” The Department of Health has moved to evaluate the effectiveness of primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including the $3.4 billion Indigenous Australians’ Health Program, established in 2014 as a key component of a 10-year health plan
A focus on how well the health system is working for consumers is critical to inform and bring about real change to improve service delivery and health outcomes
There also remain potentially significant groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are not receiving access to the services they need … If health equality is to be achieved, the speed and scale of transformational change needs to considerably increase.”
A department spokeswoman told The Weekend Australian Picture above Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt. Picture: Kym Smith
The government has moved to target the socio-economic determinants of health for policy revisions. Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt has called on communities to contribute to discussions through the My Life, My Lead consultations.
Further reforms are likely from next year
The Australian Government is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and communities, and other stakeholders to improve progress against the goals to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians, and is welcoming participation in the IPAG Consultation 2017 from a broad range of stakeholders.
You can have your say by taking part in the online submission to the IPAG consultation 2017.
The online submission will be open from Wednesday 8 March 2017 and will close 11.59 pm Sunday 30 April 2017.
The failure to adequately improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health has prompted the Turnbull government to order a sweeping review of its multibillion-dollar primary health programs.
Malcolm Turnbull’s recent update on Closing The Gap initiatives showed little improvement in indigenous health and a consistently dire outlook, at a time health systems and budgets are under strain.
The target of closing the life expectancy gap — 16 years for indigenous women and 21 years for indigenous men — will not be reached by 2031. While the chronic diseases death rate has improved, cancer deaths still rise and smoking rates are too high.
Documents provided to companies interested in conducting the independent review reveal the department’s frustration at the lack of improvement and the need to reassess the approach to serving indigenous communities.
“While some inroads are being made, Australia is not on track to achieve the COAG targets to close the gap — either in health or a number of other related areas,” the documents state. “There also remain potentially significant groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are not receiving access to the services they need … If health equality is to be achieved, the speed and scale of transformational change needs to considerably increase.”