St Vincent’s Health Australia has worked alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities since the early days of our organisation.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is designed to further develop our partnerships with Aboriginal organisations in order to improve health and social justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
During the current chapter of our RAP we will look to enhance the Aboriginal Health Units in our two major public hospitals to ensure these services have a greater reach across our programs.
We will increase our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce to 500 employees by 2020 to reflect parity with the number of Indigenous Australians in the national population.
We will ensure our facilities are culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For example, we are one of the first health care organisations nationally to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Protocol. This document guides our staff on how to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and residents so they feel welcome, respected and valued within our services.
And we will confirm Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have equal access to healthcare services.
In terms of the latter, St Vincent’s Health Australia recently committed $450,000 to bring culturally appropriate palliative care services to five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Northern Peninsula Area of Cape York as part of a memorandum-of-understanding with Northern Peninsula Area Family and Community Services and the Apunipima Cape York Health Council.
Our vision for reconciliation is a community where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians work together in a spirit of trust and openness to bring about hope, healing, love, justice and peace in our world.
The community we will work towards is one that acknowledges and respects the unique cultures, histories and spiritualties of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This community will create a shared sense of place through equity, inclusion and the provision of opportunities for all people.
As a further reflection of St Vincent Health’s commitment to achieving reconciliation, staff from across the organisation joined together with three Aboriginal artists - Vicki Couzens, Jeffrey Samuels and Bianca Beetson – on a Reconciliation Action Plan Collaborative Art Project.
The project offered the 48 participants the opportunity to explore what reconciliation meant to them as well as enhance their understanding and awareness of the aims and goals of the St Vincent’s Health Australia RAP.