BAHSL & The Community
The Aboriginal community of Walgett lobbied for an AMS in the late 70’s. Some of the issues they argued for an AMS was that women were giving birth on hospital verandahs, people being turned away because they were Aboriginal, and generally feeling uncomfortable about being treated in a very non-Aboriginal middle-class establishment when they themselves were only recognised as citizens of this nation in 1967.
In 1986 Walgett opened its doors to provide an AMS. The Board of Directors moved a resolution to treat all people in the community and that has been the case ever since. Our statistics show today that 40% of our clients are non-Aboriginal. While people may argue that we should only treat Aboriginal people I think we have shown all members of the community that we are here for everyone to help in any way we can.
Monies for WAMS come from a separate bucket of money for Aboriginal health despite the belief that AMSs take the money away from the mainstream health services. AMSs are an important part in the delivery of Primary Health Care and recognised as equal partners in delivery of Health by both the State and Federal Ministers for Health.