Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser, Aunty Sue Hoskins, and local high school students officially open the new centre.
Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser, Aunty Sue Hoskins, and local high school students officially open the new centre. Contributed

New centre dedicated to Aboriginal patients opens

A $930,000 centre dedicated to the health of local Aboriginal patients has officially opened at Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

The burden of disease experienced by Indigenous Australians is more than two times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The Aboriginal and Cultural Well Being Centre - Maam Darruyaygamba - will provide culturally tailored support, information and referral for all Aboriginal patients.

It is also aimed at helping Aboriginal people feel culturally safe and secure while visiting the hospital, offering a space with privacy, confidentiality and access to Aboriginal staff.

Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser opened the centre, which features an artwork installation by local high school students, this morning.

"This important addition to our hospital will provide a quiet space away from treatment areas where patients, families and friends can sit together in a comfortable and relaxing environment," he said.

"In this setting, health practitioners can meet with Aboriginal patients and their families to agree, where appropriate, on clinical decisions, treatment options and support arrangements."

According to Mr Fraser the centre will also enable targeted health education programs to be delivered for indigenous people across the Mid North Coast.

The centre is one of three projects recently undertaken at Coffs Harbour Health Campus by Armidale-based JNC Group, a majority owned enterprise.

The other projects include the upgrade of the hospital's Intensive Care Unit and Transit and Infusion Centre to increase bed capacity.

Meanwhile, early works continue on the $194m expansion of the health campus, with the site being prepared for construction to start by mid-2019.



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