Midland: hospital breaks new ground with director appointment

History maker: Yamatji woman Christine Clinch has been appointed director of Aboriginal health at St John of God Midland Public Hospital.
History maker: Yamatji woman Christine Clinch has been appointed director of Aboriginal health at St John of God Midland Public Hospital.

A MIDLAND hospital has made Aboriginal health care history.

St John of God Midland Public Hospital has appointed Christine Clinch as director of Aboriginal health.

Dr Clinch, a Yamatji woman, has worked for the past six years in Aboriginal medical education at UWA.

“This appointment is significant both for the Aboriginal community and the wider health sector, with Dr Clinch appointed to the hospital’s executive board in a first for a metropolitan hospital,” Health Minister John Day said ahead of a State Cabinet meeting in Midland today.

“Dr Clinch’s experience and background will help ensure culturally appropriate care and lead to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal people.”

Hospital chief executive Dr Glen Power said: “We are delighted that someone of Dr Clinch’s calibre is joining our hospital.”

The hospital’s catchment includes 20 per cent of Perth’s Aboriginal community.

“Dr Clinch will lead the hospital’s Aboriginal health strategy, incorporating clinician engagement and maintaining strong links with key referral agencies throughout the state,” Mr Day said.

The hospital’s Aboriginal Health Team also includes two cultural engagement and patient liaison officers.

Dr Clinch will also expand the network of honorary liaison officers, a local reference group of Aboriginal elders and community representatives to enhance the hospital’s engagement with Aboriginal groups from the Swan and Wheatbelt regions.

“It is also pleasing to see that Noongar woman Dr Paula Edgill has been appointed an honorary medical advisor to the hospital,” Mr Day said.