- AMA wants consistency of mandatory COVID-19 jabs for healthcare staff
- Concerns regional hospitals won’t cope with major COVID outbreak
- Improvements across health and welfare for mob
- Western NSW sets example with COVID jab rates
- Mental health and wellbeing support tailored to mob
- Cultural safety important to patients and healthcare workers
- Innovative research explores responses to COVID-19
- Rural health students protecting themselves and rural communities
- New process for job advertising
- Save the Date
AMA wants consistency of mandatory COVID-19 jabs for healthcare staff
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) calls on National Cabinet to act urgently on nationally-consistent public health orders for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all healthcare workers, including GPs.
AMA President Omar Khorshid said legal protection should also be given to healthcare employers who mandate vaccinations for all their staff.
“Most health care providers in Australia are small businesses that don’t have the time or resources needed to navigate complex work health and safety laws. We need to make it easier for them to be able to mandate vaccination, which is the best way to protect their staff and patients.”
Dr Khorshid said the Federal Government needed to co-ordinate States and Territories through the National Cabinet to ensure a nationally-consistent approach to mandatory vaccination that included everyone – GPs and practice staff, pharmacists, hospital staff, ambulance staff, cooks and cleaners – leaving no exemptions, except for legitimate medical reasons.
“Nationally-consistent public health orders would provide legal protection to any employer who could reasonably establish work safety would benefit from a workplace vaccine mandate. It’s important for GPs and other small businesses to have government backing and protection when it comes to mandating vaccines for all employees,” Dr Khorshid said.
You can read the media release the AMA here.
Concerns regional hospitals won’t cope with major COVID outbreak
A COVID-19 outbreak in Western Australia is considered inevitable by many health experts, but doctors have warned if it happens before enough people are vaccinated it will be “horrendous” for regional areas where resources are limited and staff are hard to attract. WA has so far managed to keep out the Delta strain, despite it spreading through New South Wales and Victoria. However, with fewer than 40 per cent of people fully vaccinated in Western Australia, president of the Rural Doctors Association, Brittney Wicksteed, was worried.
“If COVID were to come before we’ve got adequate vaccination rates, it’s going to be horrendous in the regions,” she said.
Dr Wicksteed said many regional hospitals did not have the room, equipment or staff to cope with more than a couple of COVID cases at a time.
“The hospital has been extremely busy already this year,” she said.
“I [also] think it will be really hard to maintain adequate staffing in any of the hospitals in any of the regions in WA once there’s COVID there.”
“I don’t think any of our hospitals are fully prepared should we have a large outbreak … there are not enough ventilators at any hospital,” said Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS) chief executive Vicki O’Donnell.
You can read the article in the ABC News here.
Improvements across health and welfare for mob
The two-yearly Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report on the welfare and wellbeing of Australians was launched today by the release of a video message (see below story) from Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services.
In recent years, there have been improvements across a range of measures of health and welfare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“The median equivalised household income for Indigenous Australians grew 29% between 2002 and 2018–19, twice the growth rate of non-Indigenous Australians (14%) over the same period after accounting for inflation,” said AIHW Deputy Chief Executive Officer Matthew James.
“Between 2014–15 and 2018–19, the proportion of working age Indigenous Australians relying on a government pension or allowance as their main income source fell from 47% to 45%.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities are at high risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and severe outcomes due to a range of health and socioeconomic inequalities. As of 15 August 2021, there had been 293 confirmed COVID-19 cases among Indigenous Australians since the start of the pandemic. This includes 145 confirmed cases since the beginning of 2021 (1.3% of all cases in the period), and 148 in 2020 (0.5%).
For more information, visit the AIHW website.
Western NSW sets example with COVID jab rates
Western NSW’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign is going gangbusters. At a virtual media event on Tuesday, Western NSW Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan revealed the region was the one to watch in NSW.
“We’ve now seen the biggest increase in Western NSW compared to the whole of the state, in vaccination rates, particularly people receiving their first dose and particularly across our Aboriginal community,” he said.
“Thank you to everyone who’s come forward in the last month, in particular who’s changed life outcomes for people, getting protected from COVID.”
“Importantly second dose rates for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal in our community are now the same at 38 per cent right across our region.”
You can read the story in the Daily Liberal here.
Mental health and wellbeing support tailored to mob
As the serious Delta outbreak continues across the state, the Victorian Government is making sure more Victorians struggling during this difficult period have access to the mental health and wellbeing support they need.
On top of the $225 million the Government has already provided to support Victorians’ mental health throughout the pandemic, a further investment of $22 million will deliver fast-tracked, tailored care to those who need it, reducing the burden on emergency departments as the number of coronavirus patients grows.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are less likely to engage early with mainstream mental health services, will receive $4 million in support for Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to self-determine the best, most culturally appropriate response to the mental health and wellbeing needs of their local communities.
You can read more about this investment by the Victorian Government here.
Last week, the McGowan Labor Government also committed more than $374 million to ensure
positive outcomes for Aboriginal people and communities in Western Australia. The funding is split over three key policy areas: building strong communities, improving health and well-being, and delivering social and economic opportunities.
“This significant investment will help us Close the Gap in Western Australia and aligns with
our four Priority Reform Areas for changing how governments work with Aboriginal people,” said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Stephen Dawson.
You can read the media release by the McGowan Government here.
Cultural safety important to patients and healthcare workers
Cultural safety is vitally important for the effective delivery of health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as in medical schools for our medical students and the health settings where our doctors work.
The Australian Indigenous Doctros’ Association (AIDA) supports the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) National Scheme 2020-2025 definition of cultural safety as:
“A sense of being as determined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities” and furthermore, “culturally safe practise is the ongoing critical reflection of health practitioner knowledge, skills, attitudes, practising behaviours and power differentials in delivering safe, accessible and responsive healthcare free of racism”.
You can read mora about AIDA‘s Cultural Safety Program here.
Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Care Is Vital For Indigenous Youth Right Now.
Reframing mental health care through a decolonised lens driven for and by Indigenous voices is the path forward to ensure sensitivity is delivered from diagnosis through to treatment and care. Psychologist and Palawa woman Jodi Jones told Junkee that culturally appropriate access to basic services is one of the biggest challenges impacting Indigenous youth mental health right now.
“Indigenous psychologists have the lived experiences of the real issues and disparities that have existed, and continue within our communities,” Jones said.
“We are the best equipped to deal with Indigenous issues with Indigenous perspectives”.
You can read the article in Junkee here.
Innovative research explores responses to COVID-19
A study being conducted by the University of Queensland, led by Professor Bronwyn Fredericks, and Professor James Ward, seeks to unpack the complexities of Indigenous health and social systems to better understand the effectiveness of responses to COVID-19 in Brisbane.
Although the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have posed numerous health risks for Indigenous peoples, in the most part, it has merely exacerbated pre-existing issues relating to underlying health conditions, food insecurity, housing, and other social determinants of disparate health outcomes.
This study seeks to better understand the structural reforms needed to construct an effective health system, particularly during times of pandemics. It draws on the collective knowledge and experience of Indigenous and non-indigenous service-providers and healthcare professionals while recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the experts of their own needs and that sustainable change must be community orientated and driven.
You can read the article in Croakey Health Media here.
Rural health students protecting themselves and rural communities
The Australian Rural Health Education Network (ARHEN) has acknowledged the efforts of rural health students to protect themselves, their patients and rural communities from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated ahead of their clinical placements.
The Chair of ARHEN, Christine Howard, said health students play a vital role in the delivery of clinical services in many rural and remote communities and can help ease the burden on already stretched services.
“It is pleasing to see so many health students from a range of disciplines step up and get vaccinated and join the fight against COVID-19 in rural and remote communities. Around the country student nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, physiotherapists and occupational therapists have been recruited by state health services to support the vaccine roll-out.
You can read the ARHEN media release 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.
Now Open: the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme
The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is delighted to announce that applications for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme (PHMSS) are now open!
Thanks to the Australian Government Department of Health, the PHMSS provides financial assistance to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who are studying or intending to study an entry-level health course in 2022, in one of the following disciplines:
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander primary health care
- Nursing (RN and EN)
- Dentistry/oral health (excluding dental assistants)
- Allied health (all specialties except pharmacy)
- Mental health studies NEW
Additional places for mental health related studies have been made available for this year’s intake! You can view the full list of eligible courses and course areas on our website.
This is an exciting opportunity for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students to receive support to pursue their passion in health care!
Applications close at 11:59pm AEDT on Monday 11 October 2021.
If you have any questions or need assistance with your application, feel free to get in touch with us at 1800 688 628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference
Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference 2021
Wednesday 13th October 2021
The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health
The aim for the conference is to facilitate the exchange of information on key issues in Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and wellbeing through the delivery of high impact keynote addresses by national leaders from within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
The conference also provides a forum for the presentation of cutting-edge program initiatives and research findings in Aboriginal health and wellbeing by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners and their colleagues. The title of the conference ‘Ngar-wu Wanyarra’ translates to ‘listen and act’ in the language of the Yorta Yorta.
You can now download the program and conference booklet.
For up to date information on the conference please visit the website.
If you have any enquiries contact email@example.com or call (03) 5823 4512.