Health staff recognised
Twelve Aboriginal health staff will be recognised for their service to the WA Country Health Service – Pilbara this week by being awarded an inaugural NAIDOC Service Award.
Each recipient has served a minimum of 10 years at WACHS – Pilbara, while others have committed more than 20 years to the health service and are still currently employed.
The combined experience of the award recipients equals more than 220 years of service to health care in the Pilbara.
The NAIDOC Service Awards were established by WACHS – Pilbara’s Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) to celebrate the contribution of these Aboriginal health staff.
The IEP is funded by the $38.2 million Pilbara Health initiative – a partnership between the State Government Royalties for Regions program and the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy’s Pilbara Industry’s Community Council (PICC), Health initiative members (BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Chevron Australia Pty Ltd, North West Shelf Joint Venture, Rio Tinto and Woodside Energy), which aims to boost health services in the region.
BHP Billiton Iron Ore is the principal industry sponsor of the program.
Award recipient, enrolled nurse at the dialysis unit at Hedland Health Campus, June Councillor, was recognised for more than 20 years of health service.
“I started with WACHS – Pilbara as an Indigenous health worker in the 80s, and ended up doing my enrolled nurse degree and finding my place in the dialysis unit,” she said.
“Hedland has a large Indigenous population and I love working with my own people and empowering them to make decisions about their own health.
“I enjoy the day-to-day aspect of the job and also the longer-term results of making a difference in people’s lives. It is nice to be recognised for my time with the health service.”
WA Country Health Service Regional Director Tina Chinery said it was important to recognise the Indigenous employees and the contribution they made to health care in the Pilbara.
“The NAIDOC Service Awards is our way of acknowledging the outstanding achievement of long-service from our Indigenous workers and thanking them for their commitment to improving health outcomes for all people living in the Pilbara,” she said.
“Mrs Councillor is the perfect example of what is being recognised through these Awards.
Her passion for health and knowledge of her people has helped to bridge the gap in accessing mainstream health care for many Indigenous people for more than 20 years.”
BHP Billiton Vice President, External Affairs WA, Ian Fletcher said the Awards provided a small token of gratitude for a large contribution.
“Indigenous workers provide a valuable contribution to health services in the Pilbara and encourage healthy lifestyles and opportunities within the sector,” he said.
Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME) Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith said a strong Indigenous workforce across health in the Pilbara brought great benefits to the whole region.
Other Indigenous staff acknowledged with NAIDOC Service Awards include:
Margaret Galvin – Registered Nurse, Hedland Health Campus
Edna Hicks – Hotel Services Worker, Hedland Health Campus
Avril Maher – Hotel Services Worker, Hedland Health Campus
Rodney Monaghan – Aboriginal Health Coordinator, Pilbara region
Kathleen Papertalk – Mental Health Officer , Hedland Health Campus
Susan Papertalk – Hotel Services Worker, Hedland Health Campus
Helen Pianta – Hotel Services Worker, Hedland Health Campus
Lorraine McGowan – Midwife, Hedland Health Campus
Pansy Sambo – Aboriginal Health Worker, Roebourne Community Health
Lynette Todd – Hotel Services Worker, Hedland Health Campus
Barry Tullock – Senior Aboriginal Health Worker, Hedland Health Campus