Crime scares off another Kalumburu nurse, leaving only one in remote Aboriginal community

Dave Corstorphan is the only nurse left in the remote Western Australian Aboriginal community of Kalumburu after another crime incident led to another nurse leaving town.

On Sunday evening, an unknown number of violators attacked a nurse’s home and smashed a glass door to gain entry.

“They waited for the nurse in question to be called for a job, and then they arrived,” said Mr. Corstorphan.

Police have confirmed that frozen pizzas and a small amount of cash were stolen from the McGowan Place property.

The victim has since decided to leave Kalumburu, nearly 900km northeast of Broome, leaving Mr Corstorphan as the only nurse in the community of more than 400 people.

The ABC understands that a replacement nurse will begin at the local clinic sometime next week.

ambulance with broken windows
Police are investigating after the Kalumburu community ambulance was pelted with stones at the beginning of this month.Delivered

The latest incident has continued to raise concerns for the safety of health personnel in remote communities in recent months.

In the same community, there was an incident earlier this month in which an ambulance vehicle was damaged after it was pelted by stones, leading to the departure of another nurse.

Meanwhile, further south in Bidyadanga, there had been reports of several break-ins at the accommodation of teaching and nursing staff during the school holidays.

Mr Corstorfaan claims that the WA Country Health Service quickly repaired the damage in Kalumburu.

an aerial view of a small town surrounded by green bushland
Mr Corstorphan is concerned about the lack of healthcare workers willing to work in the remote community.ABC News: Erin Parke

Mr Corstorphan said that unless things change in the community, service providers will have to make a difficult decision regarding their own safety.

“Ultimately I think we should just withdraw from the community and we don’t want to do that, as nurses, we don’t want to do that,” he said.

The health worker said when his two-year contract expired in June, he feared there would be no one to replace him in the remote community.

“There’s such a serious shortage that despite all the efforts of WACHS, they still can’t attract…nurses,” he said.

He said nurses had opportunities elsewhere and are actively avoiding towns in the Kimberley.

man smiling at the camera in front of icebergs
Dave Corstorphan is currently the only nurse in the Kalumburu community.Delivered

Mr Corstorphan is part of the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation.

“From a union perspective, it’s sad because we’re trying to maintain a level of nurses… but we can’t attract nurses to the area,” he said.

Regional Director of the WA Country Health Service Robert Pulsford said he expected healthcare workers at work and in their accommodations to be treated with respect.

“I want to make it clear that any kind of aggressive behavior towards our staff will not be tolerated,” he said.

door broken with glass on the floor
Violators broke into the nurse’s house to steal frozen pizzas and a small amount of cash.Delivered: Dave Corstorphan

Meanwhile, Mr. Corstorphan hoped the new shift in federal government would mean change in the community.

“With the Teals” [independent candidates] now that there is a balance of power, we could see more attention being paid to these issues here,” Corstorfaan said.

Police are investigating the latest incident and are urging anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

The Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation has been contacted for comment.

Posted updated

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