The peak Aboriginal health body today called on the Commonwealth Department of Health to urgently provide formal funding agreements to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services who were promised them to with great fanfare over a month ago.
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chairperson Matthew Cooke said that the three-year funding commitment made by Health Minister Sussan Ley and Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash in March was very welcome but services were still waiting for formal paperwork and could not make ongoing commitments for staff and health service delivery without it.
“It’s really important that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services receive these formal funding agreements from the Department of Health as soon as possible,” said Mr Cooke.
“Without a formal funding agreement many organisations are finding it difficult to maintain a quality workforce.
“These long term funding agreements need to be formalised so that health services can provide job security for the 5,000-plus doctors, nurses, health workers and allied health workers they employ.
“Not having a formal agreement also impacts our health services ability to enter in to commercial agreements for crucial infrastructure, such as buildings, dwellings and vehicles.
“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services are the best model for providing primary health care to Aboriginal people and are making the greatest gains in closing the health gap.
“These organisations need formal funding agreements so they can continue their efforts in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to give staff and patients peace of mind and make it clear when these organisations can expect to receive their formal funding agreements.”