“The Close the Gap campaign priorities are not new. Governments know these priorities well. Yet the health gap remains a national tragedy. Indigenous people have a life expectancy of at least 10 years less than their non-Indigenous peers.
A nation as wealthy as ours should fund the critical health care of less than 3 per cent of its entire population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is a national priority, and we are repeatedly told it has bi-partisan support.
We need to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and involve them in developing solutions. We need to employ Indigenous people to deliver services in their own communities.”
Patricia Turner CEO of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation pictured above at last years Redfern Statement with Dr Jackie Huggins Co-Chair of the Close the Gap Campaign
Download the Campaign’s 2017 Budget Position paper list of nine priorities
The Close the Gap campaign has a close eye on the Federal Government’s commitment to Indigenous health in its May 2017 budget.
The Campaign’s 2017 Budget Position paper lists nine priorities that will help close the gap in health inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
The Close the Gap campaign urged the Federal Government to commit to adequately funding the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 and its subsequent Implementation Plan.
“The Implementation Plan has targeted activities that require adequate resourcing,” said Dr Jackie Huggins, Co-Chair of the Close the Gap Campaign and Co-Chair for the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
Example Recommendation 4
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) are supported to provide high-quality, comprehensive and accountable services that are locally responsive to identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs by:
a. Providing sufficient funding to identify and fill the primary health care service gaps; and
b. Systematic assessment of health outcomes/needs, workforce capability and service capacity undertaken to inform the development of the core services model, future workforce requirements and investment and capacity building priorities
c. Ensure Primary Health Networks are directed to support and partner with ACCHS as the preferred providers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services.
The ACCHS sector provides inherent advantages for closing the gap. Firstly, its service model is the provision of comprehensive primary health care.
This model of care is needed because of the higher levels and earlier age onset of illness, the much greater levels of comorbidity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – and the need to address the fundamental determinants of health if the gap is to be closed.
ACCHS were established because of the inability of mainstream services to deliver for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and have a critical role to play in closing the Gap.
The ACCHS sector is a major employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all levels. In many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the ACCHS operates as the primary employer. These are real and essential, skilled jobs. A long-term plan for building the capabilities of ACCHS is overdue.
The Campaign calls on Government to provide greater surety of funding to enable ACCHS to enhance their capacity to undertake long-term service and workforce planning – particularly in relation to primary health care service gaps. We know that sustainable, long-term services deliver the best health outcomes.
We further propose that ACCHS be treated as preferred providers for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people unless it can be shown that alternative arrangements can produce better outcomes in terms of quality of care and access to services. We believe the evidence shows this and we support government using an objective, informed evidence base to guide future decisions
Press Release Cont:
Ms Donna Murray, CEO of Indigenous Allied Health Australia, urged the Government to invest for the long-term by supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.
“Dedicated funding for allied health, medicine, nursing, midwifery and health workers as well as for the national Indigenous organisations who are involved in workforce development will contribute significantly to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes for our people and communities.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 3 per cent of our population but less than 1 per cent of our health workforce,” Ms Murray said.
The Close the Gap campaign called on the Government to ensure that funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recognises the estimated 45 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
“The NDIS and the Indigenous Advancement Strategy should prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability,” said Damian Griffis, CEO of the First Peoples Disability Network.
The Close the Gap campaign remains optimistic that health equality is possible if governments commit to long-term investment and to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
7 BETTER WAYS TO SPEND $7 BILLION – INDIGENOUS HEALTH
The Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today called on the Government to re-direct funding in the upcoming Budget from the $7 billion private health insurance (PHI) rebate to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
AHCRA is a coalition of peak health organisations working together to create a better and fairer health system for Australia’s future.
“Indigenous health is the number one health issue facing Australia. It is unacceptable that in Australia today Indigenous people have significantly poorer health and a much lower life expectancy than the non-Indigenous population,” Jennifer Doggett, ACHRA Chair, said today.
“It is also unacceptable that despite their much greater health need, Indigenous Australians receive much less benefit from the $7b PHI rebate than non-Indigenous Australians (due to their much lower levels of PHI membership).
“Re-directing funding from the PHI rebate to Indigenous health services would help address this imbalance in funding. This should be used to support a comprehensive population-wide approach that incorporates the social determinants of health and empowers people to take control of their own lives and improve their health through culturally appropriate mechanisms.
“At the centre of efforts to close the health and life expectancy gap are community- controlled health services which provide person-centred and to culturally relevant care, including both a biomedical and preventative health focus. These services, and their representative body NACCHO, require more consistent and assured long-term funding to enable effective planning and capacity development that will deliver the best possible outcomes.
“Therefore, AHCRA supports the allocation of funding from the PHI rebate to achieve the following:
Allocate secure long-term funding to progress the strategies and actions identified in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan Implementation Plan.
Provide secure, long-term funding for the Rural Health Outreach Fund and Medical Outreach Indigenous Chronic Disease Program.
Allocate sufficient and secure long-term funding to the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to support the sector’s continued provision of Indigenous-led, culturally sensitive healthcare.
Build and support the capacity of Indigenous health leaders by committing secure long-term funding to the Indigenous National Health Leadership Forum.
Reinstate funding for a clearinghouse modelled on the previous Closing the Gap clearinghouse, as recommended in the latest draft of the Fifth National Mental Health Plan.
“The health and well-being of Indigenous Australians should be a higher priority for funding than PHI industry subsidies. AHCRA calls on the Federal Government to re-direct funding from the $7b rebate in order to close the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” Ms Doggett said.