February 21, 2019

Welcome to culturally safe Northern Health

Northern Health continually strives to improve its responsiveness to diversity and the language, religious and cultural needs of our community.

We provide the same quality of service for all patients and their families, regardless of their ethnicity and ability to speak English – an important consideration given our patients are born in 184 countries, speak 106 languages and follow 90 religions and beliefs.

This year, the demand for our Transcultural and Language Services (TALS) has grown by 8% every month, resulting in the hiring of four additional in-house interpreters, bringing the total to 42.

New welcome signs currently being installed across Northern Health are a good example of how the TALS team is partnering with Patient Experience & Consumer Participation to achieve this.

The sign welcomes patients in the top 14 languages spoken, and acknowledges the traditional owners of the land, the Wurundjeri people.

Cultural safety is an Indigenous-led model of care.

“Clinical leaders have identified the need for culturally safe health care to improve Indigenous health outcomes,” explained Karen Bryant, Senior Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Aboriginal Support Unit.

Emiliano Zucchi, Manager Transcultural and Language Services and Aboriginal Support Unit, said the welcome signs were a clear expression of our commitment as a health service to provide a culturally safe environment for our patients.

“We are not only committed to treating our patients well and in a culturally respectful manner, but also empowering our staff, and supporting them to carry out culturally significant tasks as part of our service delivery,” he said.