NACCHO #IndigenousVotes : Labor policy committed to addressing the injustice of poor health outcomes

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Labor is committed to the efforts to Close the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and believes that central to this is the need to implement the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during the period of the Gillard Government.

No group of Australians will be hit harder by the Government’s cuts to Medicare than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

No group of Australians will be hit harder by the Government’s attempts to drive down bulk billing and push up health costs.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations would find it impossible to absorb the costs of these actions and their patient services would be compromised.”

Labor committed to addressing the injustice of poor health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Presented by Catherine King, Warren Snowdon and Shayne Neumann

Download 24 Page PDF Aboriginal Health Newspaper HERE

A Shorten Labor Government would continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, through the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and relevant health organisations such as NACCHO to implement the Health Plan.

In Government Labor would, in consultation with Congress, re establish the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council, with its costs being met through the Administered funds of the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Consistent with the Health Plan, Labor is committed to  improving preventative health strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and helping to close the gap in chronic disease  and life expectancy  and this will be a major commitment of a Shorten Labor government.

Labor understands that a primary vehicle for improving health outcomes are community based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Organisations who provide a very high standard of comprehensive primary health services in a culturally safe and respectful environment.

A Shorten Labor Goverment would continue to work closely with these services as they continue to grow in a sustainable way.

The shameful facts remain, despite the improvements in service delivery over recent years, that the burden of ill health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is two-and-a-half times higher than that of other Australians.

In large part this is due to the higher incidence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and kidney disease; much of this is preventable.

This is simply unacceptable to Labor, is a national disgrace and must be addressed..

In response to this crisis and after having consulted widely, a Shorten Labor Government will invest in tailored, culturally-appropriate health programs aimed at preventing chronic disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Child and Maternal Health

As a first step Labor acknowledges the importance of the first thousand days of a child’s life from conception. A Shorten Labor Government will continue to prioritise programmes, such as the Nurse Family Partnership,  Abicadarian and other successful maternal and child health programme as a primary tool for the prevention of the onset of chronic disease later in life.

Labor sees a strong relationship between these programmes and our commitment to Children and Family Centres in improving the life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Deadly Choices

Empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to make their own healthy lifestyle choices is a most important step to improving health outcomes and another key prevention tool

Deadly Choices is a successful initiative of the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) that aims to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to improve their own and their families’ health by improving their diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking.

A Shorten Labor government will provide $5.5 million per year to partner with the IUIH in rolling out Deadly Choices across the country.

(Again depending on space this next bit could be foregone)Elements of the roll-out will include:

  • National campaigns to promote positive health and lifestyle choices.
  • Partnerships with sporting organisations and sporting ambassadors.
  • Training and licensing for state and territory affiliates.
  • Local Deadly Choices coordinators.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kidney health taskforce

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are more than twice as likely as other Australians to have indicators of chronic kidney disease.

The incidence of end-stage kidney disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is especially high in remote and very remote areas.

The patient pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kidney patients is often confusing, fragmented, isolating and burdensome.

A Shorten Labor government will convene a national taskforce on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kidney disease as a priority to look for holistic solutions to the current crisis.

( Not sure that this sentence is necessary)In particular, it will address coordination of the complex and fragmented health and social supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families affected by kidney failure.

The taskforce will bring together experts in Indigenous health, kidney disease, general practice, food security, health systems, consumer representation and the non-government sector to develop strategies in prevention, early identification, management, treatment and transplantation.

A Shorten Labor government will commit $295,000 to the national kidney health taskforce.

Improving Indigenous eye health

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are six times more likely to suffer from blindness and 94 per cent of this vision loss is either preventable or treatable.

Remedying this would alone account for an 11 per cent improvement in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

Australia is the only developed nation where the infectious and wholly preventable eye disease trachoma still exists and it only exists among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Around 35 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have never had an eye exam. Trachoma can be eliminated from Australia by 2020 if we give this problem the attention it is due.

A Shorten Labor government will invest $9.5m to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vision loss.

This will go toward increasing visiting optometry services, supporting specialist ophthalmology services, and investing in trachoma prevention activities recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Protecting Medicare

Labor will also improve health outcomes of Indigenous Australians by protecting Medicare.

No group of Australians will be hit harder by the Government’s cuts to Medicare than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

No group of Australians will be hit harder by the Government’s attempts to dive down bulk billing and push up health costs.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations would find it impossible to absorb the costs of these actions and their patient services would be compromised.

That’s why Labor will protect Medicare, ensuring universal and affordable healthcare is available to all Australians.

Labor will protect bulk-billing by ending the Medicare Freeze and abolishing Malcolm Turnbull’s GP tax-by-stealth.

  • We will keep medicines affordable by scrapping the Liberals’ price hikes.
  • And we will legislate to prevent Medicare from being privatized.

Only Labor cares about a public health system for all Australians and is committed to addressing the injustice of poor health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Please note this is the corrected  IAHA ad for Page 3 of our printed newspaper

IAHA

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