Indigenous Health

At NTRO, we strive to ensure a culturally appropriate health care service is delivered for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. All staff participate in a cultural awareness program and we have an Aboriginal liaison service (ALO’s) within the Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre to further offer support for Indigenous patients.

Aboriginal Liaison Officers (ALO) support Indigenous patients navigate the health system during their cancer journey. They work closely with other health professionals to ensure any cross-cultural issues are managed in an appropriate manner.

ALO’s also provide assistance in other areas, including:

  • Consultations – providing support to patients during their medical consultations and facilitating effective communication between the patient and health professional so that the patient’s needs and wants are understood
  • Financial assistance – initiating and supporting patients to apply for eligible Centrelink payments whilst receiving treatment, assisting patients to request early access to superannuation and applying for financial assistance with NT Cancer Council
  • Transport (while in Darwin) – organise daily transport for patients staying at a hostel while in Darwin for treatment and facilitating transport for patients who live in Darwin who may need assistance
  • Communication – maintain regular contact with the patient by phone and SMS patients to ensure they are aware of appointments and transport arrangements
  • Medications – liaise with medical and nursing staff to provide education about medications and ensuring patient has access to all required medications
  • To support and educate staff to care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a culturally safe way    

Many of our Indigenous patients come from remote or rural locations and have to travel and stay in Darwin while they receive treatment.  The Patient Assistance Travel Scheme (PATS) is responsible for organising transport to and from Darwin, as well as their accommodation. 

Some of the accommodation options include:

Another important aspect of providing culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients is the use of interpreters. The Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre utilises the Aboriginal Interpreter Service provided by Royal Darwin Hospital to assist in the effective communication for patients who speak a different language.  This map below demonstrates the languages and lands of the people who use our service.

Major Aboriginal languages of the Northern Territory

Major Aboriginal Languages of Northern Territory