• Former NSW Ambulance employee of the year, Liam Harte.
The NSW Ambulance Service has pledged to close the gap this year with their Respecting the Difference program.
By
Tara Callinan

Source:
NITV News
24 Mar 2014 - 12:55 PM  UPDATED 24 Mar 2014 - 6:23 PM

The program is an initiative from NSW Health that makes Aboriginal cultural training mandatory for all employees.

The program aims empower health professional to deliver more responsive and culturally sensitive health services to Aboriginal patients, their families and communities.

Redfern station officer, Liam Harte says cultural training will be one of three Close The Gap initiatives implemented by the NSW Ambulance service.  

He hopes this will improve the relationship between health professionals and the Aboriginal community.

"There's a trust with the Aboriginal medical centres already, but this is about when they transition past the services that Aboriginal medical centres provide, when they do need to go to non-Indigenous facilities that they can feel more comfortable," said Mr Harte.

The former NSW Ambulance employee of the year also recognised the need to maintain Aboriginal employment opportunities in order to close the gap on social disadvantage.

"NSW Ambulance is very strong with Indigenous recruitment, we have just over 105 Indigenous employed which sits just over the 2 per cent mark, which is well and above the current target and exceeds that of NSW Health," said Mr Harte.

Following Wednesday's Respecting the Difference launch, the NSW Ambulance service has pledged to improve Aboriginal life expectancy and health outcomes within a generation.