Mr Justin Mohamed, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has joined other Aboriginal leaders in condemning the latest round of cuts to primary and community healthcare services by the Queensland government.
The cost-saving measures are likely to bite deeply into the service delivery capability of crucial non-government agencies such as drug and alcohol and non-acute mental health services.
Mr Mohamed said that the very services that evidence shows are most accessible to Aboriginal people and which are provided in the community setting are the ones suffering the greatest cuts.
“Aboriginal people are still economically and socially disadvantaged compared to the non-Aboriginal community and these cuts to non-government services will bear heavily on our people, particularly those suffering from chronic conditions, drug and alcohol issues, ongoing mental health problems and families in need of special support”, he said.
“NACCHO supports the comments made yesterday by the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and calls on the Queensland government to end the blame game and cost shifting practices which will continue to undermine effective health services to not only the Aboriginal people of Queensland but to the entire Queensland community”, he continued.
Mr Mohamed said that NACCHO is particularly concerned that these cuts will, coming so quickly on the heels of the recent cuts to health promotion, prevention and early intervention services, have dire consequences for the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples of Queensland, particularly those in outer-urban and regional areas.
Mr Mohamed said that it was naive to think that these services – and particularly the funding of these services – would be automatically picked up by Medicare Locals, which are still finding their feet in the new health landscape.
He called on the eleven Medicare Locals in Queensland to work in partnership with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in their area to ensure that these services do not disappear and thereby leave the entire Queensland community in poorer health.
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