A new report released today reveals Aboriginal community controlled health services are making significant gains to close the gap in Aboriginal health, again demonstrating the model is the most effective way to turn the around the appalling difference in health between Aboriginal and other Australians.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Healthy Futures Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Report Card 2016, launched today by the Federal Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, shows Aboriginal community controlled health services are continuing to attract clients with 19% increase in episodes of care compared to last report.
Matthew Cooke, National Community Controlled Health Organisation Chairperson welcomed the report and called for a commitment to extend the reach of Aboriginal controlled health services.
“Again we see the work our services do has a dramatic effect on the lives of thousands of Aboriginal people every day – both in a direct way on improving their health and more broadly in the communities as a large employer of Aboriginal people.
“Almost 3 million episodes of care were provided to over 340,000 clients over the last 12 months. This includes an increase of 23% in number of episodes of care provided to Indigenous people and an increase of 8% of all clients.
“Our services employ 3,300 Indigenous staff across Australia which makes them the largest employer single employer on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the nation.
“We are seeing mums and babies in better health, less smokers and a small extension of Aboriginal life expectancy.
“These are incremental but important improvements.
“Putting Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands is working. Now we need to see more Aboriginal people have access to our services in more areas around Australia.”
Aboriginal community controlled health clients also showed improvements for three out of the five nKPI outcome indicators including:
– the proportion of clients with type 2 diabetes whose glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) result was less than or equal to 7%
– the proportion of clients aged 15 and over who were recorded as current smokers.
“We have a long way to go to achieve health equality but we are on the right path if we continue to support models that work and evidence continues to mount that the best investment is in Aboriginal community controlled health services,” Mr Cooke said.
This report card provides information from about 140 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. During 2014–15 these services saw about 275,000 Indigenous clients who received almost 2.5 million episodes of care.
About 228,700 Indigenous Australians were regular clients of ACCHSs, where they received maternal and child health services, chronic disease risk factor prevention, and management services. This report card shows rises in the proportion of clients receiving appropriate processes of care for 10 of the 16 relevant indicators.