Statement from Minister for Rural Health Fiona Nash

Statement from Minister for Rural Health Fiona Nash following the death of remote area nurse Gayle Woodford in the NPY lands.

Page last updated: 30 March 2016

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30 March 2016

“Following the death of remote area nurse Gayle Woodford in the NPY lands last week, I will convene an urgent meeting with a full range of stakeholders providing nursing and health services in remote areas.

“The facts around Mrs Woodford’s tragic death have not yet been established and the matter is subject to a police investigation, so it would be irresponsible to comment specifically on that matter.

“However we should always be doing all we can to ensure remote health workers are safe. Health services and health workers in rural and remote areas provide a vital service to rural and remote Australia. This meeting will allow remote health service providers to ascertain the safety procedures currently in place for remote nurses across the nation, understand the concerns of health workers, and see what improvements can be made.

“Australia’s remote area health services are in fact independently run, and many are of course Aboriginal Medical Services. I will not break Australia’s long-standing multi-partisan commitment to Indigenous self-determination by telling these health providers how to run their services. Remote health services do the work on the ground and they know best, so I will be asking them for their ideas on this important issue.

“The meeting will take place on April 6. I will expand my regular meeting with organisations including the peak professional body for the remote and isolated health workforce of Australia (CRANA Plus), the Australian College of Rural Nurses, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives to include other organisations like the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and other peak groups. The expanded part of the meeting will focus on remote health worker safety issues.”

ENDS

Media contact - Les White 0409 805 122

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