The Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney (AMSWS) provides holistic comprehensive primary healthcare to the Aboriginal community of Western Sydney – the highest urban population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
Established in 1987, AMSWS has employed an array of healthcare services to ensure the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the mob in the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council area.
“In the history of the AMS, 26 years now, we have never officially advertised our presence. It’s become well used and well attended through the word of mouth of Aboriginal people,” says AMSWS CEO, Frank Vincent.
“I think that that in essence proves a point. It proves that Aboriginal people will attend services where they feel confident and safe.”
The AMSWS’s ‘purpose’ describes what it does, why it does it and how, as follows:
“Sovereign Aboriginal Peoples with a state of wellbeing, consistent with our holistic concept of health, at least equal to that which existed prior to invasion and colonisation, enjoying all the rights and responsibilities inherent in our un-ceded sovereignty”.
One of AMSWS’s strong points is its ability to provide the community with culturally appropriate care in an environment where Aboriginal people feel comfortable.
“Culturally appropriate healthcare means that Aboriginal people feel confident, safe and that their issues get dealt with in a manner that is respectful of them and their culture,” says Frank.
As well as a large variety of clinical services it provides specialist programs like the Social and Emotional Wellbeing Clinic.
The Social and Emotional Wellbeing Clinic offers trauma and grief support, case management, a men’s gathering, women’s group, Elders gathering, family counselling and a carers’ support group to name a few.
“We are providers of holistic healthcare which is addressing the needs of Aboriginal people from birth till death,” he says.
For more information on AMSWS visit their website.