NACCHO remains totally opposed to Medicare co-payments of any kind, according to CEO Pat Turner

ANOP

“NACCHO will fight any proposal to introduce changes or co-payments to Medicare tooth and nail. Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities are the most disadvantaged economically in Australia, and bear the burden of higher levels of chronic health conditions and lower life expectancy.”

“Aboriginal medical services are doing everything they can to close the gap in Aboriginal health and in many areas we are beginning to make inroads, despite chronic underfunding.”

“Any co-payment at all will undo that work. Quite simply, if people cannot afford to go to the doctor, they will not go. Healthcare is a basic human right, however much money you have, however sick you are and Australia must abide by that principle.”

NACCHO remains totally opposed to Medicare co-payments of any kind, according to CEO Pat Turner.

Today’s suggestion by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) that the Coalition’s abandoned general practice (GP) co-payments policy might be resurrected has been strongly condemned by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF), National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS).

While a government spokesperson says the Government has no intention of pursuing a co-payment, the Prime Minister and the Health Minister must come out and dismiss the idea once and for all.

Medicare is a key pillar of Australia’s universal healthcare system – it is not a safety net. Consumers must be at the centre of any health policy reforms.

AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said the call from AMA President Michael Gannon to consider giving GPs discretionary ability to charge co-payments for patient visits could adversely affect Australians.

“GPs should not be in the position of making judgement calls about their patients’ finances. Co-payments impact affordability of care and emergency department use, and were rightly abandoned,” she said.

“While general practice must be well supported, the AMA has a vested interest in protecting its members’ income. Our focus is universal healthcare for all Australians regardless of where they live or how much money they earn.”

“Instead of resurrecting the co-payment, the Commonwealth Government should focus on a holistic, long-term vision for healthcare with appropriate funding commitments to support primary, acute, aged and disability care, to ensure all Australians can access quality care regardless of their income or where they live.”

PHAA CEO Michael Moore was shocked at a suggestion the Coalition might undermine Medicare.

“It would be incomprehensible that the Coalition has missed such clear messaging from the community. Any action to undermine Medicare is simply unacceptable. This was the real nub of the debate at the election and the issue that confronted Tony Abbott’s government when he and Joe Hockey introduced the concept of a compulsory co-payment,” he said.

“At a time when other countries are working towards ‘health for all’, the last thing we need in Australia is a government seeking to undermine basic human rights – the right to health and the equitable right to treatment. Medicare is about a fair go for all Australians. When this is properly understood all members of Parliament, as fair dinkum Australians, have an obligation to protect and enhance our system of universal healthcare”.

CHF CEO Leanne Wells said the government’s priority needed to be the development of a national health plan and moving to the “next stage” of Medicare based on sound policy.

“People are already hurting: Australians already face some of the highest out-of-pockets costs for their healthcare compared to other, equally wealthy OCED economies. The message from the electorate is that GP co-payments would be a financial burden that affects the community’s most vulnerable, first and foremost. “After over a decade of reviews, we don’t want to see status quo for the next three years. We want Medicare reform but it must be based on a wider debate about a national health care plan that puts patients first, and a new narrative that gets us back on to setting the health agenda based on good policy principles,” Ms Wells said.

“Health care should be available to all who need it regardless of income and a Medicare co-payment undermines that principle,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.

“The best way to pay for an essential service like health care is through the tax system. The best way to ensure its sustainability is to reform the way governments purchase health services – for example by reducing spending on inefficient subsidies like the private health insurance rebate – not by shifting the cost to people who need health care.”

DOORSTOP SENATE COURTYARD PARLIAMENT HOUSE TODAY 2PM

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, Primary Health Networks, community and primary healthcare services, and advocates for universal, high quality and affordable healthcare to benefit the whole community.

The Public Health Association of Australia is recognised as the principal non-government organisation for public health in Australia and works to promote the health and well-being of all Australians. The Association seeks better population health outcomes based on prevention, the social determinants of health and equity principles.

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia is the peak organisation providing leadership in representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers. CHF works to achieve safe, good quality, timely healthcare for all Australians, supported by the best health information and systems the country can afford.

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation is the national peak body representing over 150 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services across the country on Aboriginal health and wellbeing issues.

The Australian Council of Social Services is the peak body of the community services and welfare sector and the national voice for the needs of people affected by poverty and inequality.

NACCHO #NDW16 Aboriginal Health : New chronic disease portal provides quick access for workforce

Chronic Disease Portal

  ” The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework 2014 report noted that chronic disease accounts for two-thirds of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

The majority ( 70%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in 2008-12 were due to chronic diseases (e.g. circulatory disease, cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease, and kidney disease).

Our new portal will save busy health practitioners considerable time by providing them with up to date information and resources about chronic disease “

HealthInfoNet Director Professor Neil Drew,

Edith Cowan University’s Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has launched a new online portal for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander chronic disease workforce. The portal at

CHRONIC DISEASE WORKFORCE PORTAL

is part of an ongoing commitment by the HealthInfoNet to keep the sector informed about health conditions affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The portal provides information about chronic conditions that are a problem for all Australians but particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people including: heart disease, diabetes, respiratory (lung) diseases, cancers and kidney disease.  It also covers physical activity and nutrition as these factors influence many chronic conditions.

Information has been chosen for the portal because it is written in plain language and has practical application in daily work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients with chronic disease or disease risk.

The portal provides access to health promotion resources, health practitioner tools and information about programs that promote healthy lifestyles and chronic disease management for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It also highlights workforce opportunities for chronic disease workers, including job vacancies, events, training and funding.

There are five yarning places dedicated to specific chronic condition health topics which allow those working in each area to share ideas and information and are free to join.

CHRONIC DISEASE WORKFORCE PORTAL

DOWNLOAD the NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper

Page 6

NACCHO #IndigenousVotes : AMA Indigenous #Healthelection16 platform launched

Page 13

“Achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a priority for the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

It is simply not acceptable that in 2016, Australia’s Indigenous people continue to experience poorer health and a significantly lower life expectancy than their non-Indigenous peers.

Health is intricately woven within the social determinants of health.

The wider community’s limited understanding of Indigenous culture, and the history of the relationship between Australia’s first peoples and non-Indigenous Australians are issues that have yet to be adequately addressed.

For the AMA, Indigenous health has been and will remain a priority. It is a responsibility to advocate for better health outcomes for Australia’s Indigenous people.”

Dr Michael Gannon AMA President

See Page 13 Aboriginal Health News 24 Page FREE Download HERE

Over recent decades, we have seen some progress in improving Indigenous health and life expectancy, but there is still much more to be done. While there has been some success in reducing childhood mortality and smoking rates, the high levels of chronic disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continues to be of grave concern.

Chronic disease (primarily cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease and kidney disease) accounts for two-thirds of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. With chronic disease being such a major impact on the health and life expectancy of Indigenous Australians, the AMA sees government investment in resourcing for culturally appropriate primary health care as paramount.

It is not credible that Australia, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, cannot address health and social justice issues affecting its first people who make up just three per cent of its population. It is not good enough to keep hearing the excuses and well-meaning, but unsupported, words of successive governments.

The next Federal Government must commit to and deliver, effective, high quality, appropriate and affordable health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and develop and implement tangible strategies to address social inequalities and determinants of health.  Without this, the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians will remain wide and intractable.

The AMA, along with many others working in Indigenous health, has been campaigning for long-term funding and commitments from the Commonwealth to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

My predecessor, Professor Brian Owler, travelled to remote Aboriginal communities, as well as attending the Gama Festival in East Arnhem Land, to better understand the health issues and problems many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience. Following his trip to Central Australia earlier this year, the AMA engaged with a number of key stakeholders on addressing diabetes and supporting the health services working in remote communities. This is something that the AMA will continue to do.

I have family roots in rural Western Australia and attended both primary school and high school with Aboriginal students. Sadly as an Obstetrician, I have broad personal experience of the increased burden of perinatal morbidity and mortality suffered by Aboriginal women in both my clinical work and my service on the Perinatal and Infant Mortality Committee (Health Department of WA).

Health is intricately woven within the social determinants of health.

The wider community’s limited understanding of Indigenous culture, and the history of the relationship between Australia’s first peoples and non-Indigenous Australians are issues that have yet to be adequately addressed.

For the AMA, Indigenous health has been and will remain a priority. It is a responsibility to advocate for better health outcomes for Australia’s Indigenous people.

Indigenous health issues were a prominent theme at the 2016 AMA National Conference and will continue to be a focus for many years to come.

The AMA benefits from the expert advice on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health that comes through its Taskforce on Indigenous Health, from visiting Indigenous communities, and by partnering with groups such as the Close the Gap Campaign, NACCHO, and many others.

As a member of the Close the Gap Steering Committee, the AMA is supporting their election priorities and issues. One of these issues is to call on the next Federal Government to establish a closing the gap target to reduce the rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people coming into contact with the justice system. This issue was a key recommendation of the AMA 2015 Report Card on Indigenous Health which highlighted the strong connection between health and incarceration.

Recently, the AMA also became a signatory to the Close the Gap Campaign’s Redfern Statement which called on the next Federal Government to meaningfully address the disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This reaffirms the AMA’s strong commitment to Indigenous health issues. The AMA set out its position on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in its Key Health Issues for the 2016 Federal Election document delivered at the start of the 2016 election campaign. If we are to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, the next Government must strengthen their investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and make a genuine commitment to the following measures:

  • correcting the under-funding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services;
  • establishing new or strengthening existing programs to address preventable health conditions that are known to have a significant impact on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people such as cardiovascular disease (including rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease), diabetes, kidney disease, and blindness;
  • increasing investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisations.  Such investment must support services to build their capacity and be sustainable over the long term;
  • developing systemic linkages between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisations and mainstream health services to ensure high quality and culturally safe continuity of care;
  • identifying areas of poor health and inadequate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and direct funding according to need;
  • instituting funded, national training programs to support more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people become health professionals to address the shortfall of Indigenous people in the health workforce;
  • implementing measures to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s access to primary health care and medical specialist services;
  • adopting a justice reinvestment approach to health by funding services to divert Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from prison, given the strong link between poor health and incarceration;
  • increase funding for family violence and frontline legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • appropriately resource the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan to ensure that actions are met within specified timeframes; and
  • support for a Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre.  This part of Australia faces unique and complex health issues that require specific research, training and clinical practice to properly manage and treat and this type of collaborative medical and academic research, along with project delivery and working in remote communities, is desperately needed.

Closing the gap in health and life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is an achievable task. It is also an agreed on national priority.

With more than 200,000 Australians supporting action to close the gap, it is evident that the Australian public demand that government, in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representatives, meet this challenge.

The next government must ramp up its ambition to achieve health equality and take further steps in building on the existing platform.

In particular, the challenges of operationalising the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, the work of the Primary Health Networks and strengthening the Closing the Gap Strategy.

These remain key tests of our nation’s future and our shared intergenerational will and commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their health and wellbeing.

Download Aboriginal Health Newspaper Here

Redfern Statement

 

 

NACCHO CEO #HealthElection16 :All political parties should not ignore the real needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Page 2 

“I call on all parties

  • for the freeze on Medicare indexation to be lifted because it impacts negatively on the funding of our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO’s) at the local level;
  • the need for clearly defined guidelines on how the Primary Health Networks would partner with our member ACCHO’s to ensure our peoples’ health care is culturally safe and of high quality and 
  • new thinking and a clear national strategy is needed to redress the social determinants of health.

We want all political parties to articulate how they will address these priorities to make sure we do “Close the Gap” in this generation.”

Pat Turner AO new CEO NACCHO (see bio below ) was among the senior representatives of 55 organisations signing the Redfern Statement.

To make sure the political parties do not ignore the real needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, key peak organisations came together  in a non-partisan way, to remind our political leaders what’s expected of the incoming Government. Co-Chairs of National Congress, Jackie Huggins and Rod Little, led the media event held in Redfern on 9 June.

They were joined by 54 other organisations in an unprecedented show of strength and unity to sign and issue the Redfern Statement.

The Redfern Statement will be given to the new Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition when parliament resumes.

This means that the new Federal government should negotiate with the State/Territory governments and NACCHO, and other key representative organisations to design, implement and evaluate a Social Determinants of Health Strategy.

Pat said that the evidence is available and has been known about for long enough, now it’s time for all Governments to work in a real partnership with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to change these social determinants to positive outcomes within the next generation of 25 years.

Support for our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services was strong in acknowledging that it is our members who are the best placed to provide the health care our people need and ACCHOs should most definitely be the preferred providers. Calls were made for cuts to funding reflected in former Budget allocations to be restored.

The Government’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, now has an Implementation Plan, without additional funding. To rectify this, the call was made for the Implementation Plan to be properly funded.

It is supported by both the major political parties in Canberra, it is three years old, and still no new funding to do what is needed.

In understanding that suicide is all too common among our people, we also called for the funding of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Basically, we called on the incoming Government to Close the Gap within the next generation.

Pat Turner’s call for a stand-alone Federal Department for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with all senior executive staff being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, was strongly supported by everyone present.

Ms Turner said that if “Closing the Gap” is so important to the incoming government, they have to fund our community controlled sector properly.

The Australian health budget is 10 per cent of Australia’s GDP. $90 billion dollars is funded for Australians’ health by the Commonwealth Government alone. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector only get $4 billion of that.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, supported Ms Turner’s comments and said at the moment we as First Nations’ people did not have a relationship with government.

“We need a relationship, whether it’s in the form of a treaty, a compact or formal agreement, whatever title it is given, it’s the substance of a genuine formal relationship between the incoming Government and our own leadership that is missing.

They’ve defunded Congress, the only representative organisation we have. That’s our organisation. They’ve appointed an Indigenous Advisory Council who only represent themselves – and they’ll tell you that.”

“What we need is this relationship between our peoples and government, not with our peoples and government agencies and departments.”

The NACCHO CEO concluded her remarks by saying that despite the regular upheaval of major policy changes, significant budget cuts and changes of Government in the short election cycles at all levels, “we have still managed to see some encouraging improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes.

We want all political parties to articulate how they will address these priorities to make sure we do “Close the Gap” in this generation.”

AH

NACCHO TV HERE

image

Background new NACCHO CEO Pat Turner AM

Pat Turner AM , the daughter of an Arrernte man and a Gurdanji woman, was born in 1952 and raised in Alice Springs.

Her long association with Canberra began with a temporary position with the Public Service Board, leading to the Social Policy Branch of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) in 1979.

Joining the Australian Public Service (APS) in Alice Springs as a switchboard operator in the Native Affairs Department , she moved to Canberra in 1978, joining the senior executive ranks of the public service in 1985, when she became Director of the DAA in Alice Springs, N.T. (1985-86).

Pat then became First Assistant Secretary, Economic Development Division in the DAA, and in 1989, Deputy Secretary. She worked as Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet during 1991-92, with oversight of the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and with responsibility for the Office of the Status of Women among other matters.

Between 1994 -1998, Pat was CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, which made her the most senior Aboriginal government official in Australia at the Commonwealth level.. After stints in senior positions at the Department of Health and at Centrelink, Pat Turner left the APS and Canberra in 2006, returning to Alice Springs with her mother to live.

There, she has continued to advocate on the behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including taking on what she described as ‘one of the best working experiences of my life’ as Inaugral CEO of National Indigenous Television, NITV, from January 2007 until December 2010.

Other memorable experiences include the period when she was Festival Director of the 5th Festival of Pacific Arts in Townsville, Queensland (1987 -88) and when she held the Chair of Australian Studies at Georgetown University in Washington DC (1998-99).

Ms Turner retired from the APS in 2006, not particularly happy with the state of the organisation she was leaving, but happy about the prospect of spending more time with family and focusing on grass roots projects.

In 2011, she was appointed to the Advisory Council of the Australian National Preventative Health Agency.

In April 2016 2016 she was appointed CEO of NACCHO

Ms Turner holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Canberra where she was awarded the University prize for Development Studies. She was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia (AM), in 1990 for her services to public service.

Page 1 V4

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper

Download a free PDF copy 29 June

Wednesday : NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke plus Members

Thursday : Labor Policy

Friday : Coalition Policy

 

 

NACCHO #HealthElection16 : Calls for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to head new Federal Indigenous Affairs Department

Pat Turner2

“We need our own department re-established, with all senior staff working in the newly recreated department being Indigenous. It should be headed up by competent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in all of the senior executive positions so we can work more effectively, both with government and with our people.”

Former senior Indigenous public servant Pat Turner has called for a federal Indigenous affairs department to be re-established and headed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. Pictured above speaking at the press conference  for the #redfernstatement with Jackie Huggins Congress Co- chair : Article from ABC NEWS

“The Australian health budget is 10 per cent of Australia’s GDP. $90 billion dollars is funded for Australians’ health by the Commonwealth Government alone. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector get $4 billion, so you do the sums.  If closing the gap is so important to the incoming government, they have to fund the implementation of the health plan”

Pat Turner believes health is one of the glaring areas in need of attention. ABC PM

READ or DOWNLOAD THE FULL #redfernstatement HERE

Key points:

  • Statement designed to apply pressure to prioritise Indigenous Affairs
  • We need our own department, Turner says
  • Turner, representatives take aim at Abbott government decisions

Ms Turner, who now runs the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Network, was among a group of health, education, legal and reconciliation representatives who jointly delivered the so-called Redfern Statement today.

The statement is designed to apply pressure to both major political parties to prioritise Indigenous affairs in the election campaign.

The group has primarily called for a series of Abbott government policies to be undone.

One of Tony Abbott’s most inflammatory bureaucratic decisions was to move the standalone Indigenous affairs department within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, a move Ms Turner said must be reversed.

Ms Turner and other representatives also took aim at a string of other legacy decisions taken by Mr Abbott’s government.

Among the most pressing concerns were the 2014 budget cuts and the flaws in the new Indigenous funding system, the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS).

“The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is a coordinating department, they have no idea how to deliver programs,” Ms Turner said.

“And that’s been reflected in the IAS, and how hopeless it is.”

Ms Turner was previously chief executive of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and former deputy secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

‘Do not ignore us, we vote too’

Co-chairwoman of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Jackie Huggins said change was a matter of urgency.

“We don’t want to be marginalised, and they say to government quite clearly, do not ignore us at your peril because we vote too,” she said.

“It’s about time the Government woke up to that and engage with us in a very real and meaningful genuine relationship that we have been screaming out for years.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said there was still a long way to go to improve ties between Indigenous Australia and government.

“At the moment, we don’t have a relationship with government; they’ve defunded congress, the only representative organisation we have that’s our organisation.

“They’ve appointed an Indigenous Advisory Council who only represent themselves, and they’ll tell you that.”

The coalition of some of the nation’s most well-respected Indigenous leaders said that in the last 25 years, they had seen prime ministers come and go, countless policies introduced and then changed, and promises of funding made only to be followed by cuts.

The group said the only political party to highlight Indigenous needs this campaign had been the Greens.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion issued a response to the Redfern Statement, saying the Coalition’s track record demonstrated their commitment to “improving outcomes for First Australians”.

Senator Scullion said the Coalition had put additional funds into the Indigenous Affairs budget, including $48 million to support land tenure measures through the Developing Northern Australia White Paper and $14.6 million for constitutional recognition.

KME623p037-naccho-V2-247x350

#HealthElection16 

Advertising and editorial Bookings close today 17 June

All political parties

NACCHO 150 Members and Affiliates

Stakeholders/ Aboriginal organisations

Peak Health bodies

Editorial Proposals Close 10 June 2016

Copy Closing 17 June for publishing election week 29 June

Contact for Advertising rate cards/bookings/editorial

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert : Major #Redfernstatement by leadership for #healthelection16

untitled

55 leaders met today  9th of June 2016, in Redfern where in 1992 Prime Minister Paul Keating spoke truth about this nation – that the disadvantage faced by First Peoples affects and is the responsibility of all Australians.

Photo above NACCHO CEO Pat Turner addressing the national media

An urgent call for a more just approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

“Social justice is what faces you in the morning. It is awakening in a house with adequate water supply, cooking facilities and sanitation. It is the ability to nourish your children and send them to school where their education not only equips them for employment but reinforces their knowledge and understanding of their cultural inheritance. It is the prospect of genuine employment and good health: a life of choices and opportunity, free from discrimination.”

Mick Dodson, Annual Report of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, 1993.

The Redfern Statement

Download the 18 Page document here

Redfern Statement June 2016 Elections 18 Pages

Redfern Statement

A call for urgent Government action

In the past 25 years – a generation in fact – we have had the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Bringing them home Report and Reconciliation: Australia’s Challenge: the final report of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. These reports, and numerous other Coroner and Social Justice Reports, have made over 400 recommendations, most of which have either been partially implemented for short term periods or ignored altogether.

In the last 25 years we have seen eight Federal election cycles come and go, with seven Prime Ministers, seven Ministers for Indigenous Affairs, countless policies, policy changes, funding promises and funding cuts – all for the most marginalised people in Australia.

For the last quarter century, then, we’ve seen seminal reports which have repeatedly emphasised that our people need to have a genuine say in our own lives and decisions that affect our peoples and communities. This, known as self-determination, is the key to closing the gap in outcomes for the First Peoples of these lands and waters.

All of these reports call for better resourcing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

All of these reports call for real reconciliation based on facing the truths of the past and creating a just and mature relationship between the non-Indigenous Australian community and the First Peoples.

The next Federal Government will take on the same responsibility to right this nation’s past injustices as the last eight Federal Governments have had. The next Government of Australia will take power with our First Peoples facing the same struggles as they were in 1992. But this next Federal Government also has an unprecedented nation-building opportunity to meaningfully address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. They have the mandate to act. We therefore call on the next Federal Government to:

  • Commit to resource Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led-solutions, by:
  • Restoring, over the forward estimates, the $534 million cut from the Indigenous Affairs portfolio in the 2014 Budget to invest in priority areas outlined in this statement; and
  • Reforming the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and other Federal funding programs with greater emphasis on service/need mapping (through better engagement) and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations as preferred providers.
    • Commit to better engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through their representative national peaks, by:
  • Funding the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) and all relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations and forums; and
  • Convening regular high level ministerial and departmental meetings and forums with the Congress and the relevant peak organisations and forums.
    • Recommit to Closing the Gap in this generation, by and in partnership with COAG and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:
  • Setting targets and developing evidence-based, prevention and early intervention oriented national strategies which will drive activity and outcomes addressing:
    • family violence (with a focus on women and children);
    • incarceration and access to justice;
    • child safety and wellbeing, and the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care; and
    • increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to disability services;
  • Secure national funding agreements between the Commonwealth and States and Territories (like the former National Partnership Agreements), which emphasise accountability to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and drive the implementation of national strategies.
    • Commit to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to establish a Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the future, that:
  • Is managed and run by senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants;
  • Brings together the policy and service delivery components of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and ensures a central department of expertise.
  • Strengthens the engagement for governments and the broader public service with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the management of their own services.
    • Commit to addressing the unfinished business of reconciliation, by:
  • Addressing and implementing the recommendations of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, which includes an agreement making framework (treaty) and constitutional reform in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cannot be considered at the margins.

It is time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are heard and respected, and that the following plans for action in relation to meaningful engagement, health, justice, preventing violence, early childhood and disability, are acted upon as a matter of national priority and urgency.

National Representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

It is critical that Australia’s First Peoples are properly represented at the national level to ensure meaningful engagement with Government, industry and the non-government sectors to advance the priorities of our people.

Since 2010, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) has gone some way to fill the gap in national representation since the demise of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in 2005.

However, there remain too many gaps in adequate national level representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – particularly for employment and education. Without Congress or equivalent national bodies where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders are supported to engage with Government it will be difficult for the next Federal Parliament to meet the multi-partisan priority and commitment to work ‘with’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We call on the next Federal Government to commit to:

  1. Restoration of funding to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) was established in 2010 to be the representative voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to advocate for positive change. The decision to defund Congress, just as it is beginning to emerge as a unifying element among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, is a mistake.

Without support, Congress’ ability to do its job of representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interests is severely compromised. Congress must be supported to provide a mechanism to engage with our people, develop policy, and advocate to Government.

Congress should be supported to reach sustainability and independence as soon as possible.

 

  1. A national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body for Education

Although there are many good quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, and strong leaders, working at the State and local level in the education sector, there is currently no national body to promote and engage in education policy for Australia’s First Peoples.

The education sector is fragmented across early childhood, primary and secondary education, vocational education and training, and higher education, with each of state and territory having public, catholic and private school systems. In the absence of a single national education voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Congress has been active in coordinating and promoting unity across these sectors. Congress has consulted widely with its members, educators and organisations, many of which have a long history of working in this area.

We call on the next Federal Government to establish a national body that can call for policies support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and communities across all of these educational systems.

  1. A national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body for Employment

The highly disadvantaged employment and income status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is well documented. While we appreciate attempts at advancing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the many issues around employment require a unified and expert voice.

Beyond skills training, mentoring and targeted employment services to enhance the job readiness of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, concerted effort needs to be directed to creating jobs that are suitable and meaningful for our people. This is of particular concern in remote areas, where mainstream commercial and labour market opportunities are limited. In urban and rural areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are faced with issues of racism and discrimination in the workplace.

 

The next Federal Government should establish and fund a national representative body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to drive employment and economic solutions for our people, in order to:

  • Work with our communities to develop their own strategies for economic development, and promote community participation and management;
  • Promote strategies to create Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-friendly workplaces; and
  • Work with Government to design welfare policy that encourages, rather than coerces, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into employment.
    1. A national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body for Housing

Federal and State Government policies concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing is currently disjointed, wasteful and failing. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in urban and regional markets face many barriers in accessing and securing safe and affordable housing, including discrimination and poverty.

The next Federal Parliament should support the development of a national representative body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who can focus on housing security for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and:

  • Advocate for the ongoing support for remote communities to prevent community closures;
  • Work with communities to develop a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing strategy, with the aim of improving the housing outcomes for our people across all forms of housing tenure; and
  • Provide culturally appropriate rental, mortgage and financial literacy advice.

First Peoples Health Priorities

Closing the Gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians is an agreed national priority. The recognised necessity and urgency to close the gap must be backed by meaningful action.

All parties contesting the 2016 Federal Election must place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs at the heart of their election platforms, recognising the health equality as our national priority.

Despite the regular upheaval of major policy changes, significant budget cuts and changes to Government in the short election cycles at all levels, we have still managed to see some encouraging improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. But much remains to be achieved and as we move into the next phase of Closing the Gap, enhanced program and funding support will be required.

We appeal to all political parties to recommit to Closing the Gap and to concentrate efforts in the priority areas in order to meet our goal of achieving health equality in this generation.

We call on the next Federal Government to commit to:

  1. Restoration of funding

The 2014 Federal Budget was a disaster for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is not an area where austerity measures will help alleviate the disparity in health outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples.

The current funding for Aboriginal health services is inequitable. Funding must be related to population or health need, indexed for growth in service demand or inflation, and needs to be put on a rational, equitable basis to support the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013–2023).

  1. Fund the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013–2023)

Future Budgets must adequately resource the Implementation Plan’s application and operation. As a multi-partisan supported program, the Implementation Plan is essential for driving progress towards the provision of the best possible outcomes from investment in health and related services.

  1. Make Aboriginal Community Controlled Services (ACCHS) the preferred providers

ACCHS should be considered the ‘preferred providers’ for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Where there is no existing ACCHS in place, capacity should be built within existing ACCHS to extend their services to the identified areas of need. This could include training and capacity development of existing services to consider the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health strategy to self-fund new services. Where it is appropriate for mainstream providers to deliver a service, they should be looking to partner with ACCHS to better reach the communities in need.

  1. Create guidelines for Primary Health Networks

The next Federal Government should ensure that the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) engage with ACCHS and Indigenous health experts to ensure the best primary health care is delivered in a culturally safe manner. There should be mandated formal agreements between PHNs and ACCHS to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership.

  1. Resume indexation of the Medicare rebate, to relieve profound pressure on ACCHS

The pausing of the Medicare rebate has adversely and disproportionately affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their ability to afford and access the required medical care. The incoming Federal Government should immediately resume indexation of Medicare to relieve the profound pressure on ACCHS.

  1. Reform of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy

The issues with the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) are well known. The recent Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee Report into the tendering processes highlighted significant problems with the IAS programme from application and tendering to grant selection and rollout.

The next Federal Government must fix the IAS as an immediate priority and restore the funding that has been stripped from key services through the flawed tendering process.

  1. Fund an Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy encompasses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ holistic view of mental health, as well as physical, cultural and spiritual health, and has an early intervention focus that works to build strong communities through more community-focused and integrated approaches to suicide prevention.

The Strategy requires a considered Implementation Plan with Government support to genuinely engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, their organisations and representative bodies to develop local, culturally appropriate strategies to identify and respond to those most at risk within our communities.

  1. Develop a long-term National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Determinants of Health Strategy

The siloed approach to strategy and planning for the issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face is a barrier to improvement. Whilst absolutely critical to closing the gap, the social determinants of health and wellbeing – from housing, education, employment and community support – are not adequately or comprehensively addressed.

The next Federal Government must prioritise the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Determinants of Health Strategy that takes a broader, holistic look at the elements to health and wellbeing for Australia’s First Peoples. The Strategy must be developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through their peak organisations.

Please note the balance of document can be read here

Redfern Statement June 2016 Elections 18 Pages

untitled

#HealthElection16 

Advertising and editorial is invited from

All political parties

NACCHO 150 Members and Affiliates

Stakeholders/ Aboriginal organisations

Peak Health bodies

Editorial Proposals Close 10 June 2016

Closing 17 June for publishing election week 29 June

Contact for Advertising rate cards/bookings/editorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

NACCHO #HealthElection16 : Ongoing commitment required to close the gap says NACCHO CEO

image

PHOTO ABOVE : Senator Rachel Siewert visiting the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Centre yesterday with Senator Richard Di Natale to announce the Greens Aboriginal Health policy. Prior to entering parliament, Richard was a general practitioner and public health specialist. He worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory.

image

“Perhaps the most important part of The Greens’ commitments is the restoring of over half a billion dollars in cuts since 2013 and their earlier promise to index Medicare rebates, which have been frozen for several years. This has been causing unnecessary hardship to medical services across Australia.

“The Greens policy is a very comprehensive plan for Aboriginal health and we challenge the other parties to outline in detail what their plans are in these areas of concern.”

NACCHO CEO Patricia Turner ( Pictured above ) has welcomed the release of The Greens’ Aboriginal Health policy yesterday.

Ms Turner said The Greens’ policy is so far the only one this election to focus specifically on Aboriginal health and make commitments in nearly all of the key areas in Aboriginal health.

Read Greens Press release HERE

Download the full Aboriginal Health Policy document

Greens Aboriginal Health platform 2016 Elections

“The Greens have touched on many issues of serious concern for the ACCHO sector,” Ms Turner said.

“Avoidable blindness accounts for 11 per cent of the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health. $42.3 million will go a long way to providing spectacles and other eye health measures and implement the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision.

“Almost $100 million to Close the Gap in hearing is also very welcome. We know that educational outcomes improve when children can hear properly in class and the $4 million a year for sound field systems in classrooms will be a great help.

“There is a desperate need for mental health services for Aboriginal people and the $720 million The Greens have committed to this is very important.

“Hear our Voices -Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands “

View our new NACCHO TV Interviews HERE

untitled

#HealthElection16 

Advertising and editorial is invited from

All political parties

NACCHO 150 Members and Affiliates

Stakeholders/ Aboriginal organisations

Peak Health bodies

Editorial Proposals Close 10 June 2016

Closing 17 June for publishing election week 29 June

Contact for Advertising rate cards/bookings/editorial

 

NACCHO #HealthElection16 : AMA launches Key Health Issues / Aboriginal Health policy for 2016 Federal Elections

Brian

” The gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians is still considerable, despite the commitment to closing the gap.

The AMA sees progress being made, particularly in reducing early childhood mortality rates, and in addressing major risk factors for chronic disease, such as smoking. However, to close the gap in Indigenous health, Government must commit to improving resourcing for culturally appropriate primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the health workforce.

Including increased investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisations. Such investment must support services to build their capacity and be sustainable over the long term;

Brian Owler AMA President pictured above Matthew Cooke Chair of NACCHO at recent NACCHO Event Parliament House Canberra : The Aboriginal Policy is part of a 16 Page AMA Health Issues Document  

“The Medicare freeze is not just a co-payment by stealth – it is a sneaky new tax that punishes every Australian family,”

Professor Owler said, with the elderly and chronically ill among those most affected see press release here AMA LAUNCHES NATIONAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE MEDICARE REBATE FREEZE (FED)

Putting Health First

Download the 16 Pages here AMA Key Health Issues Federal Election 2016

Health policy will be at the core of the 2016 Federal Election.

The AMA is non-partisan. It is our role during election campaigns, as it is throughout the terms of governments, to highlight the issues we think will be of greatest benefit to the health system, the medical profession, the community, and patients.

As is customary, the AMA will focus on the respective health policy platforms presented by the major parties in the coming weeks.

The next Government must invest significantly in the health of the Australian people.

Investment in health is the best investment that governments can make.

We must protect and support the fundamentals of the health system.

The two major pillars of the system that mean most to the Australian people are quality primary health care services, led by general practice, and well-resourced public hospitals.

The AMA has advocated strongly and tirelessly on these issues for the term of the current Government.

General practice and public hospitals are the priority health issues for this election.

The AMA is calling on the major parties to lift the freeze on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) patient rebate. The freeze was extended until 2020 in the recent Budget. The freeze means that patients will pay more for their health care. It also affects the viability of medical practices.

We also need substantial new funding for public hospitals. The Government provided $2.9 billion in new funding in the Budget, but this is well short of what is needed for the long term.

We must build capacity in our public hospitals. Funding must be better targeted, patient-focused, and clinician led.

The AMA is also calling for leadership and effective policy from the major parties on Indigenous health, medical workforce and training, chronic disease management, and a range of important public health measures.

The AMA will release a separate Rural Health Plan, responding to the unique health needs of people in rural and regional Australia, later in the election campaign.

Elections are about choices. The type of health system we want is one of those crucial decisions.

In this document, Key Health Issues for the 2016 Federal Election, the AMA offers wide-ranging policies that build on what works. We offer policies that come from the experience of doctors who are at the coalface of the system – the doctors who know how to make the system work best for patients.

The AMA urges all political parties to engage in a competitive and constructive health policy debate ahead of the election on 2 July.

Indigenous Health Policy Continued

Despite the recent health gains, progress remains frustratingly slow and much more needs to be done. A life expectancy gap of around 10 years remains between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians, with recent data suggesting that Indigenous people experience stubbornly high levels of treatable and preventable conditions, high levels of chronic conditions at comparatively young ages, high levels of undetected and untreated chronic conditions, and higher rates of co-morbidity in chronic disease. This is completely unacceptable.

It is not credible that Australia, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, cannot address health and social justice issues affecting just three per cent of its citizens. The Government must deliver effective, high quality, appropriate and affordable health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and develop and implement tangible strategies to address social inequalities and determinants of health.

Without this, the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians will remain wide and intractable.

The AMA calls on the major parties to commit to:

  • correct the under-funding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services;
  • establish new and strengthen existing programs to address preventable health conditions that are known to have a significant impact on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people such as cardiovascular diseases (including rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease), diabetes, kidney disease, and blindness;
  • increase investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisations. Such investment must support services to build their capacity and be sustainable over the long term;
  • develop systemic linkages between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisations and mainstream health services to ensure high quality and culturally safe continuity of care;
  • identify areas of poor health and inadequate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and direct funding according to need;
  • institute funded national training programs to support more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to become health professionals to address the shortfall of Indigenous people in the health workforce;
  • implement measures to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s access to primary health care and medical specialist services;
  • adopt a justice reinvestment approach to health by funding services to divert Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from prison, given the strong link between health and incarceration;
  • appropriately resource the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan to ensure that actions are met within specified timeframes; and
  • support for a Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre. Central Australia faces many unique and complex health issues that require specific research, training and clinical practice to properly manage and treat, and this type of collaborative medical and academic research, along with project delivery and working in remote communities, is desperately needed.

Australian Medical Association joins campaign against Medicare rebate freeze

AMA POSTER

Download the AMA Press Release

AMA LAUNCHES NATIONAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE MEDICARE REBATE FREEZE (FED)

Article below originally published here

Tens of thousands of specialist doctors are joining GPs’ war against the Turnbull government’s extended freeze on Medicare rebates, increasing pressure on the Coalition’s health record ahead of the federal election.

The Australian Medical Association has distributed posters to its members, warning patients that they will be out of pocket because the cost of running the medical practice will continue to rise as Medicare rebates stay frozen until 2020.

“You will pay a new or higher co-payment every time you visit your GP, every time you visit other medical specialists, every time you need a blood test, and every time you need an X-ray or other imaging,” it says, alongside a photo of a woman comforting a crying child.

It comes a week after the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners announced its 32,000 members would urge their patients to lobby local MPs against the move. The groups share about 8000 members, adding about 22,000 more specialist doctors to the campaign.

The AMA’s campaign similarly encourages patients to contact their local MPs and election candidates, but goes further to directly blame the Turnbull government for the extra cost: “The government has cut Medicare and wants you to pay for it.”

While pathologists on Friday agreed to retain bulk-billing rates in exchange for reduced regulatory pressure on rents under a deal with Health Minister Sussan Ley, the AMA maintains that they and diagnostic imaging services will remain under pressure to charge patients, with the government’s cuts to bulk-billing incentive payments deferred till later in the year.

The AMA’s president, Professor Brian Owler, said many doctors had absorbed costs but the extension “has pushed them over the edge”. They may charge patients a $30 co-payment to cover costs associated with moving to a private billing system, more than triple the Abbott government’s failed and deeply unpopular $7 GP co-payment, he said.

“The Medicare freeze is not just a co-payment by stealth – it is a sneaky new tax that punishes every Australian family,” Professor Owler said, with the elderly and chronically ill among those most affected.

While most specialists (about 70 per cent) already charged patients a co-payment, having had their rebates frozen for decades, the extended freeze could reduce the bulk-billing rate further, an AMA spokesman said.

Labor froze indexation for eight months in 2013, lifting it briefly for GPs in 2014-15. The Coalition extended it for four years in 2014, and this year extended it a further two years to 2020, to save $925.3 million.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor opposed the extended freeze at the leaders’ debate on Friday, but would not say whether it would commit to lifting it if elected.

Thirty per cent of 400 GPs surveyed by the College said they would stop all bulk-billing, including for concession card holders, due to the extended freeze. Another 18 per cent said the practice would start charging a co-payment, but cap annual out-of-pocket fees for concession card holders.

Thirty per cent said they would maintain a mixed billing policy, and 10 per cent would continue to bulk bill all patients. Twelve per cent said they were already privately billing all their patients.

The Turnbull government plans to cut bulk-billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging services to save $650 million over four years. Pathology Australia, which had warned this would lead more doctors to charge patients for pap smears, blood and urine tests, has agreed to drop its public campaign against the cuts.

Ms Ley said: “The Coalition will increase Medicare investment to $26 billion per year by 2020-21, while introducing revolutionary reforms such as Health Care Homes that cement a GP’s role at the centre of patient care.”

While she appreciated many GPs’ efforts to keep costs down during the indexation freeze, she was disappointed that “there’s no reciprocal offer to assist taxpayers with the immediate financial challenges our budget faces while [Health Care Homes are] implemented”.

KME623p037-naccho-V2-247x350

            Send your Aboriginal Health issue message to Canberra for

#HealthElection16

Advertising and editorial is invited from

All political parties

NACCHO 150 Members and Affiliates

Stakeholders/ Aboriginal organisations

Peak Health bodies

Closing 17 June for publishing election week 29 June

Contact for Advertising rate cards/bookings/editorial

NACCHO Press release Aboriginal health :Community led rural and remote roundtables to focus on clinician safety

unspecified

” Large numbers of Aboriginal health workers operate in rural and remote communities and conduct outreach services into some of the most remote locations in Australia.

“Ensuring our workers are safe as they go about their critical work must be a priority for us all,”

NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke :

Background  Over 5,800 staff work in our member services of which 3,200 are Indigenous : Picture above Gidgee Healing’s board and staff at ” Aboriginal Health In Aboriginal Hands ”  video shoot :Photographer Wayne Quilliam : Gidgee vision is to make a significant and growing contribution towards achieving equity in health outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across our geographic service area, including the Mount Isa, North West and Lower Gulf regions.

Download NACCHO Press release

Finding better ways to protect health workers in rural and remote communities will be a priority during a series of upcoming community-led roundtables being hosted by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

“The recent tragic death of a nurse in a remote area of South Australia’s Far North is a terrible reminder of some of the challenges faced by our workforce every day.

These doctors, nurses and health workers do incredible work, often attending to patients with very complex health needs, providing services in locations hundreds of kilometres from the nearest mainstream health service.

“As a nation, we must find ways to continue to provide quality health care to the people living in these remote locations while at the same time ensuring our workers remain free from harm.”

Mr Cooke said NACCHO remained committed to improving access to quality health care in rural and remote communities throughout Australia.

NACCHO-Member-Services-2015-11-1024x939

Check out our NACCHO APP for our geo location search of our 150 Members

He commended Minister for Rural Health, Fiona Nash, for recently hosting a meeting of providers and representatives of remote health services and said NACCHO wanted to further engage with NACCHO members to inform next steps.

“This matter needs long term solutions to improve the safety of community and clinicians living and working in rural and remote communities.

“Last year NACCHO launched a series of roundtables of our 150 member Services operating in urban, rural and remote locations.

“It’s critical these grassroots organisations on the health front line are involved in finding solutions to the range of challenges common to those working in such environments.

“NACCHO intends to continue these roundtables with our member Services to canvas the issues of safety and security, discuss health issues and policy, share learnings with each other and plan together.

“The outcomes of these roundtables will be used to inform all levels of governments on the actions needed to ensure the safety of the rural and remote workforce.”

NACCHO_banner_oct2014_d2-328x350

Aboriginal Health In Aboriginal Hands :

Hear their stories : In 2015 NACCHO engaged a production team to record and edit interviews with Aboriginal health leaders and community members in approx. 20 urban, rural and remote member locations throughout all states and territories of Australia.

At each site NACCHO has interviewed  board members , CEO’s , medical, Aboriginal Health Workers, Health Promotion Teams and community members. VIEW HERE

NACCHO Newspaper launch April 2016 :Why we need to support Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

New Microsoft Word Document (2)

 

 “Chronic health disease resonates with every Indigenous community and every Indigenous family, where sickness is unfortunately just a way of life. My own childhood was marred by this. I saw my Nan suffering from tuberculosis and diabetes, whilst my grandfathers passed as middle-aged men do, way before their time.

Through the years, my mum constantly educated us about the importance of healthy choices – she worked hard for us to have a choice. She ensured we knew that we had a choice.”

Denning-Orman is a proud Birri & Guugu Yimithirr woman from FNQ and Channel Manager at NITV – nitv.org.au #NITV

Opinion Piece originally published by Daily Life – dailylife.com.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper available as a FREE lift out in Koori Mail 6 April  or as Download HERE or on the Koori Mail APP (see below)

Editorial , Advertising rates and enquiries here

My mum’s name is Lilly. She puts me to shame in many ways. She is a healthy Aboriginal woman, 65 years old and was recently given some rare news from her doctor. Excitedly, he explained that her cholesterol levels had dropped. It’s something that he rarely gets the opportunity to say to older Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people – ‘you’re getting healthier’. But fighting against the norm, Lilly is. She walks everywhere and makes healthy choices – because she can.

My mum uses education, choice and a rock hard determination to not only improve her health, but also the health of our people. Living in Central Queensland, she has dedicated most of her working life as a health worker to improving the lives and experiences of others.

Through the years, my mum constantly educated us about the importance of healthy choices – she worked hard for us to have a choice. She ensured we knew that we had a choice.

I chose an Aboriginal Medical Service for my pre and anti-natal care and for my son to be born with an Aboriginal midwife. It felt right. I chose to put my baby’s and my health into the hands of someone I trusted to have the knowledge and the cultural sensitivity of the issues that confronted us. It is now 45 years since the first Aboriginal Medical Service started up in Redfern.

Since then, there have been numerous examples of Indigenous-controlled health success stories, including the Mums and Babies program at the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services, the ‘Nutrition: at the heart of good health’ initiative by the Jalaris Aboriginal Corporation; the Good Food, Great Kids project at the Yarra Valley Community Health Service and the Healthy Housing Worker program at the Murdi Paaki Regional Housing Corporation.

Whilst these programs are diverse, their commonality is powerful and relevant – local people with the control and empowerment to find solutions at their local level, with successful outcomes for the health issues they confront.

Chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases are the principal causes of early death amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Health professionals agree that improving diet and nutrition is a fundamental starting point to tackling these issues, where removing barriers to obtaining healthy food and promoting healthy nutrition amongst Indigenous families are the key first steps. Indigenous peoples have thousands of years of bush food knowledge bringing healthy and sustainable living – even the farm produce on missions was healthier than the food offered in community stores today.

Our people are very aware of our health. Whilst health indicators tell us we aren’t where we should be, Indigenous health workers are tireless advocates for holistic and preventative healthcare.

The answers to the Indigenous health crisis are clear. Indigenous communities are capable of finding the solutions. Indigenous health workers like my mum are living proof – individuals that are dedicated and working hard to provide solutions. Through improved knowledge of and access to health services, increased resourcing, cultural sensitivity and empowering local communities in the health planning processes, we will significantly improve outcomes.

The health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is unacceptable. From mental health to heart disease and everything in between, it’s a continuing crisis that affects the young and old with no obvious signs of a resolution. Raising awareness of Close the Gap and all it represents is an essential and positive step in the right direction, however, targets need to be achieved by effective action.

Linked closely to other areas of Indigenous disadvantage, Indigenous consultation is imperative in all areas of Closing the Gap. Our people are key to our solutions, as is appropriate funding to ensure that essential services, like water, electricity, education and healthcare are prioritised within communities.

Only then we will see a consistent improvement in health statistics and start to realise the dream of Closing the Gap of life expectancy by 2030.

Only then will we bring about real change so that Lilly’s story won’t stand in isolation.

NACCHO_banner_oct2014_d2-328x350

NACCHO would like to thank NITV for filming our pilot episode of Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service : View here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbwroiJvKvU

The interview with Sol Bellear Redfern AMS chair was just one of the approximately 200 board, staff and community members in up to 20 urban, regional and remote NACCHO member organisations. see Work in Progress here

New Microsoft Word Document 99

“Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands for healthy futures “ was produced and edited by the NACCHO production team of Wayne Quilliam, Yale Macgillivray and Colin Cowell :

Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands for Healthy Futures Exhibition and travelling road show 2016

Find out how you can host this exhibition -see application

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) in partnership with Wayne Quilliam Photography and Yale MacGillivray Editor have developed a visual narrative that has been created to foster awareness, exploration and understanding of “Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands.”

Our exhibition of 24 photographic images, melded with a series of video interviews embedded within the images will stimulate individual thinking and dialogue relating Aboriginal Community Controlled Health.

National Aboriginal Healthy Futures photography and video Exhibition roadshow 2016 will achieve the following objectives:

Healthy Futures Videos will highlight how investing in NACCHO the national authority in comprehensive Aboriginal primary health care and its 150 members will lead to generational change and Close the Gap

Healthy Futures Videos will highlight success stories that our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) are making towards Closing the Gap targets and key priorities in areas such Early Childhood development

Healthy Futures Videos will illustrate how keeping our people well and on the road to good health through our ACCHOs is a key principle objective of NACCHO and all our members.

Healthy Futures Videos will highlight how we achieve this is by working in collaboration with our national partners and stakeholders to address the expansion of our health services and to meet the growing health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in urban, rural and remote Australia

Bookings are now open for 2016

Find out how you can host this exhibition -see application