NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Cultural Policy : Putting culture at the centre of Indigenous health care

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“Cultural security means building a system where Aboriginal people feel safe, confident and able to participate fully as both consumers and providers of health care without fear of judgement or discrimination,

“Indigenous people make up almost 30 per cent of the NT’s population and account for the majority of the NT’s public health service consumers.

“The Northern Territory has an important role in setting appropriate standards for cultural security in health, and demonstrating the benefits to be gained through the delivery of culturally secure services.”

The Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles has launched a new framework, placing culture at the centre of Indigenous health service delivery.

DOWNLOAD POLICY DOCUMENT HERE

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The Aboriginal Cultural Security Framework provides a 10 year guide to improving health services through the delivery of culturally safe, responsive and quality health care to Aboriginal Territorians.

Download the Framework Here

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The Northern Territory is a place of great cultural diversity. This is one of our greatest social and economic resources and is integral to the image we present to the world. Given this diversity, it is essential that Government services can meet the needs of all Territorians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are almost one third of our population.  They also have the greatest health and welfare needs of any group of Territorians.

It is important that the Department of Health and CommunityServices (DHCS) delivers services in a way that is both effective for Aboriginal people and that protects and respects their cultural rights and values.

Cultural Security is a commitment that the services offered to Aboriginal Territorians by the Department of Health and Community Services will respectfully combine the cultural rights and values of Aboriginal people with the best that health and community service systems have to offer.

Providing culturally secure services requires health and community service providers to:

  • Identify those elements of Aboriginal culture that affect the delivery of health and community services in the Northern Territory
  • Review service delivery practices to ensure that they do not unnecessarily offend Aboriginal people’s culture and values
  • Act to modify service delivery practices where necessary
  • Monitor service activity to ensure that our services continue to meet culturally safe standards.

Providing culturally secure services is a way that we can ensure that all Territorians have access to safe and effective services

The Aboriginal Cultural Security Framework

The Framework will apply to all staff and services across NT Health, providing a consistent approach to action in health care design and delivery for Aboriginal Territorians.

“We have to recognise that culture is central to health if we want to enhance service access, equity and effectiveness,” Ms Fyles said.

The framework will be embedded into operational and service delivery plans, with regular reporting and appropriate monitoring.

Information about the Aboriginal Cultural Security Framework 2016-2026 can be found on the Department of Health website : http://health.nt.gov.au/ (http://health.nt.gov.au/)

Throughout this information the term ‘Aboriginal’ should be taken to include Torres Strait Islander people.

Overview

Aboriginal Policy is a Branch of the Aboriginal Policy and Stakeholder Division.

It provides policy development, advice and support to the Department’s Divisions, the Executive and Ministers on matters of strategic importance relating to Aboriginal health. Core functions include monitoring the implementation of policy, and representing the Department and the Northern Territory Government at local and national forums on Aboriginal health service matters.

The principal aim of the Branch is the creation and facilitation of strategic policy relating to Aboriginal health and social wellbeing.  It has established relationships with other Divisions and agencies, and the community sector and works to strengthen these relationships as a strategic goal, as well as being a major stakeholder through formal agreements such as the Framework Agreement, which is a course of action that has national uniformity.

The Department has made a full commitment to reforming the health and wellbeing service platform in the Northern Territory. The intention is to ensure that services are accessible, balanced, and that the delivery of services is focused on a set of balanced core services. The Department is committed to actions that will ensure improved development and management of health services that are delivered in an efficient and timely manner.

Aboriginal Cultural Security

The core of the move to cultural security is a shift in emphasis from attitude to behaviour, ensuring that the delivery of health and community services is of such a quality that no one person is afforded a less favourable outcome simply because of differing cultural values and beliefs.

Aboriginal people make up approximately 30% of the NT’s population and are a substantial proportion of DoH clients. They are the most disadvantaged group in the country and present with a higher burden of disease. The NT has the lowest life expectancy for Aboriginal men (61.5) and women (69.2) with a larger percentage of young and smaller percentage of older Aboriginal people.

Cultural security recognises that a more respectful and responsive health and family wellbeing system contributes to improved health outcomes and greater efficiency.

Cultural Security is a commitment that the services offered to Aboriginal Territorians by the Department respectfully combines the cultural rights and values of Aboriginal people with the best that health systems have to offer.

Providing culturally secure services requires health and community service providers to:

  • Identify those elements of Aboriginal culture that affect the delivery of health services in the NT;
  • Review service delivery practices to ensure that they do not unnecessarily offend Aboriginal people’s culture and values;
  • Act to modify service delivery practices where necessary; and
  • Monitor service activity to ensure that our services continue to meet culturally safe standards.

Providing culturally secure services is a way that we can ensure that all Territorians have access to safe and effective services.

Download:Aboriginal Cultural Security Policy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner Cultural Statement.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner (ATSIHP) Cultural Statement is an important statement validating and affirming the important role ATSIHP’s play within a multi-disciplinary health care team in improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Territorians.

The roles of clinicians, allied health staff and ATSIHP’s are equally important as a multi-disciplinary health care team. The role and contribution however of the ATSIHP’s are often less acknowledged, understood or valued.

This statement is important therefore as it establishes a collaborative partnership approach and commitment across the Northern Territory health sector in supporting and valuing the contribution of ATSIHP’s within a multi-disciplinary health care team.

The original concept of this statement came from the 2012 Aboriginal Health Worker Summit. This statement is a validation by both the NT Department of Health and the Aboriginal Medical Service Alliance NT (AMSANT) to the contribution of ATSHIP’s play as part of a multi-disciplinary health care team.

The Statement aims to support ATSIHP’s in their field, both as clinicians and as cultural brokers. ATSIHP’s are often the primary contact in Aboriginal communities and it is important that they are supported to gain the confidence and competence as clinicians to take up clinical and managerial roles in primary health care.

Download the ATSIHPs Cultural Statement (Adobe PDF document – 556KB)

 

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