NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Workforce Funding Applications open : $10 million to train junior doctors in regional/rural Aboriginal Medical Services / General Practices

team

“I am pleased to announce with Minister Gillespie, that applications are now open for organisations to develop training rotations under the Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund ( RJDTIF)

The RJDTIF is designed to enable rural based junior doctors completing their intern year to gain experience in rural general practice, in addition to their hospital based rotations.

At least 60 junior doctors will be supported under the program each year, at a cost of up to $10 million.

They will train in a variety of primary care settings, such as general practice and Aboriginal Medical Services.

This will improve the pathway for new graduates into challenging and rewarding careers as doctors with the skills needed by rural communities. ”

Joint Press Release 6 March The Hon Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health and The Hon Dr David Gillespie MP Assistant Minister for Health

Photo above : Greg Hunt, Ken Wyatt and David Gillespie at the recent swearing in of the Health Minister’s team 

Coalition to deliver more doctors for regional and rural Australia

  • Funding for rural based junior doctors to access a rotation in primary care setting
  • Rotations must be undertaken in primary care settings in regional and rural areas
  • Supports at least 60 full-time places annually, equal to 240 accredited intern rotations

Hundreds of new junior doctors are set to experience work as a general practitioner in regional and rural Australia through a new Coalition Government initiative.

The opening of the Coalition Government’s Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund (RJDTIF) will work as part of the Integrated Rural Training Pipeline measure to help tackle one of Australia’s biggest health challenges – locating doctors, particularly GPs, in regional, rural and remote Australia.

Minister Gillespie said doctors who live and train in regional and rural areas are more likely to practice in similar areas once they qualify.

“Having practiced most of my 33 years in medicine in regional Australia, I know how important training doctors in regional areas is in our overall efforts to attract and retain doctors in the bush,” Minister Gillespie said.

“The RJDTIF is an innovative step by the Coalition Government to address the medical workforce shortage in rural Australia and, in turn, improve the health outcomes of people living in these areas.

“Our Government is committed to strengthening rural training for junior doctors in rural areas.

How to Apply

Agency:

Department of Health

Close Date & Time:

12-Apr-2017 14:00 PM (ACT Local Time)
Show close time for other time zones

Location:

ACT, NSW, VIC, SA, WA, QLD, NT, TAS

Selection Process:

Open Competitive

Description:

This is an opportunity to apply for funding for rural based junior doctors to access an accredited intern rotation in a rural primary care setting. This opportunity builds on rural training networks funded by the states and territories, will develop rural training capacity and will strengthen rural training pathways.
Accredited intern rotations must be undertaken in primary care settings in Australian Statistical Geography Standard – Remoteness Areas (ASGS-RA) 2 to 5.
The RJDTIF will foster the development of innovative rural junior doctor training within the larger rural training networks for interns, established within state and territory health systems through supporting at least 60 full-time equivalent (FTE) places annually, comprising around 240 accredited intern rotations annually into primary care settings.

Eligibility:

The details of eligibility are listed at Section 4 of the Grant Guidelines

Grant Activity Timeframe:

Funding will commence in 2018 and cease 30 June 2020.

Total Amount Available (AUD):

$26,674,000.00

Instructions for Lodgement:

Email your completed application and Attachment 1 to grant.atm@health.gov.au by 2pm, 12 April 2017.

Please include ‘Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund’ and ‘H1617G021’in your email title.

Other Instructions:

Note last questions close 5 April 2017. Include ‘Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund’ and ‘H1617G021’in your email title.
Ensure your application meets the eligibility criteria and addresses the selection criteria.

Addenda Available:

Yes

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Workforce News : @DaveGillespieMP announces $93 million funding for attracting, recruiting and supporting medical staff in rural and remote communities

docs Hear our voices  : See NACCHO TV Interviews with some of our

#ACCHO doctors and Health professional here

‘This redesign is to change the focus away from retaining overseas-trained doctors to fill gaps and getting home-grown and rurally experienced Australian graduates into rural and remote communities

If you just hop off the bus or hop off the plane and work in a regional area that you’re not used to, you need support to get your roots into that community.

We’ve got to embed these professionals into these communities and we want the agencies to be involved in that.’

Agencies that recruit doctors for rural areas will be given financial incentives to hire Australian doctors over foreign-trained ones.

Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie announced on Saturday a three- year, $93 million funding agreement for the Rural Workforce Agency program, which is tasked with attracting, recruiting and supporting medical staff in rural and remote communities.

But unlike previous funding arrangements, which provided $11 million to agencies that had an overseas-doctor recruitment strategy to meet the shortfall in rural areas, agencies will be discouraged from hiring foreign-trained doctors.

Instead, funding will be directed towards hiring Australian doctors and ensuring the doctor is the right fit for the community.

‘This redesign is to change the focus away from retaining overseas-trained doctors to fill gaps and getting home-grown and rurally experienced Australian graduates into these places,’ Dr Gillespie told AAP.

The new direction attempts to solve two problems – official figures suggest Australia is headed for a doctor oversupply of 7000 by 2030, yet rural communities still suffer from a doctor drought.

Overseas-trained doctors have typically been hired to go to rural and remote communities where it is hard to attract Australian doctors, but there have been concerns some foreign doctors are doing only the minimum time required before moving to metropolitan areas.

It comes as the federal government seeks advice on whether to curb the influx of foreign-trained doctors, with Dr Gillespie labelling the status quo ‘unsustainable’.

On Friday, the minister met an advisory group set up in 2016 to assess whether Australia should roll back measures implemented in the 1990s to deal with a doctor shortage, such as bringing in more overseas-trained doctors and increasing medical student places.

The National Medical Training Advisory Network is due to provide its final report to the minister within weeks.

It will also advise on how to redistribute medical schools and training places to address the rural doctor shortage, with evidence suggesting that if doctors do most of their training in a rural community, they are more likely to want to make a life there.

Dr Ewen McPhee, president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, says overseas-trained doctors placed in rural communities are often under-resourced, under-supported and lack the skills required for the job.

‘They come from different cultures … they’re often shoved out here because it’s the only way they’re going to get a job,’ he said.

‘We simply have a massive reliance on international medical graduates to fill positions in rural and remote Australia because our own domestic graduates won’t.

‘We have more medical students than we’ve ever had before – it’s time we saw a return on that investment.’

National Medical Training Advisory Network meets with Minister to discuss Australia’s health workforce challenge

Federal Assistant Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie, met in Melbourne Friday with members of the National Medical Training Advisory Network (NMTAN) to progress crucial work on medical education and training in Australia.

PDF printable version of National Medical Training Advisory Network meets with Minister to discuss Australia’s health workforce challenge – PDF 285 KB

“This is about the future of the medical workforce in Australia, and I am determined to get it right,” Minister Gillespie said.

“The Australia’s Future Health Workforce Report – Doctors indicates Australia faces an oversupply of 7,000 doctors in Australia by 2030. Clearly the major challenge now is to ensure the distribution of our medical workforce so that all Australians have access to the services they need.

“The National Medical Training Advisory Network is one of our key partners in delivering the best medical training system we possibly can for Australia.”

Today’s meeting in Melbourne is an important part of the medical school and medical school places assessment process which began in December 2016.

“I am particularly keen to hear feedback in relation to what some of the key stakeholders in the medical profession and workforce think about how we utilise the education and training pathways to attract and retain doctors to the regions.

“Currently our Government is investing significant funds in regional and rural medical training programs and incentives. But we need to do more. A key part of this work is our consultation and discussion with NMTAN.

“I am keen to work together with all relevant stakeholders to make the system strong, and fit-for-purpose.

The assessment of medical training places and distribution will be considered within the context of existing workforce modelling and data, two decades of workforce distribution policies, the expansion of higher education places and the Coalition Government’s priorities to address the maldistribution of medical professionals across regional, rural and remote Australia.

“Having a good distribution of training for medical students is an essential step but once medical students graduate from university, they still have years of training ahead of them. We need to ensure that rural training can continue beyond university.

“At key points in their training and development, the structure of the training system and a lack of advanced regional, rural and remote positions tend to force new doctors back to the cities, where they often settle,” Minister Gillespie said.

“We must ensure access to high quality postgraduate training for the existing numbers of medical students and recent graduates in regional, rural and remote Australia.”

Looking to recruit Doctors or Aboriginal Health Workers

we have special advertising rates

km

NACCHO has announced the publishing date for the 9 th edition of Australia’s first national health Aboriginal newspaper, the NACCHO Health News .

Publish date 6 April 2017

Our audited readership (Audit Bureau of Circulations) is 100,000 readers

For more details rate card

Contact : Colin Cowell Editor

Mobile : 0401 331 251

Email  : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

Working with Aboriginal community controlled and award-winning national newspaper the Koori Mail, NACCHO aims to bring relevant advertising and information on health services, policy and programs to key industry staff, decision makers and stakeholders at the grassroots level.

And who writes for and reads the NACCHO Newspaper ?

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #Heart Health @HeartAust @AusHealthcare : Lighthouse Hospital project employment opportunities

atsi-familiy-on-beach-lighthouse_800_480_85_s_c1

What is the Lighthouse hospital project?

  • The Lighthouse hospital project is a joint initiative of the Heart Foundation and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).
  • The aim: to improve care and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among this population.

Australia is a privileged nation by world standards. Despite this, not everyone is equal when it comes to heart health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the most disadvantaged. The reasons are complex and not only medical in nature. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a troubled history with institutions of all kinds, including hospitals.

The Lighthouse Hospital project aims to change this experience by providing both a medically and culturally safe hospital environment. A culturally safe approach to healthcare respects, enhances and empowers the cultural identity and wellbeing of an individual.

This project matters because the facts are sobering. Cardiovascular disease occurs earlier, progresses faster and is associated with greater co-morbidities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They are admitted to hospital and suffer premature death more frequently compared with non-Indigenous Australians[1].

Major coronary events, such as heart attacks, occur at a rate three times that of the non- Indigenous population. Fatalities because of these events are 1.5 times more likely to occur, making it a leading contributor to the life expectancy gap [2].

Current employment opportunities

1.The National Project Manager – Lighthouse Hospital Project

Will manage the development, delivery and evaluation of the Lighthouse Hospital Project (Phase 3) across 18 hospital sites nationally. The role will lead project partnerships and oversee a national team of four to drive sustainable change in acute settings to improve cardiac care and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Regular interstate travel will be required.

Download job description

nat-national-project-manager-lighthouse-hospitals-project-final

2.The Lighthouse Hospital Project ( 3 ) Coordinators

Will manage the day to day support for the development, implementation and evaluation of the Lighthouse Hospital Project (Phase 3) in approximately six hospital sites each. The Coordinators will support the development of local and state-based project partnerships and work as part of a national project team of five to drive sustainable change in acute settings to improve cardiac care and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Regular interstate travel will be required.

Download job Description

nat-lighthouse-hospitals-project-coordinator-final

Contact:

Fiona Patterson, National Programs Manager,

fiona.patterson@heartfoundation.org.au, 03 9321 1591

Phase 1 (2012–2013)

Aim – To improve the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

We developed this project was developed in response to a 2006 report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The project first focused on providing culturally safe and positive consumer experiences, which were reviewed by 10 organisations known for providing exemplary care in the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS).

The project identified key elements that make a difference to ACS care:

  • expanding roles for Aboriginal Liaison Officers, Health Workers, Patient Pathway Officers and equivalent roles
  • better identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • building strong partnerships and communication channels with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and other relevant organisations
  • fostering and supporting clinical champions
  • building capacity for patient-focused care
  • use of technology
  • use of an industry-based quality matrix.

Phase 2 (2013–2016)

Aim – To drive systemic change in acute care hospital settings to improve care for and the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing ACS.

In Phase two, the scope was to improve activities in eight public hospitals across Australia to improve clinical and cultural care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with ACS.

The toolkit

We developed a quality improvement toolkit, ‘Improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with acute coronary syndrome’, to provide a framework to address health disparities.

The toolkit aimed to:

  • ensure care providers met minimum standards of care, cultural safety
  • identify practices and actions that can and/or should be improved
  • foster engagement
  • improve healthcare services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with ACS.

The toolkit outlined four areas that were critical in providing holistic care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their families as they journeyed through the hospital system and return to their communities.

The four domains were:

  • governance
  • cultural competence
  • workforce
  • care pathways.

The pilot

Eight pilot hospitals participated in testing the toolkit:

  • Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, Victoria
  • Coffs Harbour Health Campus, New South Wales
  • Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia
  • Liverpool Hospital, New South Wales
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland
  • Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia
  • St Vincent’s Hospital, Victoria
  • Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital, New South Wales.

Each hospital developed an action plan that outlined the areas they would address and the quality improvement activities they would undertake during the pilot. The project outcomes were dependent on community engagement, capacity to embed change, project support and the governance structures at each site.

Key Phase 2 achievements

  • Improved relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • Strengthening relationships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and medical services
  • Creating culturally safe environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • Increased self-identification among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • Streamlining processes related to culturally appropriate clinical care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • Enhanced staff capacity to respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

Phase 3

We are awaiting funding for Phase three of the Lighthouse Project.

This will aim to increase the reach and the critical mass of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing an acute coronary syndrome who receive evidence based care in a culturally safe manner.

Within this phase there will be a focus on integration of health services and care coordination by enhancing the relationships between local community groups, hospitals, local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and Primary Health Networks.

The implementation of this phase would enable hospitals to address the actions in the revised Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare National Safety and Quality Health Service.

The Lighthouse hospital project is a joint initiative of the Heart Foundation and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Download the poster.

References

  1. Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 Report. Canberra: AHMAC, 2012.
  2.  Mathur S, Moon L, Leigh S. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with coronary heart disease: further perspectives on health status and treatment. Cardovascular disease series no. 25. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2006.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : A call to acknowledge the harmful history of nursing for Aboriginal people

nurses

 ” While we ourselves did not work there, the societal beliefs interwoven with the professional theories practised at that time are a legacy we have inherited. Those attitudes and practices remain present within our professional space.

Have we done sufficient work to decolonise ourselves?

Decolonising is a conscious practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses. It involves recognising the impact of the beliefs and practices of the coloniser on ourselves at a personal and professional level, then disavowing ourselves from them.

We talk about this in CATSINaM with our Members. We invite our non-Indigenous colleagues to engage in this self-reflective conversation through many aspects of our work.

janine-mohamed-indigenous-x-profile-picture

Janine Mohamed (right), CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), argues we should.

Is it time for the nursing and midwifery professions to reflect on our historical involvement in the subjugation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and consider whether we owe a statement of regret for our failures as part of the wider healthcare system to respond to the needs of Aboriginal Australians?

Do formal apologies mean anything?

We welcome your input on this fundamental issue for Australians – and especially input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives.

Editorial Nurse Uncut Conversations

In September 2016, the Australian Psychological Society issued a formal apology to Indigenous Australians for their past failure as a profession to respond to the needs of Aboriginal patients.

In the past, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association and the ANMF more broadly have issued statements of apology for our professions’ involvement in the practices associated with the forced adoption of babies from the 1950s to 1980s.

In doing so we recognised that while those nurses and midwives were working under direction, it was often they who took the babies away from mothers who had been forced, pressured and coerced into relinquishing their children and we apologised for and acknowledged the pain these mothers, fathers and children had experienced in their lives as a result.

Following the recent commendable move by the Australian Psychological Society, is it now time for the nursing and midwifery professions to reflect on our historical involvement as healthcare providers in the subjugation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and consider whether we owe a similar statement of regret for our failures as part of the wider healthcare system to respond to the needs of Aboriginal Australians?

But firstly, do such apologies mean anything?

Professor Alan Rosen AO (a non-indigenous psychiatrist) makes a cogent argument for an apology by the Australian mental health professions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:

The recent apology by the Australian Psychological Society to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is of profound national and international significance.

The APS is believed to be the first mental health professional representative body in the world to endorse and adopt such a specific apology to indigenous peoples for what was done to them by the profession as part of, or in the name of, mental health/psychological assessment, treatment and care.

The APS Board also substantially adopted the recommendation of its Indigenous Psychologists’ Advisory Group (IPAG), whose Indigenous and non-Indigenous members crafted this apology together. This sets a fine precedent.

As some other Australian mental health professional bodies are still considering whether to make such an apology, it is to be hoped that the APS has set a new trend. The APS has provided a robust example of how to do it well and in a way that it is more likely to be considered to be sincere and acceptable by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have suffered much more incarceration, inappropriate diagnoses and treatments and more control than care in the hands of mental health professionals, facilities and institutions.

This is also true for all First Nations peoples, globally.

Professor Rosen argues that such apologies demonstrate concern for possible historical wrongs, either deliberate or unwitting, by professionals and institutions and the enduring mental health effects of colonialism. The Croakey.org article goes on to describe the purposes and goals of an apology, why they are worth doing and proposes a template.

So, just as we have recognised and apologised for the role our professions played in forced adoptions, is it now time to examine and take responsibility for our professions’ historical contribution to undermining Indigenous Australians’ social and emotional health and wellbeing?

Janine Mohamed (right), CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), argues we should.

Between 1908 and 1919, hundreds of Aboriginal patients were incarcerated in the Lock Hospitals off the coast of Carnarvon, with more than 150 people dying there. The West Australian government established the hospitals for the treatment of Aboriginal people with sexually transmitted infections, but there remains considerable doubt as to the accuracy of such diagnoses – many of which were made by police officers.

The Fantome Island Lock Hospital operated in Queensland from 1928-45 under similar arrangements, detaining Aboriginal people with suspected sexually transmitted infections. There was also a lazaret on Fantome Island (1939-73) for segregated treatment of Aboriginal people with Hansen’s disease.

Aboriginal people taken to the hospitals were often forcibly removed from their families and communities and transported in traumatic conditions, in chains and under police guard. There is also evidence of medical experimentation and abuse.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association has embarked on the process of developing a Reconciliation Action Plan. As a first step, over coming months we will be working on developing a more thorough understanding of how historical practices have affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our care.

We welcome feedback, especially from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Employment alert : Oxfam #ClosetheGap Aboriginal Policy and Advocacy Lead

  oxfam-close-the-gap-comparison

” Lead and manage Oxfam Australia’s policy and advocacy work in key public campaigns such as Close the Gap and Change the Record; identify opportunities for Oxfam to engage policy makers and the public in relation to our work on Indigenous rights; oversee the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of our policy and advocacy work “

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy and Advocacy Lead

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s Program (ATSIPP) – Oxfam Australia 

  • Full Time, 35 hours per week
  • Permanent role
  • Melbourne, Sydney or Canberra based (with regular interstate travel)
  • Remuneration package $98,010 including superannuation

The Role

Oxfam Australia is one of Australia’s largest independent non-government organisations focusing on international aid and development. We have a strong commitment to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and has been working to support self – determination for over 30 years. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Program (ATSIPP) sits within the Programs Directorate.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy and Advocacy Lead is responsible for Oxfam Australia’s policy and advocacy work on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights including the development and implementation of advocacy strategies; the development, analysis and review of policy and research; the management of key stakeholder relationships and the coordination of public campaigns.

Key features of this role will be:

  • Lead and manage Oxfam Australia’s policy and advocacy work in key public campaigns such as Close the Gap and Change the Record; identify opportunities for Oxfam to engage policy makers and the public in relation to our work on Indigenous rights; oversee the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of our policy and advocacy work;
  • Establish strong and productive relationships with high level external stakeholders including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and organisations, relevant partners, allies and coalitions in the private and not for profit sectors, and the Australian Government;
  • Coordinate Oxfam’s research related to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and work with our media staff to maximise the impact of research.

In order to be successful the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy and Advocacy Lead will not only work closely with the ATSIPP team but also with staff in our Public Policy and Advocacy and Active Citizenship units.  The Policy and Advocacy Lead will also need engage with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and organisations in key sectors of health, justice and Indigenous rights.

Selection Criteria

  1. Demonstrated high level understanding of the Australian political system at Federal, State and Territory levels and current state of Indigenous policy within these jurisdictions;
  2. Demonstrated experience working in cross cultural settings and in particular working effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, organisations, and communities;
  3. High level understanding of human rights, with a particular focus on the rights of and issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  4. Experience working collaboratively in large coalitions or alliances under the direction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership;
  5. Excellent people management and interpersonal skills, including negotiation, diplomacy and collegiality in cross-cultural contexts with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  6. Ability to translate complex public policy issues into clearly written material for lobbying, media and other communications;

This is a great opportunity to support Oxfam’s work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations. We offer a flexible and supportive team environment of professionals dedicated to making a difference. It would be an ideal opportunity to learn more about Oxfam’s approach to program, policy and advocacy work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

How to Apply

  • Please visit https://www.oxfam.org.au/my/jobs for application details
  • To apply, please submit your CV, cover letter and a response addressing the required selection criteria outlined above in this ad
  • Applications close Friday 10 February 2017 5pm (AEST)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are strongly encouraged to apply.

Appointment to this position will require a satisfactory clearance of a police check and/or working with children check.

Oxfam Australia is committed to the safeguarding of children and young people.

To be eligible for this position, you must have the legal right to work in Australia.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : We need more Indigenous doctors , GP’s and thier essential primary health care role

 dr-mark

” In 2012, there were 221 medical practitioners employed in Australia who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander – representing 0.3 per cent of all employed medical practitioners who chose to provide their Indigenous status.

In 2015, the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand reported that a total of 265 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students were enrolled across all year levels. Of the 15 medical colleges, four have never had an Indigenous trainee.

Medical workplaces and training providers must find ways to support Indigenous trainees and medical practitioners,”

Dr Michael Gannon is a very committed to Aboriginal community controlled health and increasing the number of Indigenous Doctors

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : AMA calls for targets to increase Aboriginal people in workforce

He is federal president of the AMA  ( Australian Medical Association.) and heads the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the St John of God Subiaco Hospital, where he was born.

Pictured below with NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke

See NACCHO TV for interviews with some of our Indigenous doctors

Dr Mark Wenitong Pictured above

Public Health Medical Advisor Apunipima Cape York Health Council

and

Dr Marjad Page Gidgee Healing Mt Isa Aboriginal Health In Aboriginal Hands #closethegap

AMA and NACCHO -Aboriginal health background

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For the AMA, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health has been, and will remain, a priority. It is our responsibility to advocate for and support efforts to improve health and life outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples.

The AMA works closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a number of ways to contribute to our mutual goal of closing the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

We have close relationships with NACCHO, the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association and the Close the Gap Steering Committee, through which we collectively contribute to the national debate on Indigenous health issues. The Taskforce on Indigenous Health, which I Chair, is another way that the AMA works in partnership with Indigenous people.

Each year, through the Taskforce, the AMA produces an annual Report Card on Indigenous Health a landmark publication that makes practical recommendations to governments on how key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues should be addressed.

GPs – The drivers of patient-centred health care                             

Australia has a very good health system, the envy of many in the world. It has been built around the central role of general practitioners.

GPs are highly trained specialists. They are uniquely positioned to diagnose and treat illness, and coordinate care working in collaboration with their patients, other specialists, and allied health care professionals.

General practice is delivering great value for patients, the community, and government. GPs are achieving very good health outcomes for patients – with modest out of pocket costs, and spending on general practice representing only six per cent of total health spending.

General practice has embraced team-based care, with many practices employing practice nurses and allied health professionals. For example, there are over 12,322 nurses working within general practice. It is estimated that over 60 per cent of practices employ at least one practice nurse.

GPs are making use of Chronic Disease and Mental Health items in the Medicare schedule to support patients in accessing the care they need.

GPs have embraced technology, with general practice in Australia now highly computerised.

This is making a world of difference. While many patients have their preferred GP, if they need to see another doctor or health professional in their practice, their patient record is readily available. This supports high quality care.

The care provided by GPs is built around the needs of the patient.

GPs occupy a gatekeeper role in our health system. This not only helps patients to navigate what can be complex and confusing, it also ensures close collaboration between GPs and other specialists in delivering care. It is one of the reasons why our health system delivers the high quality results our patients expect and deserve.

We cannot forget that fragmentation of care is the enemy of quality care.

Too often, other health professions seek to expand their role and scope of practice, at times at the expense of the quality of care. One of the reasons why health costs in the United States are so high, and outcomes poor in comparison to ours, is their fragmented approach to health care, with poor coordination and duplication being major problems.

We need to build on what works, with a strong collaborative approach to care.

Other health professionals need to be able to work autonomously to their full scope of practice. This is something that the AMA fully supports. However, the patient’s care needs to be well coordinated and it needs to be built around medical diagnosis.

We must never forget that care is about the patient. Other health professionals want to carve out new roles, often based on the premise that they will be looking after relatively simple presentations, and that this will free up time for doctors to do more complex work.

To be perfectly clear, there is rarely such a thing as a ‘simple’ presentation. GPs know their patients’ histories. So-called ‘simple’ symptoms can be a sign of a far more complex and potentially dangerous condition. GPs are trained to look for enigmas like depression and alcoholism.

In reality, a ‘simple’ visit to the GP can make a big difference to a patient’s health. Comprehensive, longitudinal care is about much more than just seeing patients when they are sick.

Vaccinations and basic acute presentations all represent an opportunity to talk about prevention and a patient’s overall health. Every visit is a health promotion opportunity.

Simple advice can make big changes to a patient’s health and wellbeing. Every consultation has the potential to uncover more serious health issues, with early intervention often the key to a good prognosis.

While it is important that patients get access to the right care from the right health professional at the right time, we need to build on what we know works well for patients. Doctors are not afraid of workforce reform, but it must be grounded in the fundamental principle of quality.

Any changes to scope of practice for different health practitioners must be underpinned by sound arrangements for:

  • setting accreditation standards for education and training programs;
  • assessing education and training providers against those standards;
  • setting practice standards; and
  • assessment of practitioners for registration against those standards.

The AMA has previously said that there is an urgent need for an independent entity to be set up to assess and evaluate the future health workforce needs of the Australian community.

Reforms must be driven by evidence, and build on a collaborative approach to care – as opposed to individual professional interests.

The Australian community will not accept second best when it comes to the quality of their health care. Near enough is not good enough.

We are training more doctors than ever before, with around 3,700 new medical graduates entering the workforce every year.

We know that there are problems with distribution of the medical workforce and that problems in rural and regional areas persist. Some specialty areas are also in short supply. But problems in accessing care are being addressed.

We must build on this training investment by having in place policies that support doctors working in the locations and specialties where they are desperately needed.

This will require greater investment in post-graduate training and well-crafted policies that target areas of workforce shortage.

We long ago moved beyond the 2005 Productivity Commission Report and the medical workforce shortages that existed at the time.

Our challenge is how to best deploy a rapidly growing medical workforce so that we meet community need, working closely with our colleagues in other health professions, rather than being bogged down in inter-professional rivalries that are not in the interests of either our health system or the patients we serve.

Australians want and deserve the best quality primary health care.

GPs are the key providers and coordinators of patient-centred care.

Over 30 years, Governments from both sides of politics have undermined and undervalued General Practice. It is time that they realised their value and supported them in their essential primary health care role.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health scholarships: Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme close 15 January

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Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme

Applications open now; close 15 January 2017

The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme (PHMSS) is available to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who are studying a course in ATSI health work, allied health, dentistry/oral health, medicine, midwifery or nursing.

It is an Australian Government initiative designed to encourage and assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undergraduate students in health-related disciplines to complete their studies and join the health workforce.

The scheme was established in recognition of Dr Arnold ‘Puggy’ Hunter’s significant contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and his role as Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

Dr Puggy Hunter – NACCHO Chairperson 1991-2001 BIO

Dr. Arnold “Puggy” Hunter was a pioneer in Australian Aboriginal health and recipient of the 2001 Australian Human Rights Medal.

Puggy was the elected chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, (NACCHO), which is the peak national advisory body on Aboriginal health. NACCHO has a membership of over 150 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and is the representative body of these services. Puggy was the inaugural Chair of NACCHO from 1991 until his death.[1]

Puggy was the vice-chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council, the Federal Health Minister’s main advisory body on Aboriginal health established in 1996.

He was also Chair of the National Public Health Partnership Aboriginal and Islander Health Working Group which reports to the Partnership and to the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council.

He was a member of the Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council (APAC), the General Practice Partnership Advisory Council, the Joint Advisory Group on Population Health and the National Health Priority Areas Action Council as well as a number of other key Aboriginal health policy and advisory groups on national issues.[1]

Puggy had a long and passionate role in the struggle for justice for Aboriginal people. He was born in Darwin in 1951, where his parents had fled Broome and Western Australian native welfare policies.[1]

Numerous Australian scholarships are named in his honour.

He was quoted in Australian Parliament as saying: “You white people have the hearing problems because you do not seem to hear us

Application form

Online application form 

Applications are open now; close on 15 January 2017.

Eligibility criteria

Applications will be considered from applicants who are:

  • of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent
    Applicants must identify as and be able to confirm their Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status.
  • enrolled or intending to enrol in an entry level or graduate entry level health related course.
    Courses must be provided by an Australian registered training organisation or university. Funding is not for postgraduate study.
  • intending to study in the academic year that the scholarship is offered.

ACN receives high volume of applications; meeting the eligibility criteria will not guarantee applicants a scholarship offer.

Eligible health areas

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health work
  • Allied health (excluding pharmacy)
  • Dentistry/oral health (excluding dental assistants)
  • Direct entry midwifery
  • Medicine
  • Nursing; registered and enrolled

Value of scholarship

Funding is provided for the normal duration of the course. Full time scholarship awardees will receive up to $15,000 per year and part time recipients will receive up to $7,500 per year. The funding is paid in 24 fortnightly instalments throughout the study period of each year.

Selection criteria

These are competitive scholarships and will be awarded on the recommendation of the independent selection committee whose assessment will be based on how applicants address the following questions:

  • Describe what has been your driving influence/motivation in wanting to become a health professional in your chosen area.
  • Discuss what you hope to accomplish as a health professional in the next 5-10 years.
  • Discuss your commitment to study in your chosen course.
  • Outline your involvement in community activities, including promoting the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship scheme is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and administered by the Australian College of Nursing.

Important links

Links to Indigenous health professional associations

Contact ACN

e scholarships@acn.edu.au
t 1800 688 628

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : AMA calls for targets to increase Aboriginal people in workforce

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The AMA has called for targets to increase the proportion of women in health leadership positions, and the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the medical workforce.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, today released the AMA Position Statement on Equal Opportunity in the Medical Workforce.

“The medical workforce should reflect the diversity of the patients it cares for. Doctors from diverse backgrounds bring skills and perspectives that enable the medical workforce to be more responsive and empathetic, not only to individual patient needs but to broader community needs,” Dr Gannon said.

“The AMA recognises that there is an under-representation of women in leadership positions in the medical workforce, and an under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout the health care sector.

“The AMA supports targets to address the current under-representation in the medical workforce, including medical students, of women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Targets should be realistic, and must continue to be merit-based, but organisations should have a range of positive strategies and initiatives to attract doctors from diverse backgrounds.”

Currently, fewer than 12.5 per cent of hospitals with 1000 employees or more have a female chief executive, and only 28 per cent of medical schools have female deans. Women make up one-third of State and Federal chief medical officers or chief health officers.

In 2012, there were 221 medical practitioners employed in Australia who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander – representing 0.3 per cent of all employed medical practitioners who chose to provide their Indigenous status.

In 2015, the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand reported that a total of 265 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students were enrolled across all year levels. Of the 15 medical colleges, four have never had an Indigenous trainee.

“Medical workplaces and training providers must find ways to support Indigenous trainees and medical practitioners,” Dr Gannon said.

“Removing the barriers to employment and training, coupled with targeted recruitment, promotion, retention, and support strategies, will help to achieve a diverse workforce that can respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and communities.”

Dr Gannon encouraged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students currently studying medicine at an Australian university to apply for the 2017 AMA Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship. Successful applicants will receive $10,000 each year for the duration of their course.

“There is evidence that there is a greater chance of improved health outcomes when Indigenous people are treated by Indigenous doctors and health professionals,” Dr Gannon said.

“Increasing the number of Indigenous doctors and health workers improves access to culturally appropriate health care and services, and ensures medical services respond properly to the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Applications close on 31 January. More information can be found at https://ama.com.au/article/applications-2017-ama-indigenous-peoples%E2%80%99-medical-scholarship-close-31-january-2017

The AMA also called on workplaces and training providers to ensure that they had processes for reporting and responding to any complaints relating to equal opportunity, and to develop policies on bullying and harassment, flexible work arrangements, return to work following extended leave, doctors’ health and wellbeing, and cultural safety.

The AMA Position Statement on Equal Opportunity in the Medical Workforce can be found at

https://ama.com.au/position-statement/equal-opportunity-medical-workforce-2016

@IAHA_National Indigenous Allied Health Workforce Development Framework Survey

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 ” This Workforce Survey is being conducted by Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national not-for-profit member-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health association. IAHA supports students and graduates across all tertiary educated Allied Health professions.

IAHA want your help in identifying the development needs for the workforce – this survey is for present and past Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Allied Health graduates and students.”

We would also like your ideas and suggestions to attract, recruit, support and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Allied Health professions.

The Landscape Survey provided us with valuable information regarding the sector as a whole and enabled us to build this Workforce Survey for individuals.

Please be assured that the information reported in this survey will be strictly confidential and only deidentified aggregate data will be used in any report.

How long will it take? – We anticipate that the survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Other instructions for completing the survey:

1. The survey will be open from 1st December 2016 until 3rd February 2017.
2. The survey data will not be submitted to us until you select “done” on the last page.
3. Please call Craig Gear on 0410695659 if you have any queries about the survey, or contact Indigenous Allied Health Australia on (02) 6285 1010.

Thank you for your participation!

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Gari Watson is a Goreng Goreng, Gangulu and Biri Gubba man who grew up in Brisbane, Queensland with his family, including three older siblings. Gari was the third Indigenous dentist to graduate from James Cook University (JCU) in 2014. “I knew from the age of 12 when I got braces that I wanted to be a dentist

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Education Weekly Wrap of 5 articles and opportunities #rural, regional and remote

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In this edition of Aboriginal Health and Education News

1. ANU Graduate Dr Danielle Dries helps close the gap

2.Applications are being sought for the 2017 AMA Scholarship

3. Doctor on journey to find health answers

4. AMA flags no more medical schools

5. Doctors welcome Government focus on rural medical training

6. GPs can and must do more to tackle obesity crisis says ANU study

7. Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme

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Article I From ANU

ANU Graduate Dr Danielle Dries helps close the gap

Danielle Dries ( Pictured above ) a Kaurna woman from South Australia, has graduated with a Doctor of Medicine Doctor of Surgery with distinction from the ANU Medical School and now wants to close the gap on health and life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Dr Dries, who graduates this week, is well on her way, working on Indigenous health during her studies and landing a Board Director position with Indigenous Allied Health Australia.

“Honestly I was surprised when I saw I was graduating with distinction because I have been so busy working on projects outside of my studies,” Dr Dries said.

“Moving around the country for my undergraduate studies and ANU medical school placements has been an amazing experience. I got into medicine because I want to help people in rural and remote Australia and I have dreams to end up there one day,” she said.

Dr Dries was appointed as the Indigenous Health Officer for the National Rural Health Student Network (NRHSN) half way through her degree and has been flat out since.

“I have been able to encourage people to get involved in Indigenous communities and promote health careers to Indigenous youth, as well as promote Indigenous health awareness among my peers,” she said.

Through her role with the ANU Rural Medical Society, Dr Dries was able to transform the annual ANU Close The Gap Day event into a two-day conference, attracting more than 130 multidisciplinary health students from across the country each year.

“We ended up with a two-day conference with five or six speakers on the first day and workshops for health students on the second day,” Dr Dries said.

“This has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me at ANU because a lot of the time when we are talking about Indigenous health, we tend to be talking to an Indigenous crowd, but 90 per cent of the people who attend this conference are non-Indigenous people.

“It gives us the opportunity to talk about the strength of Indigenous people, what we have achieved, and what we continue to achieve.”

Dr Dries will complete her postgraduate internship year at The Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital, while she sits as a Director on the board of Indigenous Allied Health Australia.

“At the moment it feels right to stay in Canberra and spend time with my family while working closely with some really important Indigenous health organisations,” she said.

Dr Dries is the fourth person in her family to attend ANU, with three brothers having studied engineering at the university.

Whilst at ANU Dr Dries received the inaugural Peter Sharp Scholarship, funded by the ACT Health. The scholarship was established to continue Dr Peter Sharp’s legacy in improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in the ACT.

Article 2

Applications are being sought for the 2017 AMA Scholarship 

The AMA recognises the critical importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors through the AMA Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship scheme. Applications are being sought for the 2017 Scholarship from eligible Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students who have entered an Australian university to study medicine.

Since 1994, the Scholarship has assisted over 20 Indigenous men and women become doctors, many of whom may not otherwise have had the financial resources to study medicine. Previous AMA Scholarship recipients have graduated to work in Indigenous and mainstream health services, and some have spent time providing care in their own communities. Read the stories and profiles of past winners on the Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship webpage.

The successful applicant will receive $10,000 each year for the duration of their course. Preference will be given to applicants who do not already hold any other scholarship or bursary. Applications must be received by 31 January 2017.

To receive further information on how to apply, please contact Sandra Riley, Administration Officer, AMA on 02 6270 5452 or email indigenousscholarship@ama.com.au. An application package can be also downloaded from the AMA website.

Article 3 From NIT

Doctor on journey to find health answers

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Indigenous elder Doseena Fergie has been awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to further her research into Indigenous health.

Dr Fergie works in the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Paramedicine at the Australian Catholic University’s Melbourne campus.

She was among 106 Australians announced as recipients of a 2016 Churchill Fellowship.

The Fellowship provides an opportunity for recipients to travel overseas to conduct research in their chosen fields.

Dr Fergie will spend several weeks travelling to Finland, England, Canada, Hawaii and New Zealand next year where she will meet Indigenous elders, researchers, academics and health service providers.

“I hope to visit these Indigenous nations to find out the relationship between their intergenerational trauma through colonisation and culture and how they have managed to rejuvenate a sense of belonging and identity within their communities because we know the health disparities are just huge in all Indigenous Nations,” Dr Fergie said.

“I see a need to build relationships between the Indigenous communities I will visit and the Australian Indigenous community.

“We need to share our cultural ways and learn from each other and by doing so we can overcome the barriers of geographical isolation.”

Dr Fergie completed her PhD thesis on post-natal depression among Victorian Aboriginal women.

“If you have a passion for our own people and you’ve seen the needs out there, this passion should be expressed in a place of influence. I think academia is an important place for this work of advocacy,” she said.

Dr Fergie will be presented with her Churchill Fellowship at a ceremony at Government House in Melbourne in January.

Wendy Caccetta


Article 4 AMA Press Release

No more medical schools

The Federal Government has signalled a shift in policy focus from expanding medical school places to addressing shortcomings in the distribution of training opportunities as part of efforts to boost the number of doctors working in rural and regional areas.

Following sustained AMA advocacy on the issue, the Government has accepted that the country does not need more medical schools, and has instead identified the need to improve the spread of training places to enable more medical students and graduates to undertake their studies in rural and regional locations.

Assistant Minister for Rural Health Dr David Gillespie said a massive expansion in medical schools in the past decade meant the country was now producing more than enough medical graduates, and the challenge now was to increase the number choosing to train and practice outside the major cities.

“We’ve expanded medical undergraduate places by over 100 per cent since 2001, because we had an absolute shortage, but now predictions are that we’ll have 7,000 excess medical practitioners by 2030,” Dr Gillespie told ABC Radio. “So we want to look at the distribution of undergraduate training, see what works best, with the aim of addressing the shortage of medical practitioners in rural and regional Australia.”

The Health Department and the Department of Education and Training have been directed to undertake a joint assessment of the number and distribution of medical schools and medical student places.

“This assessment will be considered within the context of existing workforce modelling and data, two decades of workforce distribution policies, the expansion of higher education places, and the Government’s priorities to address the maldistribution of medical professionals across regional, rural and remote Australia,” Dr Gillespie said.

The move follows sustained pressure from the AMA, which has for several years argued that the nation does not need more medical school places, and should instead focus on boosting medical training opportunities in rural and regional Australia.

Delegates at the 2015 AMA National Conference unanimously passed a motion calling on the-then Abbott Government to reconsider its funding for the Curtin Medical School, and in mid-2015 the AMA presented the Government with a plan to increase prevocational training opportunities for junior doctors in rural and remote areas.

In its plan for improved rural health care launched in May 2016, the AMA detailed proposals to boost the country medical workforce by, among other measures, a Community Residency Program to provide prevocational GP placements and expanding the Specialist Training Program to 1400 places by 2018, with priority for rural and regional training places, as well as a greater rural focus for existing medical schools.

The AMA also jointly proposed with the Rural Doctors’ Association of Australia a comprehensive rural workforce incentive package, Building a sustainable future for rural practice: the rural rescue package.

Against this backdrop, AMA President Dr Michael Gannon welcomed the policy shift outlined by Dr Gillespie.

“The last thing we need are more medical schools,” the AMA President told ABC Radio. “What we need to see is an expansion of the investment in existing rural clinical schools and a serious look at the process of maybe reallocating numbers to those universities with rural clinical schools, or to schools that are in rural areas themselves.”

Dr Gillespie admitted that the current training structure, which provided limited opportunities for rural-based students and graduates, militated against increasing the number of doctors working in non-metropolitan areas, undermining access to care for rural and regional Australians.

“At key points in their training and development, the structure of the training system and a lack of advanced regional, rural and remote positions tend to force new doctors back to the cities, where they often settle,” he said. “The baggage one collects in one’s life, partner, mortgages, houses, friends, schools, children, if you’ve been there six or seven years, that’s where you more than likely stay.

“We must ensure access to high quality postgraduate training for the existing numbers of medical students and recent graduates in rural, regional and remote Australia.”

Article 5

Doctors welcome Government focus on rural medical training

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Federal Government that it will undertake a review of the distribution of medical school places in Australia, with a focus on encouraging more doctors to train and ultimately practise in rural and remote areas.

In announcing the review, the Federal Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie MP, emphasised the Government’s continuing priority to address the shortage of doctors in regional, rural and remote areas, and to develop ways in which this shortage can best be addressed.

“We strongly welcome this important review” RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

“It is clear that we already have more than enough doctors graduating from our universities to meet Australia’s overall doctor workforce needs now and into the future — but we still do not have enough young doctors choosing a career in rural and remote practice, whether that be as a general practitioner or another type of specialist.

“There is a pressing need to address this continuing maldistribution of doctors, and to shape both medical education policies and medical workforce policies to address this challenge at all stages of a doctor’s career — starting from the day they apply for a place in medical school.

“Research has shown repeatedly over many years that those who come from rural areas, or undertake medical studies or extended clinical placements in rural areas, are the most likely to return to rural or remote areas to work once they graduate from medical school.

“This is because they get to see how wonderfully rewarding a career as a rural doctor can be. To this end, the more medical school places that can be located in regional, rural and remote locations, the better. This could include expanding the existing Rural Clinical Schools across Australia.

“We also appreciate the strong recognition from Minister Gillespie of the challenges that young medical graduates face once they leave university and start to plan the next step in their medical career — this inevitably involves additional training in general practice or another specialty, and can be the point at which a young doctor gravitates to the city due to an often perceived lack of career opportunities in regional, rural and remote areas. We need to bust this myth.

“Queensland’s Rural Generalist Pathway is a prime example of the fact that advanced medical training can be delivered very successfully in regional, rural and remote areas — and it can actually lead to the reinvigoration of medical services like obstetrics in towns that had previously lost these services.

“We are very keen to see the Federal Government’s election promise of a National Rural Generalist Framework, and associated training pathway, implemented as soon as possible, so we can start to replicate the success of Queensland’s Rural Generalist Pathway right across the country.

“We look forward to working with Minister Gillespie, his Department and other stakeholders on this important review.”

Article 6

GPs can and must do more to tackle obesity crisis says ANU study

General practitioners (GPs) can and should do more to tackle the obesity epidemic in Australia, a new study from The Australian National University (ANU) has found.

Two in three Australians are overweight or obese but half of patients in obesity programs drop out before achieving any results.

Dr Liz Sturgiss from the ANU Medical School led a pilot study which found GPs were well placed on the health frontline to help patients manage their weight, but they did not have the confidence to do so effectively.

“More and more patients are coming to GPs with obesity problems, and we want to give GPs the tools to assist their patients. The current guidelines for obesity patients are to refer them to a dietician. However, this doesn’t work for everyone,” said Dr Sturgiss, who is a GP and health researcher.

Her team – which includes GPs, nurses and psychologists – developed a toolkit that guides GPs and their patients through an evidence-based weight management program.

Part of the toolkit is taken from the field of psychology and measures the effectiveness of a relationship between a GP and patient to manage weight problems.

“GPs and patients with warm and respectful relationships, shared goals and good agreement on what to do to achieve those goals got the best results,” Dr Sturgiss said.

Dr Mel Deery, whose practice in Canberra was involved in the pilot study, said the research helped the practice to treat weight and obesity problems.

“Through the research project we helped a number of patients lose five to eight kilograms, which is a significant amount, and we’re continuing to use these strategies with patients. This work is vital as obesity is a major public health problem that can lead to heart disease, stroke, arthritis and many mental health problems,” Dr Deery said.

Dr Sturgiss said the research team would use the pilot study results to conduct a randomised control trial, which could inform public policy on health and guidelines in GP clinics across Australia.

The research is published in Clinical Obesity.

Watch the video interviews with Dr Sturgiss and Dr Mel Deery on the ANU YouTube channel.

Article 7

Indigenous health scholarships

Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme

Applications open now; close 15 January 2017

The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme (PHMSS) is available to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who are studying a course in ATSI health work, allied health, dentistry/oral health, medicine, midwifery or nursing.

It is an Australian Government initiative designed to encourage and assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undergraduate students in health-related disciplines to complete their studies and join the health workforce.

The scheme was established in recognition of Dr Arnold ‘Puggy’ Hunter’s significant contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and his role as Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

Application form

Online application form

Australian College of Nursing apologises if the application form is not working at the moment. The problem is a hardware problem with our internet supplier, and not with ACN systems. We hope the problem will be rectified soon.

Applications are open now; close on 15 January 2017.

Please note the ACN office will be closed from midday December 23 and re-open on Monday 9 January 2017 at 9am. If you have any questions about the application or the process it is strongly recommended that you contact ACN prior to December 23 by email on scholarships@acn.edu.au or call 1800 688 628.

Eligibility criteria

Applications will be considered from applicants who are:

  • of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent
    Applicants must identify as and be able to confirm their Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status.
  • enrolled or intending to enrol in an entry level or graduate entry level health related course.
    Courses must be provided by an Australian registered training organisation or university. Funding is not for postgraduate study.
  • intending to study in the academic year that the scholarship is offered.

ACN receives high volume of applications; meeting the eligibility criteria will not guarantee applicants a scholarship offer.

Eligible health areas

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health work
  • Allied health (excluding pharmacy)
  • Dentistry/oral health (excluding dental assistants)
  • Direct entry midwifery
  • Medicine
  • Nursing; registered and enrolled

Value of scholarship

Funding is provided for the normal duration of the course. Full time scholarship awardees will receive up to $15,000 per year and part time recipients will receive up to $7,500 per year. The funding is paid in 24 fortnightly instalments throughout the study period of each year.

Selection criteria

These are competitive scholarships and will be awarded on the recommendation of the independent selection committee whose assessment will be based on how applicants address the following questions:

  • Describe what has been your driving influence/motivation in wanting to become a health professional in your chosen area.
  • Discuss what you hope to accomplish as a health professional in the next 5-10 years.
  • Discuss your commitment to study in your chosen course.
  • Outline your involvement in community activities, including promoting the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship scheme is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and administered by the Australian College of Nursing.

Important links

Links to Indigenous health professional associations

Contact ACN

e scholarships@acn.edu.au
t 1800 688 628