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A new policy encouraging NSW hospitals to provide designated waiting rooms for Aboriginal patients

Photo: 'Cultural' emergency waiting rooms for NSW
Emergency departments across NSW will be encouraged to provide separate waiting rooms for Aboriginal patients under a new state government policy.

The mandatory policy will call for emergency departments to provide a "culturally appropriate space" after research found Aboriginal people were at least one-and-a-half times more likely to leave hospitals before treatment, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday.

A trial on the mid north coast showed a 50 per cent reduction in the number of Aboriginal patients leaving early from emergency departments, the report said.

Aboriginal artwork can be hung on those specially designated walls as a link to the culture and communities, the policy suggests.
Mr Hazzard says many hospitals have already determined they want to introduce a culturally appropriate space and the policy isn't compulsory.

"It isn't mandatory in the sense they've got to do it, it's mandatory in the sense you've got to think about what is culturally appropriate (and) what might help the local community," he told 2GB on Tuesday.

"It may not just be Aboriginal, it could be any of the local community."

The policy also brings NSW into line with national standards, Mr Hazzard added.

"What they're saying is Aboriginal people still get absolutely appalling health outcomes."

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