BACHS celebrates handover to community


New CEO of Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service John Ireland (centre) with BACHS staff members Eunice Grimes, Tanya Edwards, Nadia Sullivan, Margaret West, Mary Jones and Ann Hennessy. PHOTO TWH

The Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (BACHS) is back in community hands, with the special administration handing over the reins after more than six months putting the organisation in order.

From Friday June 18 June, BACHS will be run by a board of community members.

On Thursday, administrators and staff held a hand over celebration, with the launch of the Deadly Blues Health Promotion campaign. The official celebration was attended by Commonwealth Health Department officials, NSW Health, the Registrar of Indigenous Health as well as members of the board, Bourke Shire Council, and the community.

The service was taken over by administrators in December last year, following concerns from funding bodies about the corporation’s viability. The health care service had around 1,350 clients in the shire and in 2019–20 received funding of $2.8 million under the Commonwealth’s Indigenous Australians’ Health program as well as funding from the New South Wales Ministry of Health.

In November 2020, both major funding bodies wrote to the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Selwyn Button, requesting the urgent appointment of a special administrator. Serious concerns were raised about the corporation’s standard of governance and doubts about the viability of its health service with a 30 per cent drop in client numbers over four years.

The Registrar appointed Peter McQuoid from PDM Consultancy as special administrator until 18 June 2021.

Mr McQuoid said all stages of the administration were complete and the Bourke Aboriginal Corporation Health Service was now ready to open its doors.

“This is a genuine good news story,” Mr McQuoid said.

“From my perspective, the staff and the member advisory group have been remarkable. You only have to look at the statistics to see the wonderful result they have achieved so far.

“Nursing walk-ins are up 261 per cent, women’s health visits are up 200 per cent and GP booked appointments are up 150 per cent.

“Those sort of figures are telling me that the community has regained faith in the service.

“It has such a bright future, and this is only the start.

“The staff and the elected directors have a range of wonderful initiatives that they will be rolling out over the next two years, and this is just the beginning,” he said.


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