Armidales Primary Health Care Provider for Aboriginal people

Armajun Aboriginal Health Service will be Armidale’s primary health care provider for Aboriginal people in the 2017-2018 year, after receiving almost $2.6 million of federal funding.

The Inverell-based company is currently providing medical services out of the Pat Dixon Medical Centre.

Armajun chief executive Debbie McCowen said the new funding secured Armajun’s services to Armidale and the region.

“This means we’re here to stay,” she said.

The provider met with the Armidale Aboriginal community on Wednesday to discuss the changes.

Armajun’s contract with the Armidale Aboriginal Medical Service board, who control the Pat Dixon building, has expired.

The two boards are now negotiating a new service agreement that would see Armajun continue to provide services for the next three years.

Armidale AMS board chair Rhonda Kitchener said the board would meet on Friday to make a decision on the new service agreement.

“I’ve got no objection to going with Armajun,” she said.

“It's just we want to make sure that the service agreement is going to benefit Armidale as well as Armajun in terms of employment for the Armidale community.”

If the two boards fail to reach an agreement, Armajun will leave the Pat Dixon centre and provide service independently from another building.

New AMS board member Steve Widders asked about 30 senior Aboriginal community members in attendance whether they supported Armajun to stay in Armidale.

They voted unanimously in favour of Armajun continuing their services and the Armidale board representatives told The Armidale Express they would support Armajun to continue their service out of the Pat Dixon Medical Centre.

“It’s a community controlled business and the community said yes so we have to do it,” Mr Widders said.

Ms McCowan said it was always Armajun’s intention to work with and support the Armidale AMS board.

“While ever we are in this centre [Pat Dixon] we will work with the Armidale board,” she said.

Armajun is forming an regional advisory committee to inform the Inverell-based board on important local issues.

They are seeking two representatives each from Armidale, Guyra, Uralla, Walcha and the Armidale AMS board.

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This article is by Matt Bedford and first appeared in the Armidale Express.