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    EASILY ACCESSIBLE: From left, Grampians Health Aboriginal Health liaison officer Danae McDonald, Colby McDonald, Robyn Lauricella, Makayla Rumler, Kevin Jameson, Grampians Health chief executive Dale Fraser, Darren Burns and Jessica Payne at the Aboriginal Health Liaison Office opening at Wimmera Base Hospital. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Safe space for Indigenous people at Wimmera Base Hospital

A new community space at Wimmera Base Hospital is providing comfort and security for Indigenous people.

The space is adjacent to the Aboriginal Health Liaison Office at the main entrance to the Horsham hospital.

The office was relocated to its current space in November last year as a more prominent position to its previous location in Arnott Street.

Grampians Health chief executive Dale Fraser said the new location would be much more easily accessible for Indigenous people.

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“Having the community space right next to the office means First Nations people can meet there and feel culturally safe,” he said.

“Whether they are visiting a sick relative or friend in care or whether they are requiring treatment themselves, if they aren’t comfortable in the hospital environment, they will be able to use this space without having to venture into the medical areas.

“We have fully refurbished the room for extra comfort as well.”

Grampians Health Aboriginal Health liaison officer for the west campuses Danae McDonald said the location was perfect for all First Nations people.

“It gives the community a safe space to come into an environment that hasn’t always been the safest for anyone,” she said.

“It’ll be a place for family, especially if they’re really sick in a clinical aspect, they can take time out of their hospital bed with their family and meet here.

“It will be especially important if there are restrictions with people coming into the hospital. 

“If anything is locked down, they can come in here and just support each other through that.”

Ms McDonald started work at Wimmera Base Hospital in 2019 under a traineeship program in human resources.

In 2020, she became the Aboriginal health liaison officer. 

Grampians Health is also planning to appoint a second officer to support Ms McDonald.

“I think the positive aspect of it is that we will have more First Nations people coming into the hospital before it’s getting too late for their health needs,” she said.

“We can get them to have that safe space before it gets too far and they spend months here instead of days.”

The entire June 5, 2024 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!