Lack of Aged Care services within remote communities

(as a volunteer/advocate),

STORY HAS A RESPONSE

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About: Kimberley Remote Area Health - East

This woman chooses to stay in her homeland within the Kimberley.

Here is the detail from ABC: Federal Minister Ken Wyatt has promised action....

"There's a sort of acceptance that this lack of service delivery to Aboriginal people is acceptable. It's not. It's appalling," he said.

"It’s third-world standards, and we need to do something immediately to alleviate people's suffering."

When might this be and what action?

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Responses to this story

Response from David Gaskell, Regional Medical Director, Medical, WA Country Health Service

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Dear remote care advocate,

Thank you for speaking up on behalf of this Kimberley woman who wants to remain in Country. You speak for so many people here, right across our Kimberley communities.

I do not speak for Parliamentarians and so cannot answer the general questions you raise.

Yet I do speak for WA Country Health Service and all our committed staff in the Kimberley who work tirelessly and with compassion to alleviate the suffering of people just like this woman for whom you speak. So we can help her as best we can, in the context of her health needs and homeland, my staff need to get in touch.

Would you contact Maxine Nixon, please? Maxine is the Area Team Leader for Kimberley Aged Care Services. She can be contacted on 08 9192 0325.

Thank you again for your advocacy which is to be commended. If you would like to talk with me, please call me on 08 9194 1615.

Very best wishes

David

Dr David Gaskell, Acting Regional Director WACHS-Kimberley

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Response from David Gaskell, Regional Medical Director, Medical, WA Country Health Service

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Dear remote care advocate,

Thank you again for being an advocate for the frail aged people living in the Kimberley.

Earlier today, I asked Maxine Nixon, Team Leader of Kimberley Aged and Community Services, whether she had heard from you. Maxine said no, not yet.

Maxine and our team at Kimberley Aged and Community Services are committed to providing support to clients in need and to developing services which are locally based.

So I urge you, please, to get in touch with Maxine, or Sally Dignam, or another member of the KACS team and provide us with valuable feedback which will help guide and improve our services. They can be contacted at 9192 0325.

Keep me posted. Very best wishes

David

Dr David Gaskell, Acting Regional Director WACHS-Kimberley

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Response from David Gaskell, Regional Medical Director, Medical, WA Country Health Service

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Dear remote care advocate,

Thanks for getting in touch with Maxine Nixon, KACS team leader who appreciated the chance to talk with you and gain insight.

Sharing for the sake of our wider audience, the woman in the ABC article referred to in your post actually lives in Utopia, NT, and not in the Kimberley.

Maxine did not leave the matter there but went further. She contacted the Barkly Regional Council which provides services to Utopia. Maxine was told that the NT Health Department had visited Utopia last week in response to the ABC article, checking up on services there. In so doing, these visitors gained much better understanding of the remoteness of this Aboriginal community. How to fund an overnight respite house was discussed. The Barkly Regional Council officer expressed her acute awareness about the community needs related to environmental issues like housing, plumbing, bedding and nutrition.

You may want to take matters up directly with Barkly Regional Council. Sue Hicks gave herself as a point of contact at 08 8962 0000.

Bringing my post here back to the Kimberley and the needs of Aboriginal people here - one very positive development: the re-opening by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Hon Ben Wyatt of Wirrimanu Community Store in Balgo. As you're aware, this is a very remote Aboriginal community in the Kutjungka, 201 kilometres south of Halls Creek. As well as generating livelihoods, the store will provide fresh food along with white goods and hardware. Well, this is one development which will ease the suffering you are advocating for. Health improves quickly with good tucker. Very well done and congratulations to members of the Wirrimanu Aboriginal Corporation and wider Community.

Best wishes

David

Dr David Gaskell

Acting Regional Director and Regional Medical Director, WA Country Health Services, Kimberley

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