NACCHO and @RACGP a very productive partnership in Aboriginal health #NACCHOagm2018 Report 3 of 5 @RACGP supports the #National Guide #Ulurustatement #FirstNationsVoice and takes aim at racism in healthcare

NACCHO’s [National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation] conference was a great opportunity to engage directly with members and workforce in the Aboriginal community controlled health sector, and to share the important work the RACGP is doing to support the growth of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander general practice workforce,’

Associate Professor Peter O’Mara see Part 1 Below

The RACGP strongly supports the recommendations in the Uluru statement as a way to make real progress to close the gap in health inequality,

‘The Uluru Statement encourages a stronger voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, who are the best placed to make decisions about what is important to them and how to make the changes needed to make a difference.’

The RACGP is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is one of our greatest priorities,

President Dr Harry Nespolon see Part 2 Below

Racism is a major barrier for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in accessing quality and appropriate healthcare.

The reality for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is that they are sometimes treated differently in healthcare settings, and as a result, their health outcomes are poorer than for other Australians.’

That is why our revised position statement considers the effects of racism on both patients and workforce, as well as the effects of systemic racism through our institutions.’

Chair of the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara said that racism was a major contributor to poor social and emotional wellbeing . See part 3 below

Part 1 RACGP at #NACCHOagm2018

The 2018 NACCHO member’s conference ran from 31 October – 2 November. Its theme for this year is ‘Investing in what works – Aboriginal community controlled health’. Keynote speakers included Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, NACCHO Chairman John Singer and Co-Director of the University of British Columbia’s Northern Medical Program, Professor Nadine Caron.

GP news report from  Amanda Lyons

Associate Professor O’Mara discussed how the RACGP is helping to meet a key goal – to increase the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce in the health sector – that is enshrined in the partnership agreement between the Federal Government, the Council of Medical Colleges of Australia (CPMC), the Aboriginal Indigenous Doctor’s Association (AIDA) and NACCHO, to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

‘The RACGP has focused both on strengthening opportunities for GPs to work sustainably in the sector, and to provide support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to successfully navigate education and training pathways to becoming a GP,’ Associate Professor O’Mara said.

Key RACGP initiatives include annual awards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, early career doctors and organisations working in the community sector, and advocacy work for improvements in key programs such as the Australian General Practice Training Salary Support Programme, which provides ACCHOs with financial support for general practice registrars.

Associate Professor O’Mara’s participation in the conference also underlines the strong relationship between NACCHO and the RACGP, formalised in a 2014 Memorandum of Understanding. This relationship has resulted in much fruitful work and the development of key resources in the field of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

‘The RACGP has enjoyed a productive partnership with NACCHO over many years, which has resulted in important collaborations, such as the National Guide [to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people], and our current joint project to improve the quality of healthcare delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,’ Associate Professor O’Mara said.

NACCHO CEO, Pat Turner, Former NACCHO Chair, John Singer, and Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara at the launch of the National Guide earlier this year

Part 2 The RACGP supports developing the Uluru model so that it can be put to the broader community for agreement. 

The ‘Uluru statement from the heart’ calls for an independent voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making and truth-telling with governments.

The statement is supported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia, and has been endorsed by the RACGP.

GP NEWS Report from  Amanda Lyons 

‘The RACGP is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is one of our greatest priorities,’ President Dr Harry Nespolon told newsGP.

‘Constitutional change of this kind must be considered a national priority to be successful.

‘The RACGP supports developing the Uluru model so that it can be put to the broader community for agreement. We encourage our members to support this process.’

The RACGP previously endorsed the Uluru statement as part of its submission to the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2018 (the Committee), which was formed with the purpose of investigating the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the Australian constitution.

The Committee is due to present its final report by the end of this month.

‘The RACGP strongly supports the recommendations in the Uluru statement as a way to make real progress to close the gap in health inequality,’ Dr Nespolon said.

‘The Uluru Statement encourages a stronger voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, who are the best placed to make decisions about what is important to them and how to make the changes needed to make a difference.’

The RACGP endorsed the ‘Uluru statement from the heart’ during NAIDOC week. 

According to Dr Anita Watts, an Aboriginal GP, academic and member of the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health board, the Uluru statement and constitutional recognition are vital to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

‘Without recognition, there cannot be self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,’ Dr Watts told newsGP earlier this year.

‘Health outcomes are inextricably linked to self-determination. There is overwhelming evidence to support improvement in health outcomes when Indigenous peoples take greater control over their health.’

PART 3 RACGP takes aim at racism in healthcare

Read previous NACCHO article HERE

And racism is a trigger for many health risk factors such as substance abuse, distress and mental health conditions and harm to physiological systems.

These are some of the reasons why the RACGP has updated its zero-tolerance position on racism in healthcare to focus more broadly on the effects of institutional racism.

GP News Report from  Doug Hendrie

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said the revised position statement sent a clear message.

‘The RACGP wants to send the message that racism is unacceptable and harmful, not only for our patients, but also to the doctors, doctors in-training and staff members in our practices and health services,’ he said.

The RACGP’s updated position statement focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but the statement has wider applicability across Australia’s diverse patients and healthcare professionals.

‘Challenging institutional racism requires a systemic response … Action on institutional racism requires adapting approaches, attitudes and behaviours through up-skilling staff, reviewing policies, procedures and systems,’ the statement reads.

‘The RACGP strongly supports calls from the Close the Gap Steering Committee for a national inquiry into institutional racism.’

Racism also hurts Australia’s diverse health professional workforce.

‘Acts of racism and discrimination negatively impact the development of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical workforce. Results from [the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association] 2016 member survey found that more than 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical student, doctor and specialist members had experienced racism and/or bullying every day, or at least once a week,’ the statement reads.

‘The beyondblue National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students similarly found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors reported racism as major source of stress, at nearly 10 times the rate of non-Indigenous counterparts.

The RACGP’s position is:

• a zero tolerance approach to racism
• that every practice provide respectful and culturally appropriate care to all patients
• GPs, registrars, health professionals, practice staff and medical students are supported to address any experience of racism
• that members are aware of, and advocate for patients who are affected by institutional racism

Chair of the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara said that racism was a major contributor to poor social and emotional wellbeing.

‘Racism is a major barrier for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in accessing quality and appropriate healthcare,’ Associate Professor O’Mara said.

‘The reality for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is that they are sometimes treated differently in healthcare settings, and as a result, their health outcomes are poorer than for other Australians.’

‘That is why our revised position statement considers the effects of racism on both patients and workforce, as well as the effects of systemic racism through our institutions.’

Associate Professor O’Mara said GPs were well placed to show leadership in addressing racism, discrimination and bias.

‘In challenging racism, practice teams will be able to provide more culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and improve care for all patients,’ he said.

The RACGP is a supporter of the Australian Government’s Racism. It Stops With Me campaign, which encourages people to respond to prejudice and discrimination in their neighbourhoods, schools, universities, clubs, and workplaces.

The RACGP will next year roll out its Practice Experience Program, designed to boost support to often-isolated non-vocationally registered doctors, many of whom are international medical graduates, as they work towards Fellowship.

NACCHO and @RACGP Aboriginal Health Alerts : 1. Download #HealthoftheNation Report 2. National Guide and podcasts 3. #GP18 Workshop Gold Coast 10 October 

 

This report takes the pulse of the general practice profession, and in turn the front line of healthcare for all Australians,

GPs are the cornerstone of healthcare delivery within Australia. Every year, general practice touches the lives of every person, family and community in Australia, with the majority of us seeing our GP several times a year.”

President-elect of the RACGP, Dr Harry Nespolon, has launched General Practice: Health of the Nation to Australia’s key parliamentarians and decision makers at a parliamentary breakfast last week

Download RACGP Health-of-the-Nation-2018-Report

 ” The National Guide is a practical resource intended for all health professionals delivering primary healthcare to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

Its purpose is to provide GPs and other health professionals with an accessible, user-friendly guide to best practice preventive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

The reviewing and updating of the second (2012) edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (National Guide) was a joint initiative of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

The National Guide supports healthcare providers to use the opportunity with every clinic visit to prevent disease, and to find it early.”

See section 2 Below 

Part 1 :For the second year, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has  : compiled its annual health check-up on general practice, showing the areas where Australia’s primary healthcare system continues to thrive, whilst also highlighting areas of concern.

VIEW Health of a Nation Video 

The report highlights the reasons why patients see their GP and how patients interact with the primary health system. It also flags areas of major concern which need to be addressed to help ensure that Australians maintain healthy lives and stay out of hospital.

“Patients have shown strong connections to general practice, nearly 80% of patients can identify their own GP and can see them when needed.

“But the report also highlights areas which require urgent attention so that general practice does not get left behind, and patients are not short changed.

Key highlights of the report reveal that;

  • managing psychological issues and obesity continue to be the most significant concern to GPs,
  • GPs are calling for urgent government action on Medicare, including better supports for mental health services and obesity prevention,
  • nearly 90% of Australians see a GP every year, the majority more than once a year,
  • 45% of practicing GPs are female, with the percentage growing, and
  • despite general practice being the most widely accessed healthcare service, it receives less than 9% of overall government healthcare funding.

“If there is not a substantial and coordinated push to address these persisting health issues, – I am fearful of what the future may hold for Australia’s healthcare system..

“I hope that parliamentarians from all sides take note of the health of the nation today and remember that evidence based preventive care is always the best option for all Australians.”

Part 2. NACCHO and RACGP National Guide and Podcasts

This edition:

  • equips primary healthcare providers and their teams with a comprehensive and concise set of recommendations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, with additional information about tailoring advice depending on risk and need
  • advises on activities that can help prevent disease, detect early and unrecognised disease, and promote health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, while allowing for local and regional variations.
  • encourages clinicians to consider the social determinants of health when providing preventive healthcare
  • Includes the following new topics and features:
    • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
    • Preventing child maltreatment – supporting families to optimise child safety and wellbeing
    • Family abuse and violence
    • Prevention of lung cancer
    • Young person lifecycle summary wall chart

The following items are available to download:

  • the National Guide, which contains evidence statements, recommendations, risk calculation tables and an outline of what is new in the third edition
  • the evidence base: the collection of evidence underpinning the guide and recommendations (see the Methodology section ‘Searching the evidence base and drafting recommendations’)
  • child, young people and adult lifecycle summary wall charts listing activities recommended at each age group

The National Guide can be used in conjunction with the RACGP Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice ‘red book’ and with the Medicare Benefits Schedule rebate item 715: Health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

New to the third edition!  National Guide podcasts

Subscribe to the National Guide Podcast to hear host Lauren Trask, NACCHO Implementation Officer and CQI expert, speak to general practitioners and researchers on updates and changes in the third edition of the National Guide. Listeners will hear about the latest evidence on a range of topics from authors of the National Guide – grassroots general practitioners and researchers with experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Download the Guideline and supporting documentation

1 – Episode 13: Cultural safety for patients and workforce, part one

2 – Episode 12: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) with Dr James Fitzpatrick

3 – Episode 11: Cardiovascular Disease prevention with Professor David Peiris

4 – Episode ten: The Health of Young People with Dr Annapurna Nori

5 – Episode nine: Optimising child health and well being with Dr Mary Belfrage

6 – Episode eight: Gambling with Dr Jenny Hunt

7 – Episode seven: Antenatal care with Dr Jenny Hunt

8 – Episode six: Child health with Dr Marguerite Tracy

9 – Episode five: Oral and dental health with Dr Sandra Meihubers.

10 – Episode four: Type 2 diabetes with Dr Justin Coleman

11 – Episode three: Hearing Loss with Professor Amanda Leach

12 – Episode two: Mental Health with Dr Tim Senior

13 – Episode one: Smoking & Smoking Cessation with Professor David Thomas

14 – Teaser: The National Guide Podcast. What’s it all about?

Part 3 :  National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Third edition) Workshop 10 October 

The RACGP and NACCHO invite you to a workshop to be held prior to GP18, that
will support your practice team to maximise the opportunity for the prevention of
disease at each health service visit.

A National Guide contributor and a cultural educator will discuss how best to utilise
the third edition of the National Guide when providing care for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people.

The workshop will also include a focus group exploring implementation of the
National Guide in both mainstream and Aboriginal Community Controlled Primary
Health Care Services (ACCHSs), as well as the characteristics of a culturally
responsive general practice.

Program

• Background and purpose of the National Guide
• Features of the National Guide, including:
• Recommendation tables
• Good practice points
• Evidence base
• Lifecycle wall chart
• Putting the National Guide

Date
Wednesday 10 October 2018

Time
Registration and lunch 12.00 pm
Workshop 12.30–4.00 pm

Venue
Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre
1711 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Cost
Free of charge

RSVP
Friday 5 October 2018

Registration essential

Registration
Email daniela.doblanovic@racgp.org.au
or call Daniela Doblanovic on 03 8699 0528.

We will then contact you to confirm

NACCHO Aboriginal Health joins other health peak bodies @AMAPresident @RACGP @RuralDoctorsAus @NRHAlliance welcoming the reappointment of the health ministry team but #ruralhealth no longer a distinct portfolio

 ” The Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) John Singer today joined other peak health bodies welcoming the election of Scott Morrison MP as the 30th Prime Minister of Australia and reappointments of Greg Hunt MP as the Federal Minister for Health, Ken Wyatt AM MP as the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, and Senator Bridget McKenzie as the Federal Minister for Regional Services. “

See Part 1 NACCHO Media 

“With an election due in the first half of 2019, new Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made the right call in leaving Health in the safe hands of Greg Hunt.

A fourth Health Minister in five years would have undermined the priority that Australians place on good health policy,”

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone see in full part 2 Below

‘Health is an integral part of any Governments agenda and I look forward to working with Minister Hunt on the future direction of healthcare in Australia,’ 

Minister Hunt has worked closely with the RACGP over the past two years, achieving positive results, including investment into general practice research, the removal of the Medicare freeze and the return of general practice training to the RACGP.’

Dr Nespolon told newsGP see in full Part 3 Below

It was only on Friday last week that rural health sector stakeholders met in Canberra, for a meeting convened by the (former) Minister for Rural Health, to discuss the issues and solutions for achieving better health outcomes for rural Australia’, 

The key message of the Roundtable meeting was very clear. The health and wellbeing issues faced by rural and remote Australia cannot be addressed using market-driven solutions that work in the cities.’

We need a genuine, high level commitment from the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to deliver a new National Rural Health Strategy that will address the unacceptable gap in health outcomes for rural Australians. This is not the time to be relegating Rural Health to the back burner’.

National Rural Health Alliance Chair, Tanya Lehmann see in full Part 4 below

With Minister McKenzie receiving an expanded set of other portfolio responsibilities, we are worried that the significant level of focus she has given to Rural Health to-date will, due to her increased workload in other

There has never been a more important time for Rural Health to retain a distinct portfolio.

As a sector, Rural Health continues to face significant challenges, but also significant opportunities.

Rural Australians continue to have poorer health outcomes than their city counterparts, and poorer access to healthcare services.

There continues to be an urgent need to deliver more doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to rural and remote communities, with the advanced training required to meet the healthcare needs of those communities.”

Rural Doctors President, Dr Adam Coltzau see Part 5 below in full 

Part 1 NACCHO

I was very pleased to hear Mr Morrison’s at his first media conference after winning the leadership say that chronic disease was one of his top three priorities as he  ” was distressed by the challenge of chronic illness in this country, and those who suffer from it ” Mr Singer said from Hobart where he was hosting Ochre Day a National Aboriginal Men’s Health Conference opened by the Minister Ken Wyatt

“ Chronic disease is responsible for a major part of the life expectancy gap and  accounts for some two thirds of the premature deaths among our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

A large part of the burden of disease is due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and chronic kidney disease. With the Prime Ministers increased support our 302 ACCHO clinics can be reduce by earlier identification, and management of risk factors and the disease itself.

Recently I attended the Council of Australian Governments Health Council meeting in Alice Springs, when it made two critical decisions to advance First Nations health. Firstly, it has made Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health a national priority, including by inviting the Indigenous Health Minister to all future meetings.

The Council also resolved to create a national Indigenous Health and Medical Workforce Plan, to focus on significantly increasing the number of First Nations doctors, nurses and health professionals.

However, NACCHO would also share our disappointment with Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) that Rural Health, while still being an area of responsibility for Minister McKenzie, will no longer have its own distinct portfolio under the revamped Coalition Government . ”

Minister Ken Wyatt Statement

I am honoured to be appointed as the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health in the Morrison Government. My focus will be building on the strong foundations we have in place through the 2018–19 Budget to deliver better outcomes for senior Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

We are investing an additional $5 billion in aged care over the next five years — a record amount — and our investments in the health of First Australians will be more targeted and based on what we know works. Our senior Australians are among our country’s greatest treasures.

They have earned the right to be cared for with dignity through our aged care system and this is something the Morrison Government is absolutely committed to delivering.

The aged care reform agenda we are implementing has already delivered senior Australians greater choice in the care they receive, and greater scrutiny of the sector — something that will be reinforced by the new independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission that will open its doors on 1 January 2019.

My administrative responsibilities will not change in the Morrison Government. However, the change to the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care reflects my focus on taking a broader, whole-of-government approach to advancing the interests of senior Australians.

Part 2 AMA 

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today that the AMA is pleased that Greg Hunt has been re-appointed Minister for Health.

Dr Bartone said that the health portfolio is broad and complex, and it takes time for Ministers to get fully across all the issues and get acquainted with all the stakeholders.

“Greg Hunt has been a very consultative Minister who has displayed great knowledge and understanding of health policy and the core elements of the health system,” Dr Bartone said.

“In his time as Minister, he has presided over the gradual lifting of the Medicare freeze and the major reviews of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the private health insurance (PHI).

“And he has acknowledged that major reform and investment is needed in general practice.

“These are all complex matters that would have been challenging for a new Minister.

“It takes months for new Ministers to gain command of the depth and breadth of the Health portfolio.

“With an election due in the first half of 2019, new Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made the right call in leaving Health in the safe hands of Greg Hunt.

“A fourth Health Minister in five years would have undermined the priority that Australians place on good health policy,” Dr Bartone said.

Dr Bartone said that the AMA looked forward to continuing its strong working relationship with the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, who is also Minister for Indigenous Health.

The AMA has been advised that Senator Bridget McKenzie will retain Rural Health as part of her Regional Services, Sport, Local Government, and Decentralisation portfolio.

Part 3 RACGP 

Dr Nespolon believes Minster Hunt understands the fundamental role primary care plays in the wellbeing of all Australians and will continue to make general practice a focal point of Government health policies.

‘Health is an integral part of any Governments agenda and I look forward to working with Minister Hunt on the future direction of healthcare in Australia,’ Dr Nespolon told newsGP.

‘Minister Hunt has worked closely with the RACGP over the past two years, achieving positive results, including investment into general practice research, the removal of the Medicare freeze and the return of general practice training to the RACGP.’

Dr Nespolon said he is particularly keen to discuss matters that lie at the heart of general practice.

‘The RACGP will continue to work with Minister Hunt on our core patient priority areas, including preventive health and chronic disease management,’ Dr Nespolon said.

Minister Hunt was re-appointed to his position on the frontbench following a cabinet reshuffle that took place in the wake of last week’s Liberal Party leadership challenge. Ken Wyatt was also re-appointed as the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health and for Aged Care.

Part 3 National Rural Health Alliance 

The Ministerial line-up announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a glaring omission.

At a time when great swathes of rural and remote Australia are experiencing the impact of devastating drought conditions, including significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of our communities, the key portfolio of Rural Health is nowhere in sight.

The new Morrison Ministry does not include a Minister for Rural Health. That key responsibility was on Friday held by the Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Senator Bridget McKenzie. By Sunday it was gone.

‘It was only on Friday last week that rural health sector stakeholders met in Canberra, for a meeting convened by the (former) Minister for Rural Health, to discuss the issues and solutions for achieving better health outcomes for rural Australia’, National Rural Health Alliance Chair, Tanya Lehmann said.

‘The key message of the Roundtable meeting was very clear. The health and wellbeing issues faced by rural and remote Australia cannot be addressed using market-driven solutions that work in the cities.’

‘We need a genuine, high level commitment from the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to deliver a new National Rural Health Strategy that will address the unacceptable gap in health outcomes for rural Australians. This is not the time to be relegating Rural Health to the back burner’.

‘We call upon the Morrison Government to demonstrate it is fair dinkum about improving the health and wellbeing of rural Australians by reinstating Rural Health as a Ministerial portfolio and committing to the development of a National Rural Health Strategy’, Ms Lehmann said.

The Alliance welcomes the re-appointment of the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Federal Minister for Health and the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, and acknowledges their continuing contribution to addressing the health and aged care needs of all Australians. We also welcome Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie’s contribution to regional services, sport, Local Government and decentralisation, however we remain concerned that rural health, as a separate Ministerial portfolio has been overlooked.

‘While we understand Minister McKenzie will continue to be responsible for Rural Health — and we very much look forward to continuing to work with her — we are concerned that this critical area will no longer have its own dedicated portfolio’, Ms Lehmann said.

Background:

The National Rural Health Alliance is the peak body for rural, regional and remote health. The Alliance has 35-member organisations representing the peak health professional disciplines (eg doctors, nurses and midwives, allied health professionals, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, paramedics, health students, chiropractors and health service managers), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health peak organisations, hospital sector peak organisations, national rurally focused health service providers, consumers and carers.

Some of the worst health outcomes are experienced by those living in very remote areas. Those people are:

  • 1.4 times more likely to die than those in major cities
  • More likely to be a daily smoker, obese and drink at risky levels
  • Up to four times as likely to be hospitalised

Part 5 Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) 

Ministerial reappointments welcomed, loss of Rural Health portfolio not

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the reappointment of Greg Hunt MP as the Federal Minister for Health, Ken Wyatt AM MP as the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, and Senator Bridget McKenzie as the Federal Minister for Regional Services.

However, the Association is disappointed that Rural Health, while still being an area of responsibility for Minister McKenzie, will no longer have its own distinct portfolio under the revamped Coalition Government.

“We strongly welcome the continuation of the federal health leadership team under the new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison” RDAA President, Dr Adam Coltzau, said.

“The Coalition has been making significant progress on important health policy issues, and looking forward there remain big reform agendas to be delivered in the health policy space, so it makes sense to have continued stable leadership here

“While we understand Minister McKenzie will continue to be responsible for Rural Health — and we very much look forward to continuing to work with her — we are concerned that this critical area will no longer have its own dedicated portfolio.

“With Minister McKenzie receiving an expanded set of other portfolio responsibilities, we are worried that the significant level of focus she has given to Rural Health to-date will, due to her increased workload in other

“There has never been a more important time for Rural Health to retain a distinct portfolio.

“As a sector, Rural Health continues to face significant challenges, but also significant opportunities.

“Rural Australians continue to have poorer health outcomes than their city counterparts, and poorer access to healthcare services.

“There continues to be an urgent need to deliver more doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to rural and remote communities, with the advanced training required to meet the healthcare needs of those communities.

“Retaining Rural Health as a distinct portfolio would assist in progressing solutions in this area.

“For example, the development of a National Rural Generalist Pathway — to deliver more of the next generation of doctors to the bush with the advanced skills needed in rural settings — would benefit greatly from continuing to receive the strong political focus of a dedicated Rural Health portfolio.

“There also continues to be an urgent need to make the most of new technologies like telehealth, to broaden access to healthcare for rural and remote Australians, in particular with their own GP.

“We strongly urge Prime Minister Morrison to consider retaining Rural Health as a dedicated portfolio under Minister McKenzie’s stewardship, to ensure the focus can remain firmly on delivering the best healthcare outcomes for rural and remote Australians.

NACCHO and @RACGP National Guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people : 2 new podcasts released #MentalHealth Dr #TimSenior and #Smoking Professor David Thomas @MenziesResearch Plus Interview Dr @normanswan

 ” There’s quite a lot that is in new in this third edition. We surveyed general practitioners across Australia and got a fantastic response rate. And so we came up with new topics that were about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, preventing child maltreatment, family abuse and violence, lung cancer, as well as some more emphasis on the health of young people.

But of course the existing topics which comprise the vast bulk of primary healthcare and preventive interventions like screening for alcohol, early detection of diabetes, promoting stop smoking, the benefits of immunisation, child health, like picking up anaemia early in children who are at risk, these things were revised to reflect changes in research literature.”

Dr Sophie Couzos is one of the editors of the guide. Sophie is an Associate Professor in General Practice and Rural Medicine at James Cook University in Queensland, and the project lead on the new national guide

 ” Many of the problems that confront Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are social, they are about identity, they are about self-determination, they are about poverty and disadvantage, they are about access to education.

You might not blame a GP for thinking, well, what am I going to do about all those, because those are the upstream causes of the problems that Aboriginal people can confront, not all, but can confront.

But you are arguing presumably that there are just simple things that GPs could do that would make a difference without having to change the world.”

Norman Swan Radio full Radio National Interview with Dr Sophie Couzos See Part 2 below

2 National Guide podcasts have been released this month:

bit.ly/2DZ5pzm

A/Prof Peter O’Mara, NACCHO Chair John Singer Minister Ken Wyatt & RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel launch the National guide at Parliament house 28 March

A new guide for Aboriginal preventive health was recently  released by the RACGP and NACCHO . It’s aimed at stopping conditions from developing before they occur, and also secondary prevention, which is existing conditions, from getting worse, and that’s through screening, testing and the like.

And that is made easier when a general practitioner is clued in about what conditions the people they are treating are more likely to develop.

That’s especially important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are at increased risk of a variety of medical problems, not least being type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

That is what has prompted the development of this preventative health guide for GPs and Aboriginal healthcare services. The guide outlines health checks doctors can do, questions to ask that are aimed at picking up some of these preventable conditions.

Download the Guideline and supporting documentation

Part 2 Sophie Couzos: It’s a pleasure to be here, thanks Norman.

Norman Swan: What is the significance of this guide? You’d think that doctors should know what to do about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in terms of what to check and so on. Why do you need a guide like this?

Sophie Couzos: There’s a lot of evidence to show that doctors and healthcare providers could do a lot better in offering preventive health assessments or health checks to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

One of the reasons is that healthcare providers just don’t know what they should offer, how they should have a conversation, what they should talk about, what are the priority issues.

There’s a lot of variability and there’s a lot of clinical practice uncertainty as well. So when we developed the national guide way back in 2000, the late, great Dr Puggy Hunter and myself got together and thought, well, let’s provide some evidence-based guidelines to help healthcare providers offer the right sort of assessment for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.

Norman Swan: This is presumably not just for doctors and Aboriginal health workers in Aboriginal medical services, very specific community controlled organisations of which I think there are 300 outlets around Australia. Presumably a significant percentage of Aboriginal people go to regular general practitioners, so it’s for regular GPs too who’ve got Aboriginal patients.

Sophie Couzos: Absolutely. I call them mainstream general practices and they have an important role to play.

Norman Swan: There is a totally unacceptable gap, depending how you measure it, of between 11 and 17 years, that’s the life expectancy gap, but there’s all sorts of other gaps as well in terms of heart disease, kidney disease, child development and so on, and you take that comprehensive lifespan approach in this preventative guide.

Sophie Couzos: Prevention really starts from the antenatal period, and there’s preventive interventions at every point, and there’s a tremendous opportunity when a patient presents to a healthcare service provider to use that time to consider how disease can be prevented and what sort of risk factors can be identified in order to pick up conditions that may be asymptomatic, and that means that a person might have a disease and not know it, and so a preventive health check is there to pick that up. Or to have a discussion about preventing disease completely. A great example for that intervention is immunisation.

Norman Swan: Many of the problems that confront Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are social, they are about identity, they are about self-determination, they are about poverty and disadvantage, they are about access to education.

You might not blame a GP for thinking, well, what am I going to do about all those, because those are the upstream causes of the problems that Aboriginal people can confront, not all, but can confront.

But you are arguing presumably that there are just simple things that GPs could do that would make a difference without having to change the world.

Sophie Couzos: Absolutely. I mean, problems like low birth weight can be prevented.

When you say that some aspects of Aboriginal health seem to be overwhelming for healthcare providers, well, simple things like a good antenatal care, good quality healthcare and preventive healthcare and patient-centred care can make a huge difference to health outcomes, and this is the purpose of the national guide, is to make the evidence for these sorts of interventions and choices that healthcare providers can make to improve quality care, to make it easy, make it accessible.

Norman Swan: So as you said at the beginning, it’s been going for a while. This is the third edition. What’s new in the third edition?

Sophie Couzos: There’s quite a lot that is in new in this third edition. We surveyed general practitioners across Australia and got a fantastic response rate. And so we came up with new topics that were about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, preventing child maltreatment, family abuse and violence, lung cancer, as well as some more emphasis on the health of young people.

But of course the existing topics which comprise the vast bulk of primary healthcare and preventive interventions like screening for alcohol, early detection of diabetes, promoting stop smoking, the benefits of immunisation, child health, like picking up anaemia early in children who are at risk, these things were revised to reflect changes in research literature.

You’d think that Australia really had this right, you’d think that our Australian healthcare system is already configured around patient-centred care, but it isn’t. So there’s a lot of work to be done in improving Aboriginal people’s access to preventive healthcare, primary healthcare.

Norman Swan: So when you talk about poor access, Sophie, what are you talking about?

Sophie Couzos: I’m talking about two pieces of information that is regularly released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare which shows that access to Medicare and access to the PBS, which is the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, is much less on a per capita basis for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples than it is for other Australians.

Norman Swan: So for the level of ill health, they are underutilising what’s available.

Sophie Couzos: Yes, that’s right…

Norman Swan: And I think we’ve covered this before some years ago with the late Gavin Mooney where in fact suburbs like Toorak, Armadale, Vaucluse, Nedlands, have much higher proportion to use of these Medicare and PBS items and paradoxically they are healthier, and if you look at postcodes for Aboriginal people they are at a very low level.

Sophie Couzos: That’s right, and here’s an easy example for you, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, for every dollar that a non-Indigenous Australian spends or is expended, only 63c is spent on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person. That is really astonishing, given the three times rate of morbidity and disease that exists in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

Norman Swan: So circling back to the guide, this identifies people who might need statins or anti high blood pressure tablets or other treatments, and increase the access to them.

Sophie Couzos: Absolutely, and having that continuity of care with your patient.

Norman Swan: Sophie, thanks for joining us.

Sophie Couzos: It’s a real pleasure, thanks Norman.

Norman Swan: Dr Sophie Couzos is project lead on the National Guide to Preventive Health Assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and a public health physician who works with the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council. The third edition of the national guide is being launched on Wednesday at Parliament House, and it will also be available on the website of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, NACCHO .

 

 

Minister @KenWyattMP launches NACCHO @RACGP National guide for healthcare professionals to improve health of #Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

 

All of our 6000 staff in 145 member services in 305 health settings across Australia will have access to this new and update edition of the National Guide. It’s a comprehensive edition for our clinicians and support staff that updates them all with current medical practice.

“NACCHO is committed to quality healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and will work with all levels of government to ensure accessibility for all.”

NACCHO Chair John Singer said the updated National Guide would help governments improve health policy and lead initiatives that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

You can Download the Guide via this LINK

A/Prof Peter O’Mara, NACCHO Chair John Singer Minister Ken Wyatt & RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel launch the National guide at Parliament house this morning

“Prevention is always better than cure. Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

Minister Ken Wyatt highlights what is new to the 3rd Edition of the National Guide-including FASD, lung cancer, young people lifecycle, family abuse & violence and supporting families to optimise child safety & wellbeing : Pic Lisa Whop SEE Full Press Release Part 2 Below

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have joined forces to produce a guide that aims to improve the level of healthcare currently being delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and close the gap.

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara said the third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (the National Guide) is an important resource for all health professionals to deliver best practice healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“The National Guide will support all healthcare providers, not just GPs, across Australia to improve prevention and early detection of disease and illness,” A/Prof O’Mara said.

“The prevention and early detection of disease and illness can improve people’s lives and increase their lifespans.

“The National Guide will support healthcare providers to feel more confident that they are looking for health issues in the right way.”

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the RACGP is committed to tackling the health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“The National Guide plays a vital role in closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health disparity,” Dr Seidel said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have equal access to quality healthcare across Australia and the National guide is an essential part of ensuring these services are provided.

“GPs and other healthcare providers who implement the recommendations within the National Guide will play an integral role in reducing health disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and ensuring culturally responsive and appropriate healthcare is always available.”

The updated third edition of the National Guide can be found on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website.

 

Free to download on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website:

http://www.racgp.org.au/national-guide/

and NACCHO

Part 2 Prevention and Early Diagnosis Focus for a Healthier Future

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, today launched the updated third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Prevention is always better than cure,” said Minister Wyatt. “Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

“The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.

“It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

The guide, which was first published in 2005, is a joint project between the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners RACGP).

“To give you some idea of the high regard in which it is held, the last edition was downloaded 645,000 times since its release in 2012,” said Minister Wyatt.

“The latest edition highlights the importance of individual, patient-centred care and has been developed to reflect local and regional needs.

“Integrating resources like the national guide across the whole health system plays a pivotal role in helping us meet our Closing the Gap targets.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to accelerating positive change and is investing in targeted activities that have delivered significant reductions in the burden of disease.

“Rates of heart disease, smoking and binge drinking are down. We are on track to achieve the child mortality target for 2018 and deaths associated with kidney and respiratory diseases have also reduced.”

The National Guide is funded under the Indigenous Australian’s Health Programme as part of a record $3.6 billion investment across four financial years.

The RACGP received $429,000 to review, update, publish and distribute the third edition, in hard copy and electronic formats.

The National Guide is available on the RACGP website or by contacting RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on 1800 000 251 or aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au.

 

 

 

Aboriginal #SexualHealth News : Minister @KenWyattMP to launch the third edition NACCHO and @RACGP National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’

 

” In the fifth part of a series focusing on the coming third edition of the ‘National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’, newsGP looks at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ sexual health and prevention from blood-borne viruses.”

The third edition of the National Guide will be launched next Wednesday 28 March by Minister Wyatt at Parliament House Canberra see content details Part 2 below

RACGP Website here

NACCHO Aboriginal Sexual Health 40 Previous articles

The NACCHO/RACGP National Guide is a resource created for primary healthcare practitioners to help them deliver best practice preventive healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people anywhere in Australia.

The National Guide is user-friendly with information that is accurate and relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. It is supported by evidence-based recommendations, good practice points, and child, youth and adult lifecycle wall charts with age-specific recommendations.

New topics 3 edition :

• Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

• Interventions to prevent child maltreatment – optimising child health and wellbeing

• Antenatal care section is now expanded

• Family abuse and violence

• Lung cancer

• Young people lifecycle summary wall chart to complement the existing child and adult charts.

Download

National-Guide-prerelease-info-Flyer-2017

Part 1 : Sexual health education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Edited by Morgan Liotta

The National Guide details several resources that aim to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through greater levels of sexual health education.

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) and blood-borne virus (BBV) rates within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations can often be difficult to identify and diagnose, due to certain cultural beliefs and a potential lack of access to appropriate healthcare in remote areas. But education and culturally appropriate primary healthcare play an essential role in helping to increase diagnosis these communities

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation’s (NACCHO) and the RACGP’s National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (National Guide) states that the prevalence and incidence of some STIs can also be challenging to estimate accurately due to under-identification of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status, but that rates are increasing.

The National Guide advocates for interventions by healthcare professionals to help decrease rates of STIs and BBVs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Routine screening, education on and accessibility of condoms, hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programs, and needle and syringe exchange programs, can all contribute to early diagnoses and prevention of STIs and BBVs, as well as appropriate management for those diagnosed with infection.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in prison populations and have high rates of receptive sharing of syringes, both risk factors for acquiring hepatitis C. As a consequence, the hepatitis C notification rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has increased by more than 20% between 2012–16, while remaining stable in non-Indigenous Australians. With new, effective treatments now available for hepatitis C, eliminating the stigma associated with the infection is a crucial strategy.

Recent research reveals that gonorrhoea notifications are seven times more common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous Australians. The chlamydia notification rate in major cities was found to be nearly three times as high among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous Australians, increasing to five times higher in remote areas.

In addition, rates of syphilis are again increasing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, after declining up to 2010.

Video added by NACCHO

The National Guide reports that rates of HIV were more than two times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples than for non-Indigenous Australians in 2015, and that infectious syphilis notifications have increased significantly due to a 2015 outbreak in Far North Queensland. Current syphilis infection in northern Australia is considered ‘out of control’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healthcare organisations.

One example of safe-sex education is the Condom tree program in Western Australia, which aims to reduce cost barriers and feelings of shame and embarrassment by providing free condoms in local communities.

The Department of Health recently released a series of videos voiced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help promote STI prevention in their communities. Initiatives such as these videos are designed to help reduce feelings of shame or stigma Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may have attached to STIs and/or BBVs.

A diverse range of support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and healthcare workers, including a comprehensive HIV resource, is available for communities throughout Australia.

The National Guide details more resources, with the aim of empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through greater levels of sexual health education and the provision of high-quality culturally appropriate primary care.

The National Guide covers further information on sexual health in the following chapters:

  • Sexual health and blood-borne viruses
  • Antenatal care
  • The health of young people
  • Alcohol
  • Family abuse and violence

The National Guide was conceived by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) in 2001, and is now in its third edition being developed in partnership by NACCHO and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

Part 2 What is the National Guide? Edition 3

Who is it for?

All health professionals delivering primary healthcare for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Why use it?

• To help prevent disease, detect early and unrecognised disease, promote health, and consider broader social interventions, while allowing for local and regional variations.

• For evidence-based recommendations and good practice points.

• For the child, young people and adult lifecycle wall charts with age-specific recommendations.

• For the resource lists.

When will it be published?

The third edition of the National Guide and following associated resources will be available in early 2018:

• National Guide website – improved design and usability

• National Guide recommendations – limited print run for ACCHSs

• National Guide evidence base – downloadable PDF.

What’s happening in 2018 to accompany the launch of the

National Guide?

• The third edition of the National Guide will be distributed to NACCHO Affiliates and health services.

• NACCHO and RACGP will be hosting workshops across Australia to support implementation of the National Guide.

What’s new in the third edition?

New topics:

• Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

• Interventions to prevent child maltreatment – optimising child health and wellbeing

• Antenatal care section is now expanded

• Family abuse and violence

• Lung cancer

• Young people lifecycle summary wall chart to complement the existing child and adult charts.

How to access the National Guide:

The third edition of the National Guide will be March 28

Free to download on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website:

http://www.racgp.org.au/national-guide/

and http://www.naccho.org.au

For further information, contact

RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on 1800 000 251 or aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au

NACCHO @RACGP Aboriginal Health and #Nutrition : The next RACGP NACCHO National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal people will examine the health effects of food insecurity.

 ” In the second of a series focusing on the coming third edition of the RACGP NACCHO National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, newsGP examines the health effects of food insecurity.

The National Guide suggests interventions to improve food security include school-based nutrition programs, structured workshops, cooking classes, demonstrations and community kitchens.

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the RACGP’s National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will cover further information on food insecurity in these chapters:

  • Overweight and obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Child health: Growth failure
  • Oral and dental health

To be launched at Parliament House Canberra 28 March by Minister Ken Wyatt

Ms Morgan Liotta Morgan is a newsGP staff writer

The next RACGP NACCHO National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal people will examines the health effects of food insecurity.

Food insecurity can be attributed to various physical and economic factors present in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including limited food supplies, and lack of affordability of quality produce and nutritional education.

Traditional bush foods are a source of nutrition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities; however, when they are not available communities can rely heavily on community store and take away food.

A recent study by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) reveals that a third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are not consuming adequate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, while rates of sugar consumption are high.

Sugar consumption was targeted in recent public health campaigns initiated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, such as Rethink sugary drink and Apunipima Cape York Health Council’s

Sugary drinks proper no good – Drink more water Youfla, both of which aimed to raise awareness about the detrimental health outcomes of over-consumption of sugar.

With access to supplies and lack of education part of the issue of food insecurity, financial burden is often also a significant factor for many residents of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities where, in comparison with urban centres, prices for fresh food can be up to 70% higher. Residents may have no choice but to opt for cheaper, less nutritious options.

Limited awareness of nutrition may also contribute to poorer health outcomes, with people’s diets influenced from an early age.

Together, all of these circumstances can result in various adverse health outcomes, including overweight and obesity, diabetes, failure to thrive in children, dental health and kidney disease.

Research from 2014–15 showed an association between dietary behaviour and other socioeconomic and health characteristics. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 and older who were employed were more likely than those who were unemployed to report adequate fruit intake (48% compared with 39%).

Evidence also suggests that people who experience poverty are more likely to maximise calories per dollar spent. Foods rich in fats, refined starches and sugars represent the lowest-cost options, with healthy options like lean meats, grains and fruits and vegetables more expensive.

Engaging and participating in traditional food management has been established as a contributing factor for improved social and emotional wellbeing. In addition to the benefits of consuming traditional foods, participating in the sharing of knowledge and traditional practices has been shown to have significant benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities in urban settings, as well as rural and remote areas.

The Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) National strategy for food security in remote Indigenous communities aims to promote strategic action for Aboriginal health workers and GPs working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to improve food security. The strategy states that this effort requires ‘a multi-faceted and coordinated approach from all levels of government, [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander] people and the non-government and private sectors to develop and implement effective and targeted actions.’

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, A picture of overweight and obesity in Australia, shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and low socioeconomic populations are more likely to be overweight. As a result, the burden of diet-related chronic disease is high among people in these communities. This outcome can be traced back to issues with food security.

The National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (National Guide) suggests that interventions to improve food security include school-based nutrition education programs, structured workshops, cooking classes, demonstrations and community kitchens (including peer-to-peer education). Evidence suggests these programs can improve participants’ food security through developing cooking, shopping and budgeting skills, and can also reduce social isolation.

Initiatives such as fruit and vegetable delivery programs (eg the Good Tucker All Round program at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation) and community-led programs that grow nutritious, sustainable produce for community members can also assist with improving food security.