A health group in the Kimberley is starting a new community service to deliver Indigenous primary healthcare.

The Fitzroy Valley Health and Wellbeing Project Working Group will establish an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service in Fitzroy Crossing, to improve health outcomes for local Aboriginal people.

Working Group interim co-chairwoman Delvene Green said an Aboriginal medical service in Fitzroy would make it easier for locals, as they could visit a nearby clinic for basic health care, rather than go to Fitzroy Crossing hospital.

“People can go straight to the Aboriginal medical service, whether it’s just to pick up medication, or see a doctor or nurse for something, instead of a hospital where you sit and wait for a while,” she said.

“Having the service means people go to hospital only for emergencies.

Working Group interim co-chairman Joe Ross said the service would allow locals to have the same primary health services other Australians get.

Mr Ross said the group wants to set up a temporary primary health clinic and transition it to a permanent clinic.

“Once we have an incorporated body we can lobby and work towards funding the medical service,” he said.

“One of the Traditional Owners of Fitzroy has provided land for the project at no cost to the community.”

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service chief operating officer Jennifer Bedford said the service would address local health issues.

“We know the benefits of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and the ability of those services to meet local community needs,” she said.

“It will have a local Aboriginal board and local Aboriginal people working within the service, so programs and services would be tailored to Fitzroy.”

The project aims to set-up a temporary primary health clinic in Fitzroy by 2023, and permanent clinic by 2026.

  • Story by Fierra Surrao