THE chair of the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service has defended the quality of care provided in the region, especially for First Nations patients.
In a statement, Ella Kris said the health service was “absolutely committed” to delivering culturally responsive and inclusive healthcare services to all our communities.
“Our dedicated health service staff work hard to deliver the highest quality care possible right across our diverse region and we are proud of their achievements in doing this on each and every single day,” she said.
“Our health service is always happy to receive and respond to feedback from patients, their families, and our communities.
“We will willingly participate in any reviews of our clinical processes and procedures and are confident in the quality of the health care we deliver.
“It should be noted we have the highest ratio of First Nations employment of any health service in the state.”
Responding to criticism from community leaders following the death of a two-year-old girl at Bamaga Hospital, which led to the resignation of TCHHS chief executive Beverley Hamerton, Ms Kris said the health service had built a strong track record.
“About 21 per cent of our health service’s workforce identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent,” she said.
“This is an increase of about 5.1 per cent over the past five years and we continue to work on expanding this as much as possible.
“To this end, the TCHHS has a comprehensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy in place – both to increase the number of Indigenous people working in our health service and to improve the skills and career opportunities for those already working for us.
“As well as health service staff, this training is also open to non-employee Indigenous people living in our various remote communities to help provide employment pathways for local residents and expand our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce in the future.
“We are also mindful of the need for all our staff to be culturally aware when delivering services to our diverse communities.
“As such, the Torres and Cape HHS has a comprehensive Cultural Capability Program in place for all staff and has individual Cultural Capability Coordinators appointed for Cape York and for the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area to help direct this work.
“This program is designed to enable all our employees to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are needed in their roles to provide better service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers.
“With everyone’s support, we will work hard towards improving our cultural responsiveness, awareness, and inclusiveness in every way possible, as well as working towards continuously improving health outcomes for all our First Nations and non-First Nations residents.