nurses and midwives at the ACT Region‘s premier Aboriginal health service will protest their accommodation crisis by working from tents outside of the Narrabundah-based Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service on Thursday and Friday – August 29 and 30.
Picture Above: GP Registrar Dr Andrew Palfreman examines patient Kale Moore inside one of the tents outside Winnunga.
“We are desperate for funding to extend our building,” said Winnunga’s long-serving CEO Julie Tongs.(pictured below with Warren Snowdon and Tom Calma)
“Our accommodation crisis is acute. We are desperate for extra space.
“We have three midwives sharing one office with the same number of nurses also having to share the one room.
“Repeated efforts to secure the $1.3 million required to extend the existing building, from both ACT and Commonwealth – have fallen on deaf ears.
“This despite the fact that the need for our services is increasing, not decreasing.
Ms Tongs said from humble beginnings 25 years ago Winnunga was now one of the major health service providers in the region.
“We employ some 68 staff and control a budget that now exceeds eight million dollars a year.
“We now have more than 4000 clients and deliver more than 40,000 episodes of care a year.
“We are an Aboriginal community controlled health service and deliver a coordinated holistic approach to health care.
Ms Tongs said Winnunga not only wanted to continue delivering a high quality service but was keen to offer an even more comprehensive service.
‘Our capacity to increase service delivery is limited when key staff are having to share accommodation and are unable to work with clients in confidence.
“Given how sick so many of our clients are – Winnunga provides services to 873 clients who have a diagnosed mental illness. 343 of those clients have a dual diagnosis and are also self-medicating and have a substance use problem. It is crucial that they can be assisted with respect and confidentially.
“While I believe Winnunga is held in high regard by Government both locally and nationally I urge both Federal and ACT Government health funding departments to get serious about our plight.
“Staff wouldn’t be staging this protest unless it was serious,” Ms Tongs said.
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service
Julie Tongs OAM 0418 206156
or Peter Windsor 0400 554603
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service is a member of NACCHO
- NACCHO political alert: NACCHO calls on both parties for greater control of Aboriginal health (nacchocommunique.com)
- NACCHO political alert: Coalition Health Policy: Aboriginal health missing in action (nacchocommunique.com)
- NACCHO political news: What are the Aboriginal health priorities for the next Government ? (nacchocommunique.com)