NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Workforce : @uwanews Five Indigenous women doctors graduate from #WA Uni Dr Tamisha King, Dr Adriane Houghton, Dr Heather Kessaris, Dr Kelly Langford, and Dr Shauna Hill

Five Indigenous women were among 206 students to graduate as doctors at a ceremony held last week in The University of Western Australia’s Winthrop Hall.

Tamisha King, Adriane Houghton, Heather Kessaris and Kelly Langford were awarded a Doctor of Medicine and Shauna Hill was awarded a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

Dr King, a Karajarri woman from the Kimberley region, completed her Rural Clinical School placement in Kununurra as well as electives in Melbourne and internship preparation in Broome.

Before enrolling in the MD she completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Anatomy and Human Biology, and Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing, winning several academic awards. She was also an active member of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) and WA Medical Students’ Society (WAMSS) Indigenous Representative in 2016. Dr King will start work as an intern at Royal Perth Hospital next month.

Dr Houghton, a Ngarluma Yindjibarndi woman from Port Hedland, completed UWA’s Aboriginal Orientation Course in 2002 through the School of Indigenous Studies and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geography. After graduating she worked in labs and chemical analysis for Woodside in Karratha for six years before enrolling in the MD.

Dr Houghton completed her Rural Clinical School placement in Port Hedland and was Rural Health West’s first Aboriginal Ambassador. The single mother with two children aged six and 10 will take up an internship at Royal Perth Hospital next month.

Dr Kessaris, an Alawa and Marra woman from the Northern Territory, completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing and Population Health before enrolling in the MD. Also a member of AIDA, she represented UWA and AIDA at the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress (PRIDoC) in Hawaii this year and was also a WAMSS Indigenous Representative in 2016.

Originally from Cairns in Queensland, Dr Langford graduated with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Anatomy and Human Biology and Economics before enrolling in the MD. In 2017 she completed her Rural Clinical School placement in Broome. Dr Langford is a Badjala woman from Fraser Island and Darraba woman from Starcke, Cape York.

The same year she also received the 2017 national LIMElight Award for Excellence in Indigenous Health Education Student Leadership for her contribution to the understanding of Indigenous health education to her peers, promoting rural and remote health careers and advocating for improvements to the health of Indigenous people in rural and remote communities. Dr Langford will start her internship at Fiona Stanley Hospital next month.

Dr Hill, a Yamatji-Noongar woman who was born and raised in Perth, completed UWA’s Aboriginal Orientation Course in 2002 and went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Political science and International Relations. She took up a graduate position in Canberra before returning to Perth to work for an Aboriginal organisation and a research officer at UWA’s Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health.

Dr Hill then enrolled in the graduate entry Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, also representing UWA and AIDA at PRIDoC in Hawaii this year. The single mother of three children aged 13, 19 and 20 will take up an internship next month at Royal Perth Hospital.

NACCHO Announcement 2020

After 2,800 Aboriginal Health Alerts over 7 and half years from www.nacchocommunique.com NACCHO media will cease publishing from this site as from 31 December 2019 and resume mid January 2020 with posts from www.naccho.org.au

For historical and research purposes all posts 2012-2019 will remain on www.nacchocommunique.com

Your current email subscription will be automatically transferred to our new Aboriginal Health News Alerts Subscriber service that will offer you the options of Daily , Weekly or Monthly alerts

For further info contact Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media Media Editor

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and the @HealingOurWay #StolenGeneration : Fact sheets launched by Minister @KenWyattMP have been guided by survivors: they identified the key issues for them with #GPs, #dentists and #agedcare providers, what is helpful and what should be avoided.

“Many Stolen Generations survivors experienced childhood trauma as a result of their forced removal from family, community, culture and language, and sometimes also as a result of abuse and racism experienced after their removal.

Every day events can trigger the original trauma, particularly if a situation brings back the lack of control Stolen Generations survivors experienced when they were taken from their families.”

Interacting with aged care staff, GPs, dentists and other services is often difficult for Stolen Generations survivors said The Healing Foundation’s Chair Professor Steve Larkin

‘General practice is often the first and only point of contact with the healthcare system for many patients. The RACGP has a strong interest in ensuring that general practice services and healthcare in general are safe and responsive to people who experienced the devastating impacts of forced removal,’ he said.

‘This new resource provides essential context and useful tools to assist GPs to identify and understand the impacts of trauma for their patients.

These are principles of good clinical practice, which is beneficial for all patients.’

Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, said the factsheet is a vital resource for GPs.

Download 

Working-with-Stolen-Generations-GP-fact-sheet

Working-with-Stolen-Generations-GP-snapshot

General practitioners, dentists and the aged care sector will be better placed to support Stolen Generations survivors following the launch of new resources at Parliament House .

Download all new resources HERE 

The resources, launched by the Minister for Indigenous Australians The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, were developed by The Healing Foundation in collaboration with Stolen Generations survivors and peak bodies including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Australian Dental Association, Aged & Community Services Australia and the Aged Care Industry Association.

Stolen Generations survivor and member of The Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Group Geoff Cooper said he hoped the fact sheets would create greater awareness about the best ways to provide services to the Stolen Generations without triggering trauma.

“Little changes can make a big difference to how we feel when we walk in to a service. Things like not making us talk about bad stuff that’s happened to us if we don’t want to, and explaining what you’re going to do before you do it so we aren’t caught off guard.”

The resources are part of The Healing Foundation’s Action Plan for Healing project, funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in 2017 following the 20th anniversary of the 1997 Bringing them Home report, which highlighted the contemporary needs of the Stolen Generations and their descendants.

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare analysis conducted as part of the Action Plan for Healing project found there are over 17,000 Stolen Generations survivors in Australia today, and by 2023 will all be aged over 50 and eligible for aged care.

“The development of the fact sheets has been guided by Stolen Generations survivors: they identified the key issues encountered when dealing with GPs, dentists and aged care providers, what is helpful and what should be avoided,” Professor Larkin said.

“We’ve been delighted with the level of interest the resources are already receiving from the target sectors, and are excited to see the materials taken up at the practice and provider level nationally.”

Australian Dental Association CEO Damian Mitsch said the organisation was proud to have supported the creation of the dental resource.

“This resource will go a long way in providing education and helpful tips to guide dental practitioners in providing effective dental care to Stolen Generations survivors,” Mr Mitsch said.

Download 

Working-with-Stolen-Generations-Dental-fact-sheet

The CEO of Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), Patricia Sparrow, said the organisation and its members were pleased to have contributed to the aged care resource.

“We believe the work of The Healing Foundation in providing information about how aged care services acknowledge the needs, and care for Stolen Generations survivors is critical.

“Through these resources, providers of aged care are able to better understand some of the trauma and triggers as well as the diversity of needs for Stolen Generations survivors, which must be considered in delivering the best quality care for all people,” Ms Sparrow said.

Download

Working-with-Stolen-Generations-Aged-Care-fact-sheet

Resources will now be developed for hospitals, allied health professionals and disability services.

The fact sheets provide practical tips, tailored for each profession, on how staff and management can improve services to Stolen Generations survivors. The suite of fact sheets can be downloaded here.

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families.

NACCHO #HaveYourSayCTG about #closingthegap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth health : #NACCHOYouth19 Registrations Close Oct 20 @RACGP Doctor :Routine health assessments co-created with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may soon be adopted by general practice.

Part 1 : Research project ‘Developing, implementing, and testing a co-created health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in primary care’

Part 2 : Registrations close 20 October for the NACCHO Youth Conference Darwin 4 November 

Part 3 : If you cannot get to Darwin  you can still have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth

‘General practice needs to think more carefully about the issues facing young people as a distinct group. Better understanding has to start with asking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about important health priorities, and then listening carefully to the responses.

Once we have listened to community voices on health priorities and co-created the young person’s health assessment, we intend to conduct a pilot randomised trial of the new health assessment looking at outcomes including social and emotional wellbeing, detection of psychological distress and appropriate management and referrals.” 

Dr Geoffrey Spurling first had the idea for his research project ‘Developing, implementing, and testing a co-created health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in primary care’ during a moving experience not so long ago, when he attended the funeral of a young Aboriginal woman who had committed suicide. See Part 1

The project was originally published in the RACGP News GP

Read all NACCHO Youth Articles HERE 

Part 1 ‘Developing, implementing, and testing a co-created health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in primary care’. Continued from intro above

‘It was a profoundly sad experience,’ Dr Spurling told newsGP.

‘At the same time, community members were telling me that social and emotional wellbeing, especially for young people, was a health priority.

‘I wanted to do what I could with my medical and research skills to understand and help address the social and emotional wellbeing issues facing the community.’

It was here that his research project began to take shape.

Dr Spurling, a GP at Inala Indigenous Health Service and senior lecturer at the University of Queensland, was recently granted funds from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to develop his project, ‘Developing, implementing, and testing a co-created health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in primary care’.

Through collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, this research aims to develop and implement a health check especially tailored for young people in these communities.

Current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medicare health assessments involving adolescents are constructed for 5–14-year-olds and 15–54-year-olds. Dr Spurling believes more focus is needed on the health of young people within the second age group, and a specific health assessment should be implemented.

Following development of the tailored health assessments, Dr Spurling and his team intend to conduct a trial comparing the new health check with the current one available in clinical software, aiming to show better detection and management of social and emotional wellbeing concerns.

‘By creating a youth health assessment together with both young people and clinicians, I hope we can have more relevant conversations about health in general practice within both the specific context of the newly developed young person’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessment, and more broadly in general practice.’

The National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recommends the Social Emotional Wellbeing (SEW) and HEEADSSS screening tools as part of health assessments for young people.

Investigator Grants is the NHMRC’s largest funding scheme, with a 40% allocation from the Medical Research Endowment Account. The scheme’s objective is to support the research of outstanding investigators at all career stages, providing five-year funding security for high-performing researchers through its salary and research support packages. The 2019 Investigator Grants funding totals $365.8 million.

Part 2 NACCHO Youth Conference Darwin 4 November 

 ” Culturally-appropriate care and safety has a vast role to play in improving the health and wellbeing of our people.

In this respect, I want to make special mention of the proven record of the Aboriginal Community Health Organisations in increasing the health and wellbeing of First Peoples by delivering culturally competent care.

I’m pleased to be here at this conference, which aims to make a difference with a simple but sentinel theme of investing in what works, surely a guiding principle for all that we do

Providing strong pointers for this is a new youth report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Equipped with this information, we can connect the dots – what is working well and where we need to focus our energies, invest our expertise, so our young people can reap the benefits of better health and wellbeing “

Minister Ken Wyatt launching AIHW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Adolescent and Youth Health and Wellbeing 2018 report at NACCHO Conference 31 October attended by over 500 ACCHO delegates including 75 ACCHO Youth delegates Pictured above 

Read Download Report HERE

The central focus of the NACCHO Youth Conference Healthy youth, healthy future is on building resilience. For thousands of years our Ancestors have shown great resolve thriving on this vast continent.

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up 54% of our population, now look to the example set by generations past and present to navigate ever-changing and complex social and health issues.

Healthy youth, healthy future provides us with opportunities to explore and discuss issues of importance to us, our families and communities, and to take further steps toward becoming tomorrow’s leaders.

We hope to see you there!

Registrations CLOSE 20 October 

Registrations are now open for the 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference, which will be held November 4th in Darwin at the Darwin Convention Centre

REGISTER HERE

Part 3 Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth #HaveYourSay about #closingthegapCTG

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what works best for us.

We need to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth voices are reflected and expertise is recognised in every way at every step on efforts to close the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.’

‘The Coalition of Peaks is leading the face to face discussions, not governments.

The Peaks are asking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to tell us what should be included in a new Closing the Gap agreement and we will take this to the negotiating table.’

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #RHD : @RACGP NewGP : ” This should not be the norm for our people ” Dr Olivia O’Donoghue and Pat Turner CEO NACCHO : Ending rheumatic heart disease in Australia

Australia has some of the highest rates of RHD in the world, seen almost exclusively in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,’ Chief Executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Patricia Turner, told newsGP.

‘A lot of non-Indigenous Australians would have never heard of this disease, yet for our communities, it continues to pose a real and serious threat.

Chief Executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Patricia Turner, told newsGP.

Article by Amanda Lyons

Read NACCHO RHD articles HERE

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a serious illness, linked to disadvantage and largely preventable – and it’s rife in Australia.

RHD is a cardiac complication of acute rheumatic fever (ARF), an auto-immune illness that is itself caused by group A streptococcal infection (Strep A) which often manifests in sore throat or sores on the skin. It causes lasting damage to the heart, and has an enormous impact on the lives of those who contract it.

‘Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are living with generations of occurrences of ARF and RHD, and for some it feels inevitable that it will affect them and their children,’ Dr Olivia O’Donoghue, Lead Aboriginal Health Training Medical Educator and Northern Territory Representative on the RACGP’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Council, told newsGP.

Read ABC Story : Rheumatic heart disease: Arnhem Land family with three afflicted sons take fight to Canberra

‘RHD and its complications can adversely affect pregnancy outcomes, young people are having major cardiac surgery which should have been preventable, and parents have asked me when their youngest child will need their heart operation as they had recently been diagnosed with ARF.

‘This should not be the norm for our people and something needs to be done to rectify this situation.’

Once ARF has developed into RHD, it requires expensive and complex management involving the coordination of multiple services, including oral healthcare, interventional cardiology and primary care. Patients require regular cardiac monitoring and often surgery.

If ARF is diagnosed in time, RHD can be prevented by bicillin injections; however, this treatment regime is not easy.

‘Regular injections of Bicillin L-A for prophylaxis against RHD are given, three to four times weekly, for an average of 10-plus years, and they are painful,’ Dr O’Donoghue explained.

‘Trying to explain to young children why they need to come in every month for these injections is challenging and heartbreaking.’

Even better than bicillin injections is prevention of ARF in the first place, and work is currently underway by RHD-focused organisation END RHD to create a vaccine against Strep A.

Dr O’Donoghue sees this initiative, and its recent funding boost from the Federal Government, as a positive step, although she would also like to see research into ARF treatment options, as well.

‘The discovery and development of a vaccine against Strep A infection would significantly decrease the burden of disease of ARF and RHD on individuals, families, communities and the health system,’ she said.

‘An interim goal would be the development of an alternative to the three-to-four weekly Bicillin L-A injection which is less burdensome to individuals and those who are administering them.’

Above added by NACCHO : Telethon Kids : Written for kids, by kids from the remote Aboriginal community of Barunga, ‘Boom Boom’ aims to teach children how to prevent deadly rheumatic heart disease (RHD).

Ms Turner is also supportive of the END RHD vaccine work, but wants to see practical, hands-on solutions for those who are suffering in the present.

Pat-Turner-article.jpgCEO of NACCHO, Patricia Turner, believes it is imperative to act decisively on Australia’s high rates of ARF and RHD.

‘A Strep A vaccine would be a game-changer, but developing it will take years and people are dying now – we need to make sure that the really exciting investments in science are coupled with on-the-ground action,’ she said.

Because ARF and RHD have significant links to disadvantage, Dr O’Donoghue believes their elimination will require a focus on the social as well as medical determinants of health – and that this needs to go beyond simple informational campaigns.

‘The onus of prevention should not be put solely on the individual or the family,’ she said. ‘It is not acceptable to say we just need to educate parents and families about personal and household hygiene standards when the surrounding systems make it challenging to provide healthy food choices, clothing, uncrowded dwellings, and to send children to school.

‘There is only so much the health system can do in isolation of improvements in housing, infrastructure and education services, such as access to quality education and services in communities, like supermarkets with affordable fresh produce and cleaning supplies.’

Ms Turner agrees that addressing social determinants of health is critical to ending RHD, outlining some practical requirements she sees as vital in the fight against the disease.

‘We need investment in comprehensive, community-controlled primary care services, so people can get their sore throats and skin sores assessed and treated in order to stop them leading to RHD,’ she said.

‘Regular antibiotic injections reduce the risk of ARF by 80%, but if people can’t get to the clinic or aren’t well-cared for when they get there, we are missing that chance to stop its development.

‘We need to support our clinics to deliver these injections and provide ongoing care for people to live with this lifelong condition.’

Above all, Ms Turner warns that urgent action must be taken now, to guard against poor consequences for the future.

‘Rates of ARF are continuing to rise – by 2031, more than 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will develop ARF or RHD,’ she said.

‘Of these people, more than 500 will die, and their medical treatment will cost the health system over $300 million dollars.

‘It’s a no-brainer that we need investment to tackle this disease – no child born in Australia today should die of RHD.

NACCHO and @RACGP Aboriginal Women’s Health and #FamilyViolence : How to identify and provide early intervention for victims and perpetrators.

About four in 10 women who were physically injured [as a result of family violence] visited a health professional for their injuries
 
This information [from the report] offers important insights for those involved in family and domestic violence policy, as well as organisations which provide services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, aimed at preventing violence and supporting those affected by violence.’

ABS Director of the Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, Debbie Goodwin said.

 ” Chapter 16 of the RACGP NACCHO National Guide : ‘Family abuse and violence’, provides key recommendations on prevention interventions – screening, behavioural and environmental.

These recommendations aim to support healthcare professionals to develop a high level of awareness of the risks of family abuse and violence, and how to identify and provide early intervention for victims and perpetrators.”

National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (

Published by NewsGP Morgan Liotta

The report forms part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) publication National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014–15 and compares sociodemographic factors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who experienced family violence with those who did not in the year prior to the 2014–15 survey.

Key findings show that, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, around two in three women (72%) compared with one in three men (35%) were likely to identify an intimate partner or family member as at least one of the perpetrators in their most recent experience of physical violence.

Approximately one in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experienced family violence based on their most recent experience of physical violence.

Almost seven in 10 (68%) women who had experienced family violence reported that alcohol and/or other substances contributed to the incident:

  • More than half of women (53%) who had experienced family violence reported alcohol (by itself or with other substances) was a contributing factor
  • More than one in 10 (13%) reported that other substances alone were a contributing factor

When compared with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who had not experienced any physical violence, those who had were:

  • more likely to report high or very high levels of psychological distress (69% compared with 34%)
  • more likely to have a mental health condition (53% compared with 31%)
  • more likely to report they had experienced homelessness at some time in their life (55% compared with 26%)
  • less likely to trust police in their local area (44% compared with 62%)
  • just as likely to trust their own doctor (77% compared with 83%)

The report underlines the role of GPs’ support for such people.

GP resources

  • The RACGP and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)’s National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (National Guide), Chapter 16: ‘Family abuse and violence’, provides key recommendations on prevention interventions – screening, behavioural and environmental. These recommendations aim to support healthcare professionals to develop a high level of awareness of the risks of family abuse and violence, and how to identify and provide early intervention for victims and perpetrators.
  • The RACGP’s Abuse and violence: Working with our partners in general practice (White book), Chapter 11: ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander violence’, outlines statistics and recommendations for healthcare professionals to show leadership at a community level through local organisations by advocating for provision of services that meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing family violence.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RefreshtheCTGRefresh : Read and /Or Download #ClosingtheGap response Press Releases from Pat Turner NACCHO CEO @June_Oscar @congressmob @closethegapOZ @amapresident @RACGP @RecAustralia @Change_Record @Mayi_Kuwayu

Close the Gap Campaign

AMA

RACGP

Reconciliation Australia

Change the Record

AMSANT Darwin

Mayi Kuwayu /ANU

Greens

Introduction NACCHO Closing the Gap response CEO Pat Turner AM 

On the floor of Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister spoke of a change happening in our country: that there is a shared understanding that we have a shared future- Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, together. But our present is not shared. Our present, and indeed our past is marred in difference, in disparity. This striking disparity in quality of life outcomes is what began the historic journey of the Closing the Gap initiatives a decade ago.

But after ten years of good intentions the outcomes have been disappointing. The gaps have not been closing and so-called targets have not been met. The quality of life among our communities is simply not equal to that of our non-indigenous Australian counterparts.

Yes change must come from within our communities, but change must also come from the whole of Australia. We must change together.

The time has come for our voices to be heard and for us to lead the way on Closing the Gap. We are ready for action. ”

Pat Turner AM is the CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

But I’m ever hopeful that change is near. I was heartened by the statement made by the Prime Minister yesterday on the floor of Parliament. For the first time, I heard a genuine acknowledgement of why the Closing the Gap outcomes seem steeped in failure. I heard an acknowledgement that until Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are brought to the table as equal partners, the gap will not be closed and progress will not be made. This is a view that our community has expressed for many years – a view I am encouraged has finally been heard.

Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders have not been equal decision-makers in steering attempts to close the unacceptable gaps between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and the broader community. Our struggle as community-controlled organisations to even gain a voice at the table  – let alone for governments to actually listen to us – has long been at the crux of the disappointing progress.

Last year, an accord on the first stage of the Closing the Gap Refresh languished because discussions were not undertaken with genuine input from community members. We turned an important corner in December when an historic agreement was reached to include a coalition of peak bodies as equal partners in refreshing the Closing the Gap strategy.

We now need to ensure that the agreement blossoms into genuine action.

We simply cannot let this opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of our people slip by. Government cannot be allowed to drag the chain on this until it becomes another broken promise.

We are doing the heavy lifting and have drafted a formal partnership agreement for the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to consider. We are determined to do all that we can to fulfil COAG’s undertaking to agree formal partnership arrangements by the end of February.

The agreement sets out how we all work together and have shared and equal decision making on closing the gap. We are confident that a genuine partnership will help to accelerate positive outcomes to close the gaps.

The lack of progress under Closing the Gap is the lived reality of our people on the ground everyday. They are being robbed of living their full potential. Sadly, attending the funerals of people in our community – including increasingly young people taking their own lives – is all too common.

A coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies from across the nation has formed to be signatories to the partnership arrangements. We are now almost 40* service delivery, policy and advocacy organisations, with community-control at our heart. This is the first time our peak bodies have come together in this way.

Our coalition brings a critical mass of independent Indigenous organisations with deep connections to communities that will enhance the Closing the Gap efforts. We are a serious partner for government. We want to ensure our views are considered equal and that we make decisions jointly.

We cannot continue to approach Closing the Gap in the same old ways. The top-down approach has reaped disappointing results as evidenced by the lack of progress of previous strategies to reach their targets.

We must not lose sight of the most crucial point of Closing the Gap, which is to improve the everyday lives of our people. We must ensure our people are no longer burdened with higher rates of child mortality, poorer literacy, numeracy and employment outcomes and substantially lower life expectancies.

Yesterday on the floor of Parliament, the Prime Minister said that this will be a long journey of many steps. And I say, we have been walking for centuries. We have journeyed far and we will keep walking forward and climbing up until we reach a place where we are all on equal ground.

I also heard the Leader of the Opposition say that the burden of change needs to be carried by non-Indigenous Australians in acknowledging that racism still exists, that our justice system is deeply flawed and that generational trauma cannot be ignored.

Yes change must come from within our communities, but change must also come from the whole of Australia. We must change together.

The time has come for our voices to be heard and for us to lead the way on Closing the Gap. We are ready for action.

1 .Close the Gap Campaign

“We have had so many promises and so many disappointments. It’s well and truly time to match the rhetoric. We cannot continue to return to parliament every year and hear the appalling statistics,

 Last December, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), led by the Prime Minister, agreed to a formal partnership with peak Indigenous organisations on Closing the Gap.

We strongly support the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak bodies that has formed to be signatories to the partnership agreement with COAG, and for them to share as equal partners in the design, implementation and monitoring of Closing the Gap programs, policies and targets.

This partnership really does have the potential to be a game changer. It means active participation in decisions about matters that affect us. It will allow the voices of Indigenous Australians at community, local and national levels to be heard. “

The Co-Chairs of the Close the Gap Campaign, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO and the Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Rod Little, say that commitment must be followed by action.

It was imperative for Australian governments to have an agreement in place by the end of February with the coalition of more than 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and justice groups, so all stakeholders can get onto the “nitty gritty” of the Closing the Gap Refresh with new targets set to be finalised by mid year. ”

National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) Forum convenor Antoinette Braybrook 

Download CTG Press Release

1.Close the Gap response to CTG

2.AMA

“After more than a decade, the lack of resourcing and investment in the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continues to see unacceptable gaps across a range of outcomes.

The lack of sufficient funding to vital Indigenous services and programs is a key reason for this.”

The AMA supports the comments made by Ms Pat Turner, CEO of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) who said: ‘While our people still live very much in third-world conditions in a lot of areas still in Australia … we have to hold everybody to account’.

Closing the Gap targets are vital if we are to see demonstrable improvements in the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The call for a justice target and a target around the removal of Aboriginal children should be considered.

The AMA welcomes the decision of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to agree a formal partnership with us on Closing the Gap. This is an historic milestone in the relationship between Governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.” 

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone

Download the AMA Press Release

2 AMA Closing the Gap progress disappointing

See all NACCHO AMA posts

3.RACGP

‘This year’s Closing the Gap report reminds us that whilst we are making important progress, we are still not doing enough for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It’s critical we get this right. Our people deserve to live full and healthy lives, like every other Australian. We know the best way to achieve this is when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a say in the decisions that impact them.

Governments must acknowledge the critical role of primary healthcare and particularly the culturally responsive care offered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in Closing the Gap “

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, told newsGP he welcomes the Prime Minister’s commitment to establishing a formal partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the Closing the Gap Strategy.

Read full Press Release HERE

Read NACCHO RACGP articles HERE

4.Reconciliation Australia

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and peak bodies have been demanding a greater say in the policy priorities, and design and implementation of programs around the CTG since its inception over a decade ago. Today’s commitment by the Prime Minister, supported by the Opposition Leader, is welcome albeit overdue, and builds on the COAG commitment in December.

It is simple common sense that people, who live each day with the problems CTG is trying to address, will have the greatest knowledge and understanding of the causes and solutions to these problems “

Karen Mundine, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, said her organisation was disappointed by the failure but remained hopeful that a bipartisan commitment to a greater First Nations’ voice in the planned refresh of the CTG would lead to more effective programs being delivered in partnership with communities.

Download the Press Release

4.Reconciliation Aust CTG Response

5.Change the Record

 “Change the Record calls on the Prime Minister to listen to the majority of        Australians who believe governments must act to close the gap on justice, as shown by the 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer results.

“Almost 60% of Australians want the Federal Government to include justice in Closing the Gap, and 95% agree our people should have a say in matters that affect us,”

In the past year the Government engaged selected stakeholders in a nation-wide consultation, however many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations were excluded. Change the Record stands in support of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled peak bodies as they push for a formal partnership agreement to finalise the Closing the Gap Refresh.

This historic step to make our peak bodies equal partners with Government is critical to our self-determination and to Closing the Gap,”

Change the Record co-chair Damian Griffis.

Download the CTG Press Release

5. Change the Record

6. AMSANT Darwin

We would have loved to be part of those discussions about what to prioritise. We absolutely support education being a top priority target, but we need to ensure we are also prioritising some of those targets such as housing.”

You are not going to get kids to go to school if they haven’t had a decent night’s sleep because of an overcrowded house, you are not going to get kids to go to school if they haven’t got food in their tummy … you ain’t going to get kids to go to school if parents are not encouraging them to go to school due to lack of support services for parents”,

John Paterson AMSANT Darwin

From SMH Interview

7.Mayi Kuwayu /ANU

 ” The refreshed targets help us focus on progress and achievement. Most of these refreshed targets are not dependent on how things are going within the non-Indigenous population (they are not moving targets) — they are absolute, fixed targets that we can work towards. For example, the old target of “halve the gap in employment by 2018” is replaced by “65 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (15-24 years) are in employment, education or training by 2028”.

Further, the refreshed targets are evidence-based and appear to be achievable.

This is a change from the original targets which the evidence showed could never have been met. They were always going to fail. This is a problem because it has reinforced the idea held by many in the wider Australian community that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inequality was “too big of a problem” and could never be overcome. Or even worse, it supported the myth that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves were the problem

Ray Lovett, Katherine Thurber, and Emily Banks are part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, and conduct research on the social and cultural determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

Their approach is to conduct research in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, communities, and organisations, and to frame research using a strengths-based approach, where possible. Follow the program @Mayi_Kuwayu Professor Maggie Walter is the Pro Vice-Chancellor Aboriginal Research and Leadership at the University of Tasmania.

 Read Article in Full 

8.Greens

” Mr Morrison’s closing the gap address was paternalistic and patronising and a clear indication that he doesn’t get it.

Mr Morrison lectured the Parliament about co-design and collaboration but he does not practice what he preaches

The Coalition was dragged kicking and screaming to a co-design approach and the Government’s failure to listen when the process started was in fact the reason we are so delayed with the Close the Gap refresh.

You would think that he was the first person to think of collaboration and co-design!

Senator Rachel Siewert 

Download the Greens CTG Press Release

8.Greens Party CTG Response

NACCHO @RACGP Aboriginal Health Survey : From now until 15 February 2019, NACCHO and @RACGP wants to hear from you about implementing the National Guide and supporting culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Survey until 15 Feb 2019 : To participate in a short survey, please CLICK HERE

Please tell us your ideas for

-improving quality of 715 health checks

-clinical software -implementation of the National Guide

-culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

In 2018–19, NACCHO and the RACGP are working on further initiatives and we want your input!

Download this post as PDF and share with your networks

 We-seek-your-input-NACCHO-RACGP-Project

What we are currently doing:

  • Conducting practice team surveys and focus groups to:
    • understand current system requirements and how they can improve identification rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in mainstream practices and
    • integrate the key recommendations from the National Guide into clinical software
  • Establishing a Collaborative with the Improvement Foundation to conduct rapid quality improvement cycles leading to the provision of better healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Engaging with medical software vendors to understand how we can improve identification rates and integrate the National Guide into clinical software
  • Developing resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people regarding preventive health assessments and follow up care
  • Working with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led Project Reference Group to carry out all project activities.

From now until 15 February 2019, we want to hear from you!

Do you have ideas, solutions or examples of good practice relating to:

  • how health services can ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients receive patient centred, quality health assessments (715) that meet their needs?
  • the resources that would support mainstream general practice teams to provide culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
  • how guidelines, such as the National Guide, can be integrated into clinical software?
  • features of clinical software that will support improved identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients at your practice?
  • features of a 715 health assessment template that will support a comprehensive health assessment?

To participate in a short survey, please CLICK HERE

We also welcome your feedback and input at aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au

With your feedback, we will:

  • understand the needs of our cohort
  • understand what works through our Collaborative model for improvement report
  • develop new resources to support you and your team with delivering better healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regardless of where care is sought
  • share the lessons with mainstream general practice and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Early detection, preventing disease and promoting health

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.

See Website

New to the third edition!

National Guide podcasts

Subscribe to the National Guide Podcast (listen to the third edition) to hear host Lauren Trask, NACCHO Implementation Officer and CQI expert, speak to GPs  and researchers on updates and changes in the third edition of the National Guide.

Downloads

 National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (PDF 9.8 MB)

 Evidence base to a preventive health assessment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (PDF 9.4 MB)

 National Guide Lifecycle chart (child) (PDF 555 KB)

 National Guide Lifecycle chart (young) (PDF 1 MB)

 National Guide Lifecycle chart (adult) (PDF 1 MB)

NACCHO @RACGP Aboriginal Health Survey : 2 of 2 From now until February 2019, NACCHO and @RACGP  wants to hear from you about implementing the National Guide and supporting culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

In 2018–19, NACCHO and the RACGP are working on further initiatives and we want your input!

Download this post as PDF and share with your networks

 We-seek-your-input-NACCHO-RACGP-Project

What we are currently doing:

  • Conducting practice team surveys and focus groups to:
    • understand current system requirements and how they can improve identification rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in mainstream practices and
    • integrate the key recommendations from the National Guide into clinical software
  • Establishing a Collaborative with the Improvement Foundation to conduct rapid quality improvement cycles leading to the provision of better healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Engaging with medical software vendors to understand how we can improve identification rates and integrate the National Guide into clinical software
  • Developing resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people regarding preventive health assessments and follow up care
  • Working with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led Project Reference Group to carry out all project activities.

From now until February 2019, we want to hear from you!

Do you have ideas, solutions or examples of good practice relating to:

  • how health services can ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients receive patient centred, quality health assessments (715) that meet their needs?
  • the resources that would support mainstream general practice teams to provide culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
  • how guidelines, such as the National Guide, can be integrated into clinical software?
  • features of clinical software that will support improved identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients at your practice?
  • features of a 715 health assessment template that will support a comprehensive health assessment?

To participate in a short survey, please CLICK HERE

We also welcome your feedback and input at aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au

With your feedback, we will:

  • understand the needs of our cohort
  • understand what works through our Collaborative model for improvement report
  • develop new resources to support you and your team with delivering better healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regardless of where care is sought
  • share the lessons with mainstream general practice and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Early detection, preventing disease and promoting health

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.

See Website

New to the third edition!

National Guide podcasts

Subscribe to the National Guide Podcast (listen to the third edition) to hear host Lauren Trask, NACCHO Implementation Officer and CQI expert, speak to GPs  and researchers on updates and changes in the third edition of the National Guide.

Downloads

 National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (PDF 9.8 MB)

 Evidence base to a preventive health assessment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (PDF 9.4 MB)

 National Guide Lifecycle chart (child) (PDF 555 KB)

 National Guide Lifecycle chart (young) (PDF 1 MB)

 National Guide Lifecycle chart (adult) (PDF 1 MB)

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism : 1 of 2 Medical Advisor for @RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Dr @timsenior discusses racism in healthcare with our Social Justice Commissioner @June_Oscar AO.

 ” The fact there remains a significant health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians is indisputable.

The reasons behind this are complex, multifactorial and often uncomfortable to discuss, but one factor that may be the most difficult to raise is the presence of racism within the Australian health system.

However, there is increasing evidence, drawn from the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, that this form of racism is a barrier faced every day.

Dr Tim Senior : The RACGP has recognised the situation in its Racism in the healthcare system position statement, and recently I was also able to discuss these issues with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, and Bunuba woman from Fitzroy Crossing in the Central Kimberley, June Oscar AO.

Read over 105 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Racism articles published over the past 7 years 

One such example is the recent online survey conducted by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), which found that 86% of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents living in Victoria had personally experienced racism in a mainstream health setting. Of those polled, 88% reported incidences of racism from nurses and 74% from GPs.

When working towards closing the healthcare gap, this is a barrier that cannot be ignored.

SEE OUR NACCHO RACGP National Guide 

I’d like to start by asking, how does racism affect the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and what does this mean for their everyday lives?

Well, from what I’ve heard with a project I’m leading across the country engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls in this past year, [Wiya Yani U Thangani­ (Women’s Voices’ project)], and what I already know from engaging with communities before coming to this role [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner], experiences with racism are just all too common.

Thank you to the women and girls who came along to our Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) session in Woorabinda . Thank you for taking the time to be part of this national conversation, a first in 32 years with our women. Your voices will join those of First Nations women and girls around the country in my first report to Federal parliament.

I’ve heard the terrible experiences Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have when they visit health services. The manner in which they’re spoken to at the first point of contact in the service, and the way they’re treated and spoken to by health professionals, whether they be nurses or doctors. And I’ve heard that concern coming from people in remote, regional locations, and cities where there’s major hospitals and services.

So it’s widespread, it’s a huge concern, and it is something we have to address.

What do people say is the effect on their health?

People feel they’re not able to access a service that they have a right to access.

What they’re made to feel is that they shouldn’t be there, that they’re not being believed, they’re not being acknowledged in a respectful way. And so people are not wanting to be in that space, and that makes them feel terribly unwell on top of their state of health and wellbeing at that time.

To be treated like that is not a very nice feeling, so people often leave health services without seeing anybody.

So people are made to compromise their health and wellbeing because of an attitude and a way of communicating and interacting – and often it is non-Indigenous people that are at the other point of this contact.

Can you tell us what stories you’ve heard through the Wiya Yani U Thangani­ (Women’s Voices’) project?

I’m hearing comments like, “We’re sick and tired of going to services when we need to see someone about a genuine concern about our health, only to be spoken to in an unwelcoming, uncaring manner”. To see health professionals that issue Panadol without assessing and conducting full observations of the individuals presenting.

And so people are turning away, and being turned away, from quality of health assessment and diagnosis – which is their right in this country.

How can we start a conversation about, or continue a conversation about, the realities of racism in Australia?

I think services need to screen the types of people who they are recruiting to these roles and place the onus on them, because they are at a critical point of service delivery.

So if they’re seeing outpatients and are the first point of contact for people coming in to the service, there’s a standard at which we want them to be operating, and policies and a scrutiny of how they are conducting themselves in this role.

We have seen in many places that there are people who have been in these roles for a long time and hold these types of attitudes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are experiencing.

We can involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations, particularly the community-controlled health organisations, in recruitment, and setting the recruitment protocols in places where there is a high population of Aboriginal communities and likelihood of people accessing the health service.

We have to involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the design of service delivery.

Are there any other options that primary healthcare organisations can take to support their staff and patients to challenge racism?

I think organisations can improve on how they ensure that [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander] people are accessing their right to quality healthcare service and delivery. We need to have people involved in the organisations that are listening to and incorporating the advice of Aboriginal members involved in that process.

How can clinicians better support their local communities and strengthen their abilities to deliver culturally appropriate healthcare?

I think many of the clinicians come from other places to live in these communities. They need to be aware of the communities and be informed, educated and orientated to the community, the environment and what the issues are.

They need to be made aware of the efforts and the history of these communities, and the long struggle it has been for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to establish these services, and know that they are not alone and disconnected in a community – they can access support if they have a question, or don’t know quite how to respond.

I think if we can establish stronger networks and relationships between health experts going into a community that they have no idea about, then the onus is on them to be informed well in advance before they get there. And once they’re in the community, they should seek out the supports that exist within the community.

Is there any other advice you have for GPs or practice staff?

GPs and health professionals need to know that people have a right to access these services; they don’t have the right to deny them access.

As citizens of this country, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a right to these services.

This interview has been slightly edited for clarity.

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.