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Katanning speech pathologist Jan Batchelor honoured at the WA Rural Health Excellence Awards

Jacob Morgan-de laineGreat Southern Herald
Rural Allied Health Professional of the Year Jan Batchelor - WA Country Health Service- Katanning.
Camera IconRural Allied Health Professional of the Year Jan Batchelor - WA Country Health Service- Katanning. Credit: rebecca johansson

Katanning speech pathologist Jan Batchelor was honoured for her contribution to allied health at the 2022 WA Rural Health Excellence Awards last Saturday.

Mrs Batchelor was named the Rural Allied Health Professional of the Year for her work with children with language delays.

“It was an unexpected honour and a privilege to be the winner,” she said.

Mrs Batchelor worked for the WA Country Health Service for 37 1/2 years, starting in Katanning in the 1980s and retiring last year.

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“It was a wonderful journey and a privilege to work for WACHS for such a long time,” She said.

She has worked across many areas of speech pathology over the years, focusing in early intervention and prevention.

She was an advocate for alternative service delivery, enabling families and children to access support more easily.

Mrs Batchelor has been involved in the development of a range of early childhood language programs for pre-school and school aged children.

These include A Smart Start for children aged 0-4, the Albany District Oral Language Program and the Kindergarten Oral language Program for school aged children.

Her programs mix speech therapy into classrooms and family life.

“These programs are whole population and whole class interventions, so children from vulnerable families were better able to access our services,” she said.

Her work played a major role in Katanning being selected as one of the sites for the early childhood initiative, a partnership between Department of Communities, Mindaroo Foundation, and The Telethon Kids Institute.

Mrs Batchelor has also been a mentor for student and graduate speech pathologists.

The WA Rural Health Excellence Awards recognise the achievements of health professionals in regional and rural WA.

Health professionals are nominated across 12 categories by peers, colleagues and the community.

Rural Health West chief executive Tim Shackleton congratulated this year’s winners for their contributions.

“The past few years have demonstrated the absolutely critical role that health professionals play in preserving our way of life,” he said.

“It is wonderful to this year celebrate the achievements of a number of health professionals who have worked in the bush for many years and who have also played a role in promoting rural health as a career of choice to the next generation of clinicians.”

WA Country Health Service chief executive Jeff Moffet said the winners were proof of how rewarding a country career could be.

“Country WA faces its own set of unique challenges, yet time again country healthcare workers step up to make sure even the most remote communities have access to high quality healthcare,” Mr Moffet said.

“The impact a good clinician can have on the health of a community is undeniable and these award recipients are testament to the absolute dedication of all country healthcare providers.”

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