Hunter New England Health and Armajun join forces

Armajun and Hunter New England Health are joining forces in a “unique” way to deliver health services in Glen Innes and across the region.

“There is no one else who works in partnership with organisations to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginals as we have,” HNEH general manager for Northern Tablelands sector, Wendy Mulligan told The Examiner.

The idea was first developed in 2012 and involves combining forces to offer services in audiometry, diabetes education, early childhood screening, STI screening, women’s health and more.

“We have doctors coming from HNEH providing special services such as cardiac services, pain management and paediatrics,” Ms Mulligan said.

“We look at working together so that we can cover more with the resources that we have.

“Armajun had dentists and dental nurses but nowhere to run the clinics.

“So we developed a service level agreement and allowed them to use our dental clinics in Inverell, Glen Innes and Tenterfield.

“So they come in, run the service for their clients and use our facilities.”

Ms Mulligan visited Newcastle last month to do a talk about how the partnership is working towards “closing the gap”.

“When we talk about closing the gap, what we’re looking at is decreasing the mortality or trying to bring together [closer] the health differences between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people,” she said.

“Hunter New England Health have quite a few strategies that they use to be able to do that … and this is one of them.

“For instance we have the immunisation nurses and Armajun has a bus that we can set up like a clinic.

“We can go to places where we know there is a target audience, such as the football in Tingha, and immunise a lot of people.”

The most recent Indigenous life expectancy figures from 2013 show a gap of 10.6 years for males and 9.5 years for females – not showing signs to close the gap by 2031.

This article is by Rachel Baxter and first appeared in the Glen Innes Examiner.