Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women of the Newcastle and Hunter region now have an Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer to support them when visiting public hospital Calvary Mater Newcastle.
Margaret Whitson, a Kamilaroi woman whose family originally comes from Moree Western New South Wales, has been appointed as the hospital’s Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer. Margaret was born in Maitland and has many personal and professional ties to a number of communities within the Hunter New England Local Health District and surrounds.
With over two decades of experience collaborating and consulting to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the region, Margaret is well placed to provide comprehensive support to the hospital’s patients and family members.
Margaret said she feels privileged to have the opportunity to support Aboriginal families in the region at a time when they need it the most.
“When you are at Calvary Mater Newcastle, I can assist in making sure your needs are met. Please speak up and tell us that you are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander decent. When you identify in this way, I’ll know you are here,” Margaret said.
As part of her role, Margaret is responsible for providing advocacy, education, emotional, practical, social and welfare support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and communities, ensuring that referrals and linkages are made to appropriate community support programs, agencies and services. She also works with staff to develop and implement programs and strategies that assist in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal patients.
Director of Mission, Calvary Mater Newcastle, Mary Ringstad said she was delighted with the appointment.
“We are delighted that Margaret is now on hand to provide the support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their families need while being cared for at Calvary Mater Newcastle. Margaret’s work in the hospital directly contributes to better health outcomes for this at-risk population,” Mary said.
IMAGE | Margaret Whitson is the new Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer at Calvary Mater Newcastle.
With 195 beds and supported by an emergency department and intensive care unit, Calvary Mater Newcastle is the Hunter region's major centre for oncology (cancer) services, haematology, clinical toxicology and research. The hospital is also home to the Newcastle Melanoma Unit and BreastScreen NSW Hunter New England, and has a stroke service which provides a seamless care approach to stroke treatment and assessment of patients.
Calvary Mater Newcastle is a teaching hospital in affiliation with many teaching institutions and is fully accredited by the Australian Council on Health Care Standards.