On 2 April the NACCHO chair Justin Mohamed will be appearing at the National Press Club in Canberra
Watch live on ABC-TV at 12.30 pm (see below)
“Investing in Aboriginal Community Control makes economic $ense”
The good news is that ACCHS deliver the goods – not only health gains, but also substantial economic gains.
In all the rhetoric about Closing the Gap, what is missing from the picture is this — the ACCHS network of clinics, community health centres and health-based co-operatives throughout Australia generates substantial economic value for Aboriginal people and their communities. ACCHS are a large-scale employer of Aboriginal people. This provides real income and economic independence for many people. They contribute enormously to raising the education and skill levels of the Aboriginal workforce.
Investing in ACCHS is a good business proposition. It provides value for money and is highly cost-effective for four main reasons:
ACCHS deliver primary health care that delivers results
Like your local GP does but more effectively for Aboriginal people because the ACCHS model combines the best of clinical know-how with culturally enriched local knowledge and wisdom. It takes care of the whole person, not separate body parts. People work as part of a team that includes Aboriginal Health Workers, allied health, and social and emotional wellbeing counsellors in the front line. GPs as well, although not always. It runs health promotion and health screening to identify and treat health problems before they get serious. It organises access to medical specialists and hospitals if necessary. The ACCHS model considers individuals and families as part of a community and it responds effectively to community-based needs and issues.
This model of health care works for Aboriginal people. Evidence-based inquiries and reports show that ACCHS outperform mainstream services in terms of treatment and prevention. They reduce the need for highly expensive hospital-based services. And they save lives.
ACCHS employment boosts Aboriginal education and training levels
ACCHS employ people with high skill levels. Most have tertiary level qualifications and several have multiple qualifications. This increases the education and skill base of the Aboriginal workforce. Organisational pathways in ACCHS are based on continuing and further education. The message is that ACCHS have education benefits. A single investment by government in ACCHS deals effectively with the two main problems in Aboriginal communities – high unemployment and low levels of education.