Metro North commits to Closing the Health Gap
Metro North Hospital and Health Service marked National Close the Gap Day today by unveiling a draft Close the Gap plan and signing a public statement of commitment to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
More than 100 community Elders, staff and patients gathered at the event held at Brighton Health Campus, to have input and share feedback to the draft Metro North Close the Gap Plan 2019-2022.
Metro North Chief Executive Shaun Drummond told guests he was committed to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“While the latest statistics show us Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy was highest in Queensland (72 years for males, 76.4 years for females), any gap is unacceptable,” Mr Drummond said.
“This plan will provide the framework to ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing Metro North will receive high quality person centred care that is culturally responsive, empowers self-care and choice, and is designed to improve health and wellbeing.”
The plan will focus on four key priority areas of Leadership, Governance and Workforce; Engagement and Partnerships; Transparency, Reporting and Accountability; and Culturally Responsive, Safe and Connected Care. The priority areas will be supported by focus areas for clinical service delivery for a strong start to life, reducing the burden of disease, crisis and complex care and living well and living longer.
Mr Drummond said Metro North was proud to employ more than 200 identified Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander staff and to be leading the way for key Close the Gap initiatives.
“Our Ngarrama maternity programs have successfully closed the gap on antenatal visits, with 99 per cent of mothers attending 5 or more antenatal visits; 80 per cent breastfeeding before discharge and a 20 per cent reduction of smoking after 20 weeks.
“We have also welcomed 34 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school-based trainees as part of our Deadly Start program to encourage a career path into health for the next generation.
“All of our hospitals are in the planning phases of their Reconciliation Action Plans building upon the success of the Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan May 2019 – May 2020 within the Community and Oral Health Directorate for stronger and more respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities,” Mr Drummond said.
Indigenous Clinical Nurse Consultant at Caboolture Hospital, Megan Sinclair, said it was an exciting time for the community and she was optimistic of real change on the horizon to the Close the Gap Agenda.
Megan has been working with senior medical staff to establish a cultural reference group to encourage the community to feel safe to access services.
“Close the Gap to me is that I hope people feel safe, providing access to good health care, coming together as a community, making the youth feel like they are empowered about their health care,” Megan said.
To learn more about the draft plan or to provide feedback, visit https://metronorth.citizenspace.com