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Cultural safety roadmap rolled out

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Cultural safety roadmap rolled out


A new roadmap will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait patients and staff in Melbourne’s west have a safe and welcoming experience at Western Health.

The new three year plan focuses on building a culturally-capable workforce; ensuring healthcare systems are responsive to Aboriginal people’s cultural knowledge, beliefs and values; supporting a well-resourced Indigenous health workforce; and creating physically welcoming spaces.

The Aboriginal Health and Cultural Safety Plan sets out a range of innovative and impactful initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of our community.

Western Health cares for one of the most diverse communities in the country, including a growing population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery Shane Crowe said for the first time Western Health has combined its employment and cultural safety plans on the basis that cultural safety is a shared responsibility across the organisation.

“The new plan ensures Western Health continues to make progress towards overcoming the inequality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and achieve life outcomes equal to all Australians."

Recently, Western Health has made significant headway, celebrating a series of firsts.

This includes:

  • Opening an Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Outpatient Clinic to create a culturally-sensitive environment where patients feel safe and supported to attend their medical appointments. This Clinic was a winner in the 2022 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards in the Improving Aboriginal Health category.

  • Proud Wiradjuri woman and nurse Ashleigh Vandenberg stepping into the new role of Journey Walker, where she supports teams to create appropriate care plans for patients.

  • Appointing our first Research Fellow in Aboriginal Health, Dr Kunal Dhiman, to drive Indigenous-led research tackling health issues experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As part of launching the new three year Aboriginal Cultural Safety Plan, Western Health has appointed Tanya Druce as its first Aboriginal Cultural Safety Officer.

Tanya, who spearheaded the three year plan in her previous role as the Manager of Wilim Berrbang (Aboriginal Health) said the new plan was developed in consultation with Indigenous owned company Karabena Consulting to gain insights into the perspectives of staff, patients and families.

“Our overarching aim is to ensure people to feel welcome and safe at Western Health, whether they are patients, staff or volunteers; they should have an experience free from racism, preconceived ideas and be accepted for who they are.

“Our plan helps support this goal by better informing our organisation about Aboriginal Health.

“It also outlines our commitments over the next three years and keeps people accountable, but to be successful, we need to support staff and that’s where my role comes in, I’ll be working alongside staff to help them implement the initiatives.”

Western Health also welcomes Jordan Casey our new Manager of Wilim Berrbang, which offers cultural support and assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their families.

Read the Aboriginal Cultural Safety Plan here.