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Thong donation heading for Cape York communities

22 August 2018

More than 500 pairs of thongs are on their way to remote communities on Cape York, thanks to a generous donation organised by the Caboolture and Kilcoy hospitals in southern Queensland.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Nurse Navigators Manager Rachel Sargeant said the thongs would help ensure clients and patients from remote communities could board their flights to access health care in larger centres.

“Often, when patients or clients from remote communities turn up at the local airport to board a flight to Cairns to access medical services, they may not have appropriate footwear,’’ she said.

“Without footwear, they cannot board their flights – as there is a legal requirement for footwear.

“If we cannot source some form of footwear from somewhere for them quickly, they might miss their flight and have to be rescheduled.

“But thanks to this generous donation from the Caboolture and Kilcoy hospitals, we will be able to keep supplies of footwear on hand at local community airports or the local primary health

care centre and have them ready to distribute if someone turns up for a flight without footwear.’’

Caboolture Hospital Nurse Navigator Nikia Goldsmith said the thong donation initiative had been supported broadly by staff at both hospitals, as well as by business organisations.

“We did the thong drive as part of our annual ‘Kindness in July’ initiative,’’ she said.

Ms Goldsmith said she and other Nurse Navigators had become aware of the footwear issue in remote communities at a state-wide Nurse Navigator induction held in Brisbane earlier in the year by the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer.

“We got chatting with other Nurse Navigators from around the state about life in remote communities,’’ she said.

“They told us about how some patients in remote communities might present with no shoes, so when they front up to the plane to fly out to a larger centre for their medical appointments,

they’re not allowed to board and so they miss their flight and their appointments.

“As a result of those conversations, Nurse Navigators in the Metro North Hospital and Health Service, of which Caboolture and Kilcoy hospitals are a part, went out and purchased 50 pairs

of thongs for their North West colleagues to distribute in remote communities.

“So, when it came to planning something special for this year’s Kindness in July initiative at Caboolture and Kilcoy hospitals, we decided on a major thong drive that we called Walk a Mile

in My Thongs.

“We had huge support from staff in all areas of the Caboolture and Kilcoy hospitals. Our Operations Team alone collected about 100 pairs of thongs.

“We also had strong support from Kmart at Morayfield and also from QSuper and First Choice Care.

“It was amazing. Our goal was to collect just 250 pairs of thongs but we absolutely smashed the target.

“The final tally for the Walk a Mile in My Thongs will end up being more than 520 pairs as we are continuing to have late donations coming in.’’

Ms Goldsmith said the thongs would be packed and sent to Cairns over the next few weeks.

From there, Ms Sargeant and her team of Torres and Cape HHS Nurse Navigators will organise distribution to individual Cape York communities.

Ms Sargeant said it was very moving to receive the gift from the Caboolture and Kilcoy hospitals on behalf of patients and clients in remote Cape York communities.

“I’d like to thank our Nurse Navigator colleagues and all staff at the Caboolture and Kilcoy hospitals and their corporate supporters for this generous donation,’’ she said.

“It’s an absolutely amazing effort and we are so touched that our colleagues in the south have gone to so much trouble and effort to help us and help people in our remote communities.

“It’s a great example of inter-health service cooperation and support.’’

PHOTO CAPTION: Caboolture Hospital Kindness in July organisers – from left – Ann Whalley, Suzanne Michaels and Nikia Goldsmith with more than 500 pairs of thongs collected for the Walk a Mile in My Thongs drive.

Last updated: 21 September 2018