NACCHO health award news: Aboriginal health service reaches finals Australia’s leading general practice health awards

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Ms Tongs said Winnunga had demonstrated how the work of its Quality Improvement Committee, which met monthly, had seen improved client care and implemented how specific improvements were evaluated while introducing  a wide and varied range of training programs to ensure patients received effective and efficient service delivery.

The CEO of Canberra’s Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, Julie Tongs, today announced that Winnunga had reached the finals of this year’s Australia’s leading general practice health awards conducted by Australian General Practice Accreditation Ltd (AGPAL).

“This is quite an achievement,” Ms Tongs said.

“AGPAL is the leading provider of accreditation services to Australian general practice with over 80 percent of practices accredited under the AGPAL banner”.

Thousands of practices are AGPAL accredited.

Ms Tongs said AGPAL’s CEO, Dr Stephen Clark, had informed Winnunga that it had been selected as one of AGPAL’s General Practice of the Year finalists.

“This prestigious award will be presented at AGPAL’s International Health Care Conference in Sydney on Friday, September 27, “ Dr Clark added.  “I want to congratulate Winnunga on this outstanding achievement of making the finals.  I wish you luck as one of our finalists in this award category”.

Ms Tongs said this was the first time that Winnunga had reached the finals since becoming a fully accredited health service provider in 2006.

To be considered for an award Winnunga had to demonstrate a number of milestone as a health care provider, such as:

  • Demonstrating how Winnunga’s practice’s quality improvements had changed service delivery and care to its patients/clients
  • A recent achievement or improvement outcome
  • Ilustrate a quality/safety innovation Winnunga was proud of and explain how this innovation had improved the quality and safety in how Winnunga operated
  • How risk and safety management  were being achieved within the service

Ms Tongs said Winnunga had demonstrated how the work of its Quality Improvement Committee, which met monthly, had seen improved client care and implemented how specific improvements were evaluated while introducing  a wide and varied range of training programs to ensure patients received effective and efficient service delivery.

One of the many ways Winnunga had improved its response to community needs was to meet the cost of specialist consultations when patients could not afford to pay them – which was the case with most of its specialist referrals.

“If we hadn’t taken this initiative most of our clients wouldn’t be able to avail themselves of specialist care,” Ms Tongs said.  “They would just be no shows”.

Winnunga had also implemented important improvements to the way  health care information was stored and accessed electronically – such as the issuing of iPads to its doctors when making home visits so that the information and outcomes were better recorded, including data on the issue of prescription medicines.  Winnunga had also introduced another new computerised innovation which enabled all prescriptions to be easily  scanned into a pharmacy computer system.

Winnunga’s had also set new standards of Aboriginal prisoner health care in the way Winnunga staff work with Aboriginal prisoners at Canberra’s Alexander Maconochie Centre, including increasing the visits by its Aboriginal Health Workers. Prisoners now received health care which better addressed not only the needs of the prisoner but also that persons family.

Ms Tongs said Winnunga was also proud of the fact that it had taken the step of being a part of the initiative to introduce nationally a National E-Health Record System.

“We are convinced that the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record can and will make a difference to our ACT and regional patients, including those people who  access our practice while away from their permanent place of dwelling,” Ms Tongs said.   “Aboriginal people frequently move around the country and between services.  The E-Health Record has many benefits for Aboriginal clients”.

Ms Tongs said Winnunga was also proud of continued improvements it had achieved in the way it delivers its monthly Diabetes Clinic.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have the fourth highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the world.   Over 200 of Winnunga’s clients are diabetics,” Ms Tongs said.

Further information”  Julie Tongs 0418 206156 or Peter Windsor 0400 554603

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