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19 November, 2021

Health outlook improving

A new purpose-built building is ushering in an exciting era for health care in Yarrabah. Community and Elders joined staff and invited guests to officially open the new Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services building last week.

By Peter McCullagh

Buri Guman (One Fire) dancers Leroy Yeatman and Jerome Stafford-Hill (right) dance for Aunty Fiona Patterson (in the wheelchair) at the opening of the new Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation’s new building on Workshop St, Yarrabah. Photo by Christine Howes.

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services (GYHS) CEO Suzanne Andrews was excited to see the long-awaited facility officially opened.

Ms Andrews said the core business of Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services was to provide a culturally sensitive, multipurpose primary health care service for the community. 

“The organisation achieves this by operating multiple clinical services and programs and employing over 100 staff, 70 per cent of whom are locals,” she said. 

“We are already seeing the benefits of having the clinic in the main town area with an increase in our mob attending the clinic, especially in an uptake of them coming in to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

“It’s such a convenience, I’m absolutely blown away by what we have achieved here for our community.” 

“Traditional Owners, local staff and board members all had input into the design, which was brought to life by Coburn Architecture and People Oriented Design (POD),” she said. 

“They managed it from start to finish, including our local artists’ designs and artwork within the building, and local Indigenous building company, HC Building & Construction, who built it to our specifications. 

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation’s Director of Clinical Services Dr Jason King, Elders Aunty Fiona Patterson (seated), June Noble (left) and Emma Costello with CEO Sue Andrews in the reception area of the new building on Workshop St, Yarrabah.

“Overall, because of easy access to our multi-service deliveries, I believe this health clinic will really help us address the health challenges our people face every day.” 

“I think it’s already made a difference; I’ve already spoken to someone who hadn’t come to the health service for eight years but has already been to the new clinic.” 

Funding for the new facility was provided by the Federal Government. North-Queensland based Senator Susan McDonald was in quarantine and unable to at-tend the official opening, but sent a personal message delivered by Yarrabah Mayor, Ross Andrews. 

“Key to improving the liveability of Yarrabah and all of Far North Queensland is the quality and availability of health services,” she said. 

“So, I think it’s terrific that this facility is ready to start serving the community. 

“Funding quality healthcare is one of the main priorities I’ve identified as a way to grow the North and I’m very pleased to see that the Morrison Government agrees, having given regional health its own Ministry.”


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