Cen­tre recog­nised na­tion­ally

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Angelique Pat­ter­son

THE Moss­man Gorge Pri­mary Health Care Cen­tre has been na­tion­ally recog­nised as the ru­ral and re­mote gen­eral prac­tice of the year.

The Cen­tre was was recog­nised by the Aus­tralian Gen­eral Prac­tice Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Ltd at a gala event in Syd­ney last Fri­day night.

Moss­man Gorge ass the only com­mu­nity con­trolled PHCC on Cape York and is run by Apunip­ima Cape York Health Coun­cil and is man­aged by Sharyll Elling­ton, who has watched the prac­tice grow.

‘‘My his­tory with in­dige­nous health goes back quite a num­ber of year, it ini­tially started with mum who was one of the first in­dige­nous health work­ers in Moss­man back in the 70s,’’ she said.

‘‘They worked hard with Sis­ter Mary and the ser­vice ex­cel­lent and over the past 17 years the Moss­man Gorge com­mu­nity and board mem­bers lob­bied so hard to have their own doc­tor present up here.

‘‘The first doc­tor was a GP who started off work­ing un­der­neath a house in the Gorge and it has grown to be­come this won­der­ful clinic which stands to­day with a reg­u­lar GP ser­vice three days a week and spe­cial­ist ser­vices when needed.’’

Be­ing recog­nised at the best ru­ral and re­mote gen­eral prac­tice of the year is an hon­our to Ms Elling­ton, who prides the prac­tice on work­ing with the com­mu­nity to im­prove in­dige­nous health and help close the gap.

‘‘We worked so hard when ini­tially es­tab­lish- ing this clinic and our in­dige­nous work­ers are the crux of the clinic, we have six health work­ers who are ac­tu­ally fam­ily mem­bers from the com­mu­nity, they are Yalanji peo­ple,’’ she said.

‘‘The reg­is­tered nurses in­volved with the clinic are all lo­cal ladies and work very hard for this lit­tle ser­vice - Sally Roberts, Beryl Ker­swell and An­drea Cowe. They are pas­sion­ate and com­mit­ted to their role here at Moss­man Gorge clinic.

‘‘That is why we are so suc­cess­ful, to have com­mu­nity peo­ple in roles is just amaz­ing and we are not run by in­sti­tu­tions we are run by the com­mu­nity and the work we do on a daily ba­sis, we need to have per­mis­sion from the com­mu­nity and we have meet­ings ev­ery six weeks to dis­cuss what’s hap­pen­ing with the clinic.

‘‘As an in­dige­nous man­ager, to have that com­mu­nity sup­port and stand­ing up, know­ing you are speak­ing on be­half of the com­mu­nity be­cause I have their per­mis­sion and sup­port is just an over­whelm­ing feel­ing. It is not you and your staff do­ing it alone, it’s the com­mu­nity who have the con­trol over the choice of their health.’’

Apunip­ima Pro­gram Man­ager: Fam­ily Health Leeona West said the award was a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for Apunip­ima, Moss­man Gorge PHCC and most im­por­tantly, the peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties of Cape York.

‘‘AGPAL ac­cred­i­ta­tion demon­strates our abil­ity to pro­vide the high­est qual­ity care,’’ she said.

‘‘This award means we are pro­vid­ing the high­est qual­ity of care pos­si­ble in a ru­ral and re­mote set­ting. This award is sig­nif­i­cant as we were com­pet­ing against main­stream or­gan­i­sa­tions from across Aus­tralia.

‘‘To be recog­nised as the Ru­ral and Re­mote Gen­eral Prac­tice of the Year sends a clear mes­sage that Abo­rig­i­nal Health Or­gan­i­sa­tions are pro­vid­ing the best care in the coun­try. The peo­ple of Cape York de­serve the very best care. This award recog­nises that our ser­vice is pro­vid­ing it.’’

The health pic­ture in Moss­man Gorge has changed sig­nif­i­cantly since Apunip­ima took over the com­mu­nity’s small Queens­land Health clinic in 2009.

‘‘Back then, the clinic had pa­per records and doc­tors who vis­ited the com­mu­nity for four hours a week. Anec­do­tally, health out­comes were poor with high rates of smok­ing, drink­ing and chronic disease,’’ Ms West said.

‘‘Apunip­ima took over the clinic in De­cem­ber 2009, re­built it to AGPAL stan­dards by June 2010, in­tro­duced elec­tronic records and billing and was ac­cred­ited by AGPAL in Jan­uary 2011.

‘‘ We even im­ple­mented an Abo­rig­i­nal pa­tient friendly re­call sys­tem which was so suc­cess­ful that the Bris­bane Abo­rig­i­nal and Is­lan­der Com­mu­nity Health Ser­vice copied our sys­tem for their clients.’’

CEN­TRE OF EX­CEL­LENCE: (back row, L - R) Melissa Ryan, Sharyll Elling­ton, Sally Roberts, (front row, L - R) Julie Salam, Dan Fis­cher and Beryl Ker­swell

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