NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Life tougher under NDIS

Image in feature tile is from Croakey Health Media article NDIS must promote and support community-based programs to meet Indigenous people’s needs,15 March 2017. Photo: John Gilroy.

Life tougher under NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has failed in remote Indigenous communities across northern Australia, the Disability Royal Commission has been told. The market-based model relies on funding for disabled people’s care driving the growth of service provision, NT Public Guardian Beth Walker told the disability inquiry earlier this week.

“The market has not responded and so people’s needs are not being fully met because of the lack of availability of services,” she said at the hearing in Alice Springs on Tuesday. “It is difficult for service providers given remote distances and there is market failure.” Ms Walker said the choice between providers that delivered basic services in remote and very remote communities was marginal or non-existent. Communicating with the scheme was also difficult. “The scheme is very transactional and very bureaucratic and can be very difficult to navigate,” she said.

To view the Roberon Review article NDIS failed in remote areas, inquiry told in full click here.

You can also watch a short ABC video Disability Royal Commission investigating issues face by First Nations people here.

Image source: ABC News.

NACCHO conference early bird rates close tomorrow!

REGISTER NOW for the NACCHO Members’ Conference

Early bird rates closing tomorrow!

Register for the NACCHO Members’ Conference before midnight tomorrow and receive our early bird rate saving you $100 when selecting the 2-day package.

Join us at the Convention Centre in Canberra for:

  • NACCHO Youth Conference: 17 October 2022
  • NACCHO Annual General Meeting: 18 October 2022
  • NACCHO Members’ Conference: 19-20 October 2022

Early bird rates close midnight Friday 15 July 2022. To REGISTER click here.

Aboriginal interpreters a valuable tool

In 2010 the Equal Opportunity Commission released its Indigenous Interpreting Services Is there a need? report which included accounts from health workers who stated the need for Aboriginal interpreters was ‘overwhelming’ with Aboriginal post-surgery patients not aware of the nature of the surgical procedure they had undergone.

The Commission made recommendations in the report based on the NT’s Aboriginal Interpreting Service model and funding and in 2017 what was once the Kimberley Interpreting Service expanded to become Aboriginal Interpreting WA (AIWA). Today it has registered and trained interpreters across the state in over 40 WA Aboriginal languages who work in health, justice, governance, native title, social work, community affairs, business, mining, education and tourism.

But are they being used? CEO of AIWA Deanne Lightfoot said there had been a steady increase around the use of Aboriginal language interpreters as part of the State Government’s obligations under its language services policy. “There has been a steady increase in engagement with our services and certainly Covid spiked awareness of the need accurate interpretation,” she said.

From the Commissioner – The importance of interpreters must not be underestimated in full click here.

Shekiera Mununggur says learning medical terms in Yolngu Matha has been the hardest aspect of her interpreter job. Photo: NT Government. Image source: ABC News.

Telehealth cuts leave regional areas behind

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has once again urged the federal Government to make Medicare rebates for longer telehealth phone consultations a permanent fixture of the nation’s telehealth scheme so that patients living outside of major cities can get the care they need when they need it.

It comes following reports of a study released by technology company Phillips, which found that 40% of people living in rural and remote areas had internet speeds that were less than 28 kilobits per second. This makes conducting telehealth video consultations challenging, if not impossible, given that the minimum recommended speed for video calls is 600 kilobits per second. In addition, other people are not confident using the technology or find the cost of purchasing a smart phone or laptop prohibitive.

To view the RACGP media release Rural and remote patients left behind by telehealth cuts full click here.

Image source: St John of God Midland Public Hospital telehealth webpage.

Innovative culturally safe patient care project

Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) graduate nurse, Tammy Quinn has developed an innovation project titled ‘Providing culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients’ which not only stole the show at the 2021 graduate nurse ceremony, but is being introduced into wards across PAH as a tool for patient safety.

Tammy said her inspiration for developing the project was prompted by a desire to make sure her family, and therefore her people, were looked after appropriately and safely. “Research in my own ward of 4E indicated that 50% of staff either weren’t confident or comfortable providing care that they could confirm was culturally safe,” Tammy said.

Tammy’s in-service for the team about the cultural nuances of communicating with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients soon led to the development of a video education package which is hosted online and used as an orientation program for nurses on a growing number of wards across the hospital. “Health literacy within many multicultural groups, and particularly Indigenous people, is low so making sure they understand what they have been told is an essential step.”

To read the Queensland Government Metro South Health article Providing culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in full click here.

Image source: Central Adelaide Local Health Network website.

Rush to suppress WA syphilis outbreak

Health authorities say they have ramped up their work to control a syphilis outbreak that started in northern Australia after reports the infection is creeping towards metropolitan Perth. A bacterial infection spread by sexual contact, syphilis cases were first reported in the Kimberley region in 2014. While case numbers steadily rose around northern Australia in the years following, health services say the focus on COVID-19 messaging and health promotion has overtaken concerns around the infection.

But figures revealing a serious upward trend between 2020 and 2021 and a jump in cases recorded year-to-date have prompted services to renew their health messaging around the infection. As syphilis cases continue to surge in Western Australia contact tracers say they are overwhelmed especially in remote areas with high Indigenous populations.

The Kimberley has already recorded 54 cases so far this year, followed by the Pilbara with 46, and rising numbers have also been recorded in the Goldfields and in the Mid West. Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS) medical director Lorraine Anderson said it was time to renew their focus. “It’s getting worse because we have spent all of our time and energy on COVID-19,” Dr Anderson said.

To read the ABC News article Health authorities push to suppress WA syphilis outbreak as disease heads south in full click here.

A related InSight article Syphilis on the rise: dial up screening and “test it away” available here says between COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, GPs now have to keep a weather eye on their at-risk patients as syphilis numbers continue to rise in vulnerable communities, leading to calls for increased screening in those groups.

According to the National Communicable Disease Surveillance Report for 30 May to 12 June 2022, there is an “ongoing outbreak” occurring in men who have sex with men (MSM), predominantly 20–39 years of age, in urban areas, in women aged 20–39 years (both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous) in urban areas, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in northern and central Australia. “This is a very significant rise. Syphilis is a serious infection and we need to take it very seriously,” said Professor Christopher Fairley, Director of the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre and Professor of Public Health at Monash University.

You can also access the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care webpage National strategies for bloodborne viruses and sexually transmissible infections here.

Dr Lorraine Anderson says they are getting back on track in terms of testing and treating syphilis. Photo: Erin Parke, ABC Kimberley.

New national anti-racism campaign

A new national anti-racism campaign is calling on Australians who do not have lived experience of racism to reflect on its causes and impacts and do more to address it. The multiplatform ad campaign will build awareness of how racism operates at both a structural and interpersonal level and give people tools to recognise and address it.

It will feature well known ambassadors who appear in a community service announcement where a group of Australians talk about their own experiences of racism and inequality. Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan said the campaign, which modernises the Racism. It Stops With Me initiative that launched in 2012, responds to recent events and will address major challenges to realising racial equity in Australia.

To view the Australian Human Rights Commission media release National Campaign Urges Australians to Reflect and Act on Racism click here.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

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