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Music, dancing and heritage filled the Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) Main Foyer on Tuesday as NAIDOC Week was kicked into full swing with an afternoon of celebration.
Hundreds of patients, visitors, community members and staff attended the event which celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage, and also saw PAH officially sign the Metro South Health Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation.
The Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dancers performed a series of dances that entertained and also educated guests.
The event also focused on health problems facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and what PAH is doing to help close the gap.
PAH Executive Director Dr Stephen Ayre said the hospital and its staff were dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“Today’s is perhaps one of the biggest NAIDOC events we've had here in recent years because it is a chance to reflect on the progress we have made in closing the gap, acknowledge the challenges and commit to more meaningful change as we endorse our own Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation.”
Dr Ayre said the hospital was investing in health infrastructure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, developing appropriate models of care and increasing the capability of staff and services through education and training.
PAH also recently implemented a six-month Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Extended Hours Service at the hospital, which extended the Hospital Liaison Service from 8am to 10pm, Monday to Friday.
Dr Ayre said there are still challenges ahead and much more work to be done.
“An upcoming Queensland report will show that, while some improvements have been made, we are not currently on track to Close the Gap by 2033,” he said.
“We will address these challenges and others using strategies outlined in the forthcoming Metro South Health Closing the Gap Plan. We will strive to develop high quality health services that are respectful and capable of meeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s needs.
“We will also integrate understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and needs into our everyday practices and ensure all our staff work towards closing the gap of disadvantage.”