NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: RACGP backs NACCHO’s pharmacy concerns

pharmacist hand selecting medication box

The image in the feature tile is from an article in The Conversation published on 23 March 2022. Image credit: Shutterstock.

The NACCHO Daily Health News is a platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.

We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly. The content included in these new stories are not necessarily NACCHO endorsed.

RACGP back NACCHO’s pharmacy concerns

NACCHO has called for a comprehensive and transparent evaluation of expanding scope of practice for private sector pharmacists, in the wake of ongoing Pharmacy Guild efforts for autonomous prescribing rights. Several state and territory governments have already committed to pilot programs of independent pharmacy prescribing in various guises, but NACCHO CEO Pat Turner believes the push threatens to erode the quality of primary healthcare provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘These trials threaten to further fragment care for priority conditions such as otitis media and hearing loss, hepatitis management, and further exacerbate the crisis in antimicrobial resistance seen in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients,’ she said. ‘Whilst there has been years of consultations and various taskforces and committees reviewing scope of practices and access to care for patients, including the recent Medicare Strengthening Taskforce, which had representation of a range of clinicians involved in delivering primary healthcare, the same cannot be said of this pursuit by private pharmacy.’

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said the college echoes NACCHO’s concerns about pharmacy overreach.

To view the RACGP backs NACCHO’s pharmacy concerns article published yesterday in the newsGP in full click here.

Aboriginal woman's hands being handed a script from pharmacist

The college has pledged full support of NACCHO’s concerns of the proposed expansion of pharmacy scope of practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Image source: newsGP, 16 February 2023.

Lowitja Institute welcomes CTG implementation funding

Earlier today the Lowitja Institute issued a media release saying it welcomed the Australian Government’s action to accelerate work on the four Priority Reforms in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and provide additional funding for critical issues, including housing, water and food security that impact on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Australian Government on Monday this week delivered its second Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, alongside the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (Coalition of Peaks) annual implementation plan. It will also restore the Closing the Gap statement at the start of the parliamentary year.

To view the Lowitja Institute media release Lowitja Institute welcomes action, funding on Closing the Gap implementation in full click here.

foyer of Lowitja Institute & Lowitja Institute logo

Photo: Peter Casamento. Image source: Greenaway Architects webpage.

Health care reforms to support expectant mums

Exploring cultural reforms to help improve health outcomes for Aboriginal mothers and their babies is the focus of new research from Flinders University and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network. The research is shining a light on the health care challenges facing pregnant Aboriginal women during the antenatal period through to their infants’ first three years of life and calls for strategies to transform existing services by providing appropriate and culturally sensitive care.

Published in the journal of Health Research Policy and Systems, the study by lead researcher Dr Nina Sivertsen is calling for transformative policies which improve outcomes for expectant Aboriginal mothers by embedding culturally appropriate and safe care in the SA health care system.

Dr Sivertsen said “Aboriginal women and their infants experience significant disadvantage in health outcomes compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts. This is partly because of a deep mistrust in Australia’s a ‘one-size fits all’ approach in the health care staff. “Access to timely, effective, and appropriate maternal and child health care can contribute to reducing these existing health disparities. Our research sought to explore factors that contribute to important continuity of care for Aboriginal women and their infants living in SA.”

To view the Medical Xpress article Health care reforms to support Aboriginal expectant mothers article in full click here.

‘Parents need to parent’ comment sparks debate

“Parents need to parent.” You’d struggle to find someone that completely disagrees with Premier Mark McGowan’s comment that parents have a key role in keeping their children out of trouble. But there’s a whole lot more to it when it comes to youth crime and damaged children and their families. Leaders who have long worked in the space of children’s health and safety say the problem is often that parents simply don’t know how to parent. They were not parented themselves, they say, and so telling them to parent their own children is pretty much foreign to them.

Mr McGowan made the remarks after being asked about youth crime, alcohol-related violence and children roaming the streets in the Goldfields town of Laverton, 360 kms north-east of Kalgoorlie, and other regional towns. He said the government was already doing its bit, employing more police officers and investing more in early intervention and other community support programs.

Commissioner for Children and Young People Jacqueline McGowan-Jones agreed but said “The challenge we have about saying it’s a parental responsibility as well, which is absolutely true … is where parents may not have been parented themselves.”

To view the ABC News article Mark McGowan’s ‘parents need to parent’ remark sparks debate about Indigenous disadvantage in full click here.

portrait photo of Tony Hansen, co-chair of Bringing Them Home WA

Tony Hansen, co-chair of Bringing Them Home WA, says there are generations of Aboriginal people raised in institutions with no parenting. Image source: ABC News.

New community-led alcohol measures for Alice Springs

The NT’s new alcohol restrictions regime came into effect yesterday. NT parliament passed the Liquor Amendment Act 2023 on Tuesday this week, reintroducing alcohol bans in town camps and remote communities across central Australia, after months of community discontent and national attention amid alcohol-fuelled crime in and around Alice Springs.

A return to strict prohibitions followed a string of meetings, visits to Alice by national cabinet, community consultation, snap bans on alcohol sales, and a report handed down by newly-appointed Central Australia Regional Controller Dorrelle Anderson. NT Chief Minister Ms Natasha Fyles said changes to the Territory’s liquor act are based on community-decision making, with areas able to opt-out of restrictions only with the development of alcohol plans approved by 60% of the local community and the director of Liquor Licensing.

“We have continued to listen to local communities and expert advice and are now further strengthening alcohol restrictions. This is a new approach,” Ms Fyles said. “It is community-led with local decision making at its core and will be coupled with a major investment in the hard work of addressing the cause of crime.” In a statement the NT government said 88 of the 96 major communities across the entire NT will experience no change under the new restrictions. “Those communities have chosen restrictions which work for them and we will not take that power away from them,” it said.

To view the National Indigenous Times article New “community-led” alcohol measures come into effect in and around Alice Springs in full click here.

NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles

Chief Minister Natasha Fyles introduced legislation to restrict the sale of alcohol in the NT on Tuesday. Source: AAP / Mick Tsikas. Image source: SBS News.

Sector Jobs

Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.

Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website Current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

Close the Gap 2023 Report Launch

The Close the Gap Campaign’s 2023 Report Strong Culture, Strong Youth: Our Legacy, Our Future will be launched on Thursday 16 March 2023.

Grounded in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ right to be self-determining, the report highlights the vital role of culture in achieving positive long-term health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

With a particular focus on organisations and individuals working in communities to enrich the lives of First Nations children and youth across the nation, the report showcases eight case studies spanning the creative arts, mentoring, justice initiatives, climate activism, LGBTQ+SB rights advocacy, language innovations, suicide prevention, and the structural reform of mental health services.

The Report demonstrates how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing positively address the cultural determinants of health, thereby shaping the trajectory of health and life outcomes for future generations. It also draws attention to the essential role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led decision-making and self-determination in shaping a vision of health and wellbeing built upon a strong cultural foundation.

Close the Gap tiles - text save the date Thursday 16 March 2023 - National Close the Gap Day / 2023 Report Launch - Members, Allied and Friends - images of 10 Aboriginal people including children

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