Western Victoria is home to many thousands of people from various indigenous nations. At Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN), we strive to help close the gap in life expectancy by working with primary health care professionals to improve access to and the quality of health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in our community.
Accessing health services
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a choice of services for accessing health care in western Victoria
WVPHN works closely with the following Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOS) to improve support to indigenous people, particularly those with chronic conditions:
- Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative
- Budja Budja Medical Clinic (Halls Gap)
- Dhauwurd-Wurrung Elderly and Community Health Services (Portland)
- Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative (Horsham)
- Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative (Warrnambool)
- Kirrae Health Services (Wangoom)
- Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative (Geelong)
- Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation (Heywood)
Asking the Question
In addition, we have embarked on a process for educating all general practices in our region and their staff on how to better support indigenous patients. The Asking the Question program is a key part of this strategy.
GP practice staff must ask patients a question of origin. This is a standard question asked to everyone at each appointment, regardless of appearance, place of birth or the staff member’s prior knowledge.
Patients – or their parent/guardian – may choose to disclose their identity or decline the question. The staff member is not obliged to persuade a patient to answer.
Patients also have choice to update or change their Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australian status regardless of their response to the question in the past. It also is essential a patient is asked if they identify as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian at each appointment.
Tulku Wan Winnin (Health to You) Van
A new mobile health service is now available to indigenous communities living around the Wimmera Grampians area.
WVPHN is supporting the Tulku Wan Winnin Van which is being run by the Budja Budja Medical Clinic. The van travels to Ararat, Stawell, St Arnaud, Maryborough, Avoca and surrounds offering free, bulk-billed health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of any age.
Services include general health, chronic disease, and social and emotional wellbeing support. Allied health services are also involved.
Contact Budja Budja Medical Clinic for details.