‘I love my people and my job’: Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospital’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer Yvonne To’a retires after 27 years

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Earlier this month, Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospital’s (BMDH) Aboriginal Liaison Officer Yvonne To’a called on patients at Blacktown Hospital for the last time before she officially retired.

Yvonne’s last day was filled with mixed emotions – tears, well wishes, appreciation and gratitude from her colleagues and friends – as the Blacktown Hospital community celebrated her wonderful career.

“I love my job and my people. Coming to work was not like work at all – it was something I really enjoyed,” Yvonne said.

The Wiradjuri woman’s career at Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) began in 1998, when Yvonne joined Blacktown Hospital as an Aboriginal Liaison Officer, helping Aboriginal patients feel more at home, safe and cared for.

She was also involved with coordinating hospital events such as the hospital’s NAIDOC ceremonies, Close the Gap, Reconciliation Walk and Sorry Day ceremonies, and was partly responsible for the establishment of the Aboriginal Family Room at Blacktown Hospital.

Reflecting on her time at Blacktown Hospital, Yvonne said she has enjoyed collaborating with the dedicated doctors and nurses who have been fantastic colleagues.

“Our people prefer to speak with someone who is like them and understand our culture, and feel comfortable with talking to me,” Yvonne said.

“Also, I’ll never forget when an Aboriginal artist played the didgeridoo at the NAIDOC ceremonies. Everyone in Hospital Street would come running to see where the distinctive sound was coming from.”

BMDH Allied Health Director Chris Horley commended Yvonne for a lifetime of care and compassion to our Indigenous communities.

“Congratulations and thank you Yvonne for your 27 years of dedicated service to western Sydney families,” Chris said.