Australian first as major steps taken in realising Winnunga Model of Care at AMC

Released 15/10/2018

Joint media release: Shane Rattenbury MLA and Ms Julie Tongs OAM, Chief Executive Officer Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services (WNAHCS)

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services (WNAHCS) was joined today by ACT Corrective Services and Canberra Health Services, coming together to mark to another major milestone towards a second 24 hour health service for detainees.

In an Australian first, a holistic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health provider is being integrated into a correctional environment. Holistic health care refers to the physical, emotional, social and cultural wellbeing of an individual.

Under the Model of Care, holistic 24 hour 7 day a week Winnunga Health Services will be made available to all detainees in the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC).

Since ACT Health and WNAHCS signed a contract on 22 June 2018 for service delivery, a senior governance forum has been established to oversee the implementation of the Model. Recruitment and transition planning is progressing between ACT Health and Winnunga.

The Model of Care is the ACT Government’s response to Recommendation 5 of the Moss Review, that “Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service be integrated into the provision of health care at the AMC in order to introduce its holistic model of care to Indigenous detainees.”

Planning for a new AMC Hume Health Centre is also underway, which would house both Justice Health and WNAHCS. This building is due to be completed in the 2020 financial year.

Comments attributable to Minister for Justice and Corrections Shane Rattenbury:

“The ACT Government is committed to working in partnership with the community to ensure that we have the right services and support in place to provide holistic health support to detainees at the AMC.

“I thank Julie Tongs for her leadership in progressing the Model of Care, as well as acknowledge the work of Winnunga staff in providing holistic health services.

“I would also like acknowledge staff from ACT Corrective Services and Canberra Health Services, in realising this next major step in the Model of Care at the AMC.

“Reducing the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the correctional system requires adopting best-practice models, and I look forward to seeing the successes of the Winnunga Model of Care over time.”

Comments attributable to Winnunga Chief Executive Officer Julie Tongs:

“I want to congratulate the Minister for his courage and confidence in supporting Winnunga to be autonomous in the AMC.

“This is ground-breaking for an Aboriginal Community Controlled health service to be afforded an opportunity to deliver our holistic model of care in a corrections facility. I hope Health Ministers in other States and the NT are watching this space, and that they engage with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to give Aboriginal detainees a choice of service provider in correctional facilities, and follow Minister Rattenbury’s lead.

“I want to thank Dr Nadeem Siddiqui ED Clinical Services for the care and support that he and the Winnunga team provided to Narelle King and her family in difficult circumstances.

“We should never forget that the Moss Review was commissioned by the Minister to review the care and treatment of Steven Freeman who was severely assaulted in AMC in 2015. I know that Narelle King (Steven’s mother) doesn’t want any other mother to ever go through the heartache and pain that her and her family have suffered since the assault, and then the death of Steven thirteen months later in AMC.”

Contact: Julie Tongs (CEO, Winnunga) Mobile 0418 206 156

- Statement ends -

Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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