New national guide enhances preventive health assessments launched

New national guide enhances preventive health assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have today launched an updated guide to assist healthcare providers to deliver best practice healthcare and prevent disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Pictured from left Justin Mohamed (NACCHO Chair) ,Dr Sophie Couzos (NACCHO), Hon Warren Snowdon MP ,the departing CEO of NACCHO Donna Ah Chee and,Associate Professor Brad Murphy, Chair of the RACGP National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Launching the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this morning at Parliament House, Canberra, The Hon Warren Snowdon, MP Minister for Indigenous Health, said:  “The Government is committed to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  This guide provides health professional with the most up-to-date best practice advice in preventive health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Importantly, this advice also focuses on the needs at different stages of life caring for our youngest through to our older first Australians.”

The second edition of the National Guide is an up-to-date, evidence-based national resource that informs healthcare providers and policy makers on a defined set of activities that are relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The significantly updated guide is intended for all health professionals delivering primary healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This includes general practitioners (GPs), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, nurses and those specialists with a role in delivering primary healthcare.

Associate Professor Brad Murphy, Chair of the RACGP National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and an Aboriginal man from the Kamilaroi people of northwest New South Wales, said there is strong evidence that the delivery of clinical preventive health services improves health outcomes.

“Missing preventive opportunities can lead to a higher dependency on hospital care, which increases health costs. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has much higher rates of hospital admission for almost every health problem compared to other Australians, and this must be addressed urgently,” he said.

Mr Justin Mohamed, Chair of NACCHO, said the prevention of disease is a core element of primary healthcare and encourages healthcare providers to use the guide to enhance the clinical care they provide at each clinic visit.

“The guide will assist health providers in unlocking the health system – the socioeconomic, geographical and health literacy barriers that prevent many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from accessing the services and the opportunities to be healthy to the same extent as other Australians.

“I encourage health providers to implement the guide’s recommendations to bring about significant improvements in health service access and health status for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” he said.

Both the RACGP and NACCHO remind health professionals of their important role in facilitating the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. The RACGP paper, Identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australian general practice, assists health professionals in identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

The National Guide aims to complement the RACGP Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice (the ‘red book’) by dealing with health issues that are specific to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

The RACGP and NACCHO acknowledge the generous contribution of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, which sponsored the development of this guide.

The National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is now available at www.racgp.org.au/aboriginalhealth/nationalguide.

 Media contacts

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Associated Professor Brad Murphy or Mr Justin Mohamed, please contact:

Louise Gates, RACGP Communications & Media Coordinator, 03 8699 0442 or 0433 314 909

Colin Cowell, NACCHO National Communications and Media Advisor, 02 6246 9309, 0401 331 251

About the RACGP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is Australia’s largest professional general practice organisation and represents urban and rural general practitioners. We represent over 21,000 members working in or towards a career in general practice and are proud that over 19,000 Australian-registered general practitioners have chosen to be a member of the College. There are over 125 million general practice consultations taking place annually in Australia. Visit www.racgp.org.au. Follow us on Twitter: @RACGP. The RACGP recognises the Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation past and present, on whose traditional lands it works.