Initiative connects Aboriginal patients with family and community

A group photo of three women and one man at the Hospital Hotline launch
Nola Naylor, Director Aboriginal Health Strategy for the South Metropolitan Health Service, with Mechelle Turvey, Anthony Ward and Karyn Narkle from Noongar Radio
June 20, 2017

Staff, patients and the Aboriginal community came together at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) for the launch of the Hospital Hotline initiative.

Hospital Hotline is a patient request program on Noongar Radio that keeps family, friends and community connected to Aboriginal patients staying in hospital. It is a collaboration between South Metropolitan Health Service and Noongar Radio.

During his welcome to country, Rev Sealin Garlett touched on the significant impact Hospital Hotline will have on Aboriginal patients who are away from country.

“Hospitals can be a great place for health reasons but it can be a lonely place.”

“To have Hospital Hotline standing and walking beside us during the midst of our hospital journey is not only good for our spirits, it’s a source of our cultural identity,” he said.

Having recently been in hospital, Hospital Hotline host Mechelle Turvey had first-hand experience of the cultural disconnect that patients experience. 

“It’s really important to remain high-spirited. Not being on country is a huge thing - we’re away from what we know, what we love and our connections,” she said.

Paul Forden, Executive Director Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, said he was delighted that FSH could connect patients with their loved ones and hoped the program would be rolled-out across other hospitals.

The launch was broadcast live to air from Fiona Stanley Hospital. Requests can be sent requests to Noongar Radio by SMS to 0448 821 186.

Hospital Hotline airs on Noongar Radio (100.9FM) (external link) every Tuesday morning from 10am to 11am.