16.05.2019 08:57 Age: 318 days

WA Country Health Service assumes interim responsibility for the Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre

The WA Country Health Service has confirmed the organisation will assume interim responsibility for the Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre (EHAC) from 1 July 2019.

The facility – a 32-bed residential hostel accommodating Aboriginal people who require specialist medical treatment - is currently operated by Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service Aboriginal Corporation.

The WA Country Health Service’s Acting Executive Director Health Programs - Margaret Abernethy - said the organisation was committed to ensuring Aboriginal people and their carers continued to have access to culturally appropriate accommodation when they’re away from country and staying in Perth for medical treatment.

“We know that having to come to the metropolitan area for medical treatment can be difficult for our patients – they’ve had to travel long distances and are often separated from their family and support networks,” Ms Abernethy said.

“By ensuring the Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre is sustainable into the future, we’re able to make them feel that bit more secure while away from home,” she added.

Ms Abernethy said in the last three years alone, more than 200 people have accessed the facility.

“It’s important they be assured the service will continue,” she said.

“This will be in addition to the existing meet and greet services,” she added.

With arrangements currently underway to transition the facility to the WA Country Health Service, Ms Abernethy said extensive planning would ensure no service disruption.

“First and foremost our commitment is to the health and wellbeing of our patients, and in this particular case, the ongoing provision of accommodation services is critical to achieving this,” Ms Abernethy said.

As part of the State Government’s ‘Putting Patients First’ election statement, the WA Country Health Service will investigate options to ensure regional Aboriginal people access culturally safe accommodation when they are required to attend Perth for their medical care.

This will include assessing the needs of the Aboriginal people using the centre to identify opportunities to provide integrated services and ensure they have connectivity to their family and communities.

Media contact: Chloe Lawler 9223 8755