THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
Member for Lingiari
29 September 2011
Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, has welcomed the announcement of the Remote Area Health Corps’ (RAHC) 1000th staffing placement for health services in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.
"RAHC has been operating since 2008 providing short-term paid placements for health professionals, dedicated to working to close the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the wider Australian population," Mr Snowdon said.
In 2010-11, RAHC exceeded expectations with 465 health professionals placed in remote NT Health Centres.
This helped RAHC achieve its milestone 1000th placement in record time.RAHC has contributed more than 4,400 weeks of additional services to remote NT Health Centres.
“With higher than average numbers of health professionals – doctors, registered nurses, dental and allied health professionals – already registered for this financial year, the outlook for continued growth in placements is assured, as health services increasingly look to RAHC to source health professionals," he said.
The work of RAHC depends on strong brand awareness amongst health professionals and a good relationship with Aboriginal medical services and the Northern Territory Department of Health.
"I’d like to thank RAHC and all those healthcare professionals dedicating their time to working in remote communities and improving the health of Aboriginal Australians."
Mr Snowdon also welcomed the progress in delivering improvements to the Alice Springs Hospital’s new emergency department.
"Patients will receive better health services, more quickly and safely, from their new, larger and more efficient emergency department, which is currently under construction.
“One of the Australian Government’s first commitments, through our $3.2 billion infrastructure investment in hospitals, was the $13.6 million needed to build a new emergency department on the grounds of the Alice Springs Hospital,” he said.
The Northern Territory Government also contributed $8.8 million to the project, along with an in-kind donation of land.
The new emergency department includes a paediatric treatment room; two secure assessment rooms and three resuscitation areas; a five-bay fast track system; a short-stay facility with up to 12 beds; triage and procedure and consultation areas, reception and office space for staff; and the medical imaging unit has been relocated to retain co-location with the emergency department.
Mr Snowdon said patients with less serious conditions will appreciate being treated and discharged more quickly, patients will spend less time waiting to be seen by a doctor and fewer patients will need to travel for critical health services.
“With the improvements being made to the emergency department, the Alice Spring Hospital will be able to offer expanded priority access for the homeless, Aboriginal people and for rural and remote communities.
“Aboriginal families will benefit from improvements to cultural security to enhance their care delivery and engagement.
We want to make incomplete treatment of Aboriginal patients a thing of the past,” he said.
The Alice Springs Hospital is critical to the delivery of health and medical services to the people of Central Australia, with a population of about 60,000 people dispersed over 1.6 million square kilometres.
MEDIA CONTACT: Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820