- WA Country Health Connection's Meet and Greet service for Aboriginal patients expanded with the recruitment of two new drivers
- Providing culturally appropriate transport and support for rural and remote Aboriginal patients attending specialist appointments in Perth
Health Minister Roger Cook today announced the expansion of the WA Country Health Service's Meet and Greet service for eligible Aboriginal patients who travel from rural and remote areas of Western Australia to Perth, to receive specialist medical treatment.
A key election commitment, the newly expanded service now provides the meet and greet component of the Country Health Connection Program from 6am to 10pm on Monday to Friday and as required on weekends.
As part of the service, Aboriginal drivers meet and assist patients at the airport, bus or train station in Perth and transport them to their booked accommodation, hospital or medical centre for their appointment or admission.
This includes co-ordinating daily transport to and from medical appointments at hospitals and dialysis centres across the metropolitan area; and assisting renal and cancer patients to get to and from dialysis, radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
This co-ordination of transport to treatment not only helps Aboriginal patients from remote communities, it also drives efficiencies in the health system by reducing the number of missed appointments.
The service is available for Aboriginal people who are eligible under the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS). The Country Health Connection team works in close partnership with PATS staff to provide a seamless service to regional Aboriginal patients.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"For some Aboriginal patients from remote communities, it might be the first time they have visited Perth or any big city; they may speak a language other than English, they might not know how to get to the hospital.
"Seeing an Aboriginal person greet them on arrival in Perth and ensure they arrive safely at their destination, improves the cultural safety of our health services.
"I'd like to acknowledge the work of the local member for Kimberley, Josie Farrer MLA, in pursuing this expansion of meet and greet services. Josie has long championed the need for more drivers so we could cater for the growing demand on the service, and better support Aboriginal patients coming to Perth for specialist treatment at what can often be a distressing and disorienting time for them.
"Meet and greet staff not only transport patients but they also provide advocacy, cultural support and information.
"The service is not only improving patients' experience and minimising anxiety for patients and their families, but is also increasing the attendance rates for Aboriginal patients at medical appointments.
"Expanding the operating hours and capacity of the meet and greet service demonstrates the McGowan Government's commitment to putting patients first."
Minister's office - 6552 6500