NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ACCHO Job Opportunities Inc #Nurses #Doctors etc #NT @MiwatjHealth @CAACongress #QLD @ATSICHSBris @IUIH_ @Apunipima @NATSIHWA #Aboriginal Health Workers @IAHA_National Allied Health @CATSINaM #Nursing

This weeks #Jobalerts

Please note  : Before completing a job application please check with the ACCHO that the job is still open

Job of the week 

Tackling Indigenous Smoking Project Officer

About the Organisation

With an administrative hub based in Newman, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, The Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) provides holistic primary health care to the individuals and families within the remote communities of Jigalong, Parnngurr, Punmu and Kunawarritji.

PAMS has over 700 registered clients, with most being Martu. Services offered include health education and promotion programs and initiatives, as well as the monitoring and management of ongoing health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, ante-natal & post-natal care and child health.

About the Programme

The Tackling Indigenous Health (TIS) Programme contributes to closing the gap in Indigenous Health outcomes by reducing tobacco smoking, the most significant risk factor for chronic disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The aim is to implement, monitor and evaluate strategies to reduce the level of smoking, provide culturally appropriate health information related to the risks associated with smoking including passive smoking in local Aboriginal communities.

About the Opportunity

As the Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) Project Officer, you will manage the coordination, planning, development , implementation and evaluation of the TIS Programme in collaboration with Wirraka Maya Health Service Aboriginal

Before applying, please visit http://www.ahcwa.org.au/employment to view the full position description and selection criteria.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged to apply.

Applications close 5pm, Wednesday 23 May 2018

For more information please contact Sarah Calder on 08 6145 1049

More INFO APPLY HERE

More Info apply :

How to submit a Indigenous Health #jobalert ? 

NACCHO Affiliate , Member , Government Department or stakeholders

If you have a job vacancy in Indigenous Health 

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media

Tuesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Wednesday

There are 4 JOBS AT Apunipima Cairns and Cape York

The link to  job vacancies on website is

Mamu Website

Ravenshoe Positions:

RAV-067 Trainee Health Worker_Position Description

RAV-067 MHSL Application Information Package_ May 2018

RAV-066 ATSI Health Worker_3

RAV-066 MHSL APPLICATION INFORMATION PACKAGE _ATSI Health Worker

RAV-060 Registered Nurse_Position Description3

RAV-060 MHSL APPLICATION INFORMATION PACKAGE_May 2018

Innisfail Postions:

IFL-267 Trainee Health Worker

IFL-267 MHSL Application Information Package_ May 2018

IFL-264 ATSI Health Worker_2

IFL-264 MHSL APPLICATION INFORMATION PACKAGE _ATSI Health Worker

IFL-263 ATSI Health Worker_2

IFL-263 MHSL APPLICATION INFORMATION PACKAGE _ATSI Health Worker_May 2018 (003)

IFL 269 Community Liason Officer_Female (002)

IFL 269 MHSL Application Information Package_ May 2018

IFL-261 Sport Rec Officer_Position Description_110518 (003)

IFL-261 MHSL Application Information Package_ Sport and Recreation Officer_270416

 

FOR ALL POSITIONS

APPLICATION CLOSING DATE: FRIDAY 8th JUNE 2018 5.00PM

 

There are 3 JOBS AT IUIH Brisbane

 + Podiatrist (Ongoing Full Time Position based at Windsor) + Care Coordinator Registered Nurse (Ongoing Part Time based at Brisbane North) + Traineeship Coordinator (Ongoing Full Time position based at Windsor)

 There are 11 JOBS at ATSICHS Brisbane

As part of our commitment to providing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of Brisbane with a comprehensive range of primary health care, youth, child safety, mental health, dental and aged care services, we employ approximately 150 people across our locations at Woolloongabba, Woodridge, Northgate, Acacia Ridge, Browns Plains, Eagleby and East Brisbane.

The roles at ATSICHS are diverse and include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Aboriginal Health Workers
  • Registered Nurses
  • Transport Drivers
  • Medical Receptionists
  • Administrative and Management roles
  • Medical professionals
  • Dentists and Dental Assistants
  • Allied Health Staff
  • Support Workers

Current vacancies

Jobs of the week 28 positions in the NT Alice Spring ,Darwin East Arnhem Land and Katherine

There are 7 JOBS at Congress Alice Springs

More info and apply HERE

There are 21 JOBS at Miwatj Health Arnhem Land

More info and apply HERE

There are 5 JOBS at Wurli Katherine

More info and apply HERE

Maternal and Child Health Team Manager

About the Opportunity

Nunkuwarrin Yunti have a rewarding opportunity for a Registered Nurse (RN3) to join their vibrant team as a Maternal and Child Health Team Manager, based in Adelaide, on a full-time basis.

Leading the Strong Mums Solid Kids program the Maternal and Child Health Team Manager will focus on the line management, leadership and coordination activities of team of 6+ staff. With limited professional and management supervision, the Maternal and Child Health Team Manager will achieve continuity and quality of client care and be primarily accountable for the outcomes of practices in the practice setting.

What You Need to Succeed

Our ideal candidate will be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Authority (AHPRA) Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia; and bring the following:

  • Knowledge and an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies and culture and the issues which may impact on maternal child and family wellbeing
  • Proven experience leading a multi-disciplinary team within a professional practice framework, and of a broad range of health professionals
  • Demonstrated experience coordinating and managing service level operations within a comprehensive primary health care context and effectively oversee clinical governance in the area of midwifery and/or child and family health
  • Ability to communicate sensitively and effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and ensure culturally appropriate service delivery
  • Excellent time management skills and the ability to work under pressure in a complex, busy workplace
  • Previous experience working in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service or community primary health care that demonstrate best practice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients will be highly regarded but is not essential.

To view the full position description, please click here.

About the Organisation

Nunkuwarrin Yunti is the foremost Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in Adelaide, South Australia, providing a range of health care and community support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Nunkuwarrin Yunti aims to promote and deliver improvement in the health and well-being of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the greater metropolitan area of Adelaide and advance their social, cultural and economic status.

More info Apply HERE

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Workforce : @AMAPresident launches 5 point plan to build #Ruralhealth workforce

 ” About one third of Australia’s population, approximately 7 million people, live in regional, rural and remote areas. These Australians often have more difficulty accessing health services than urban Australians, leading them to have a lower life expectancy and worse outcomes on leading indicators of health.

Death rates in regional, rural, and remote areas (referred to as ‘rural’ in this document unless otherwise specified) are higher than in major cities, and the rates increase in line with degrees of remoteness.”

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon

Download the AMA Position Statement HERE

AMA Position Statement on Rural Workforce Initiatives

Picture above AIDA : South Australian University’s past and present Australian Rotary Health Indigenous Health scholarship recipients.

(From left: Ian Lee, Jessica Beinke, Bodie Rodman, Olivia O’Donoghue, Kali Hayward, Jonathan Newchurch, Dr Helen Sage and Cheryl Deguara).

 ” Indigenous medical students have three weeks left to apply for the 2018 AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship.
 
Applications close on 31 January for the Scholarship, a program that has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to study medicine since 1994.  The successful applicant will receive $10,000 each year for the duration of their course.
Fewer than 300 doctors working in Australia identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander – representing 0.3 per cent of the workforce – and only 286 Indigenous medical students were enrolled across the nation in 2017.”
 
THREE WEEKS LEFT TO APPLY FOR 2018 AMA INDIGENOUS MEDICAL SCHOLARSHIP see Part 2 Below

Extracts from AMA Submission

There is a strong link between the health of Indigenous people in rural communities and their access to culturally appropriate health services.

The AMA believes that:

  • greater effort should be made to encourage Indigenous people to undertake medical or health professional training, and incentives provided to encourage Indigenous and non-Indigenous doctors and medical trainees to work in rural and remote Indigenous communities;
  • Aboriginal Medical Services should be resourced to offer mentoring and training opportunities in rural Indigenous communities to Indigenous and non-Indigenous medical students and vocational trainees; and
  • training modules, resource material and ongoing advice should be developed for, and delivered to, all medical schools and rural and remote medical practices on Indigenous health issues, Indigenous-specific health initiatives and culturally appropriate service delivery.

Addressing the mal-distribution of the workforce

There are a number of fundamental reasons why rural areas are not getting their fair share of the medical workforce. These include:

  • inadequate remuneration;
  •  work intensity including long hours and demanding rosters;
  •  lifestyle factors;
  •  professional isolation and lack of critical mass of similar doctors;
  •  reduced access to professional development;
  • reduced access to locum support;
  •  hospital closures and downgrading or withdrawal of other health services;
  •  under-representation of students from a rural background;
  •  poor employment opportunities for other family members, particularly partners;
  •  limited educational opportunities for other family members; and
  •  withdrawal of community services, such as banking, from such areas.

In 2016 the AMA conducted a Rural Health Issues Survey, which sought input from rural doctors across Australia to identify key solutions to improving rural health care.

The almost 600 doctors who took part in the survey said extra funding and resources to support the recruitment and retention of doctors and other health professionals was their top priority in trying to meet the health care needs of their patients.

Doctors also said that for there to be genuine improvements in access to health care for rural patients, there needed to be:

  •  funding and resources to support improved staffing levels and workable rosters for rural doctors;
  •  access to high speed broadband;
  •  investment in hospital facilities and equipment and practice infrastructure;
  •  expanded opportunities for medical training and education in rural areas;
  • improved support for GP proceduralists; and
  •  better access to locum relief.

AMA Press Release 9 January 2018

At least one-third of all new medical students should be from rural backgrounds, and more medical students should be required to do at least one year of training in a rural area to encourage graduates to live and work in regional Australia, the AMA says.

The AMA today released its Position Statement – Rural Workforce Initiatives, a comprehensive five-point plan to encourage more doctors to work in rural and remote locations, and improve patient access to care.

The plan proposes initiatives in education and training, rural generalist pathways, work environments, support for doctors and their families, and financial incentives.

“About seven million Australians live in regional, rural, and remote areas, and they often have more difficulty accessing health services than their city cousins,” AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today.

“They often have to travel long distances for care, and rural hospital closures and downgrades are seriously affecting the future delivery of health care in rural areas. For example, more than 50 per cent of small rural maternity units have been closed in the past two decades.

“Australia does not need more medical schools or more medical school places. Workforce projections suggest that Australia is heading for an oversupply of doctors.

“Targeted initiatives to increase the size of the rural medical, nursing, and allied health workforce are what is required.

“There has been a considerable increase in the number of medical graduates in recent years, but more than three-quarters of locally trained graduates live in capital cities.

“International medical graduates (IMGs) make up more than 40 per cent of the rural medical workforce and while they do excellent work, we must reduce this reliance and build a more sustainable system.”

The AMA Rural Workforce Initiatives plan outlines five key areas where Governments and other stakeholders must focus their policy efforts:

·         Encourage students from rural areas to enrol in medical school, and provide medical students with opportunities for positive and continuing exposure to regional/rural medical training;

·         Provide a dedicated and quality training pathway with the right skill mix to ensure doctors are adequately trained to work in rural areas;

·         Provide a rewarding and sustainable work environment with adequate facilities, professional support and education, and flexible work arrangements, including locum relief;

·         Provide family support that includes spousal opportunities/employment, educational opportunities for children’s education, subsidies for housing/relocation and/or tax relief; and

·         Provide financial incentives to ensure competitive remuneration.

“Rural workforce policy must reflect the evidence. Doctors who come from a rural background, or who spend time training in a rural area, are more likely to take up long-term practice in a rural location,” Dr Gannon said.

“Selecting a greater proportion of medical students with a rural background, and giving medical students and graduates an early taste of rural practice, can have a profound effect on medical workforce distribution.

“Our proposals to lift both the targeted intake of rural medical students and the proportion of medical students required to undertake at least one year of clinical training in a rural area from 25 per cent to 33 per cent are built on this approach.

“More Indigenous people must be encouraged to train and work in health care, as there is a strong link between the health of Indigenous people in rural areas and their access to culturally appropriate health services.

“Fixing rural medical workforce shortages requires a holistic approach that takes into account not only the needs of the doctor, but also their immediate family members.

“Many doctors who work in rural areas find the medicine to be very rewarding, but their partner may not be able to find suitable employment, and educational opportunities for their children may be limited.

“The work environment for rural doctors presents unique challenges, and Governments must work collaboratively to attract a sustainable health workforce. This includes rural hospitals having modern facilities and equipment that support doctors in providing the best possible care for patients and maintaining their own skills.

“Finally, more effort must be made to improve internet services in regional and rural areas, given the difficulties of running a practice or practising telehealth with inadequate broadband.

“All Australians deserve equitable access to high-speed broadband, and rural doctors and their families should not miss out on the benefits that the growing use of the internet is bringing.”

The AMA Position Statement – Rural Workforce Initiatives is available at https://ama.com.au/position-statement/rural-workforce-initiatives-2017

Background:

·         Most Australians live in major cities (70 per cent), while 18 per cent live in inner regional areas, 9 per cent in outer regional areas, and 2.4 per cent in both remote and very remote areas.

·         Life expectancy is lower for people in regional and remote Australia. Compared with major cities, the life expectancy in regional areas is one to two years lower, and in remote areas is up to seven years lower.

·         The age standardised rate of the burden of disease increases with increasing remoteness, with very remote areas experiencing 1.7 times the rate for major cities.

·         Coronary heart disease, suicide, COPD, and cancer show a clear trend of greater rates of burden in rural and remote areas.

·         The number of medical practitioners, particularly specialists, steadily decreases with increasing rurality. The AIHW reports that while the number of full time workload equivalent doctors per 100,000 population in major cities is 437, there were 272 in outer regional areas, and only 264 in very remote areas.

·         Rural medical practitioners work longer hours than those in major cities. In 2012, GPs in major cities worked 38 hours per week on average, while those in inner regional areas worked 41 hours, and those in remote/very remote areas worked 46 hours.

·         The average age of rural doctors in Australia is nearing 55 years, while the average age of remaining rural GP proceduralists – rural GP anaesthetists, rural GP obstetricians and rural GP surgeons – is approaching 60 years.

·         International medical graduates (IMGs) now make up over 40 per cent of the medical workforce in rural and remote areas.

·         There is a health care deficit of at least $2.1 billion in rural and remote areas, reflecting chronic underspend of Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (MBS) and publicly-provided allied health services.

Part 2 Update

THREE WEEKS LEFT TO APPLY FOR 2018 AMA INDIGENOUS MEDICAL SCHOLARSHIP
 
Indigenous medical students have three weeks left to apply for the 2018 AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship.
Applications close on 31 January for the Scholarship, a program that has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to study medicine since 1994.
The successful applicant will receive $10,000 each year for the duration of their course.
Fewer than 300 doctors working in Australia identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander – representing 0.3 per cent of the workforce – and only 286 Indigenous medical students were enrolled across the nation in 2017.
 
“The significant gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is a national disgrace that must be tackled by all levels of Government, the private and corporate sectors, and all segments of our community,” AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today.
 
“It’s evident that Indigenous people have a greater chance of improved health outcomes when they are treated by Indigenous doctors and health professionals.
 
“Indigenous people are more likely to make and keep medical appointments when they are confident that they will be treated by someone who understands their culture, their language, and their unique circumstances
“The AMA strongly encourages Indigenous students to apply for the Scholarship, which, along with the AMA’s annual Report Card on Indigenous Health and the work of the AMA Taskforce on Indigenous Health, is part of the AMA’s commitment to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.”
 
Previous winners have gone on to become prominent leaders in health and medicine, including Associate Professor Kelvin Kong, Australia’s first Aboriginal surgeon.
 
Applicants must be currently enrolled at an Australian medical school, be in at least their first year of medicine, and be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent. Further information, including the application form, can be found at https://www.ama.com.au/indigenous-medical-scholarship-2018
 
The AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship was established in 1994 with a contribution from the Commonwealth Government. The AMA is seeking further donations and sponsorships from individuals and corporations to continue this important contribution to Indigenous health.
 
More information is available at https://ama.com.au/donate-indigenous-medical-scholarship. For enquiries, please contact the AMA via email at indigenousscholarship@ama.com.au or phone (02) 6270 5400.

 

NACCHO congratulates the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association #AIDAconf2017 @AIDAAustralia for 2O years of strong leadership

 ” Since the first Indigenous doctor graduated in 1983, more than 300 other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have gone onto become doctors.

The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) has played an important role in contributing to the growth of this critical workforce through the strong support it provides Indigenous doctors and medical students,

This week AIDA will celebrate its 20th anniversary during its annual conference starting today .

A recent commitment to work with the Australian Government, National Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) will see further improvements in health systems capabilities to deliver appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples “

Karen Wyld is covering the #AIDAconf2017 conference for the Croakey Conference News Service 

Picture above : AIDA emerged from a conference of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander medical students and doctors in 1997

You can read some of the stories of its members in this publication

Download PDF Journeys into Medicine

AIDA Journeys-

Watch recent interview with Dr Mark Wenitong on NACCHO TV

Watch recent interview with Dr Ngiare Brown  on NACCHO TV

Karen Wyld is covering the conference for the Croakey Conference News Service and provides a comprehensive preview below. Karen Wyld is an author, consultant and freelance writer from South Australia. Of Aboriginal descent (Martu), she has a background in community development, social/health research, health workforce training, and Aboriginal community-controlled health. ( See  full info below )

Family Unity Success – 20 years strong,

This week, there will be more than a few doctors in the house at Cypress Lakes Resort in Pokolbin, New South Wales, when the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) holds its annual conference.

This year’s AIDA conference theme is Family Unity Success – 20 years strong, which is well reflected in the program. Featuring VIP guest speakers, informative sessions with inspiring leaders in health, and numerous cultural activities and networking opportunities, the program runs from Wednesday 20 through to Saturday 23 September 2017.

From little things, big things grow

AIDA is a strong, supportive network of over 500 doctors, medical students, and partner organisations. This year’s conference will be its biggest ever, with more than 360 registered delegates and speakers.

AIDA emerged from a conference of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander medical students and doctors in 1997. That inaugural event was held at Salamander Bay in the Hunter region of NSW. And in 2017 AIDA returns to NSW, this time Hunter Valley, for their 20th year celebration.

Since its inception, AIDA has been achieving its goals of contributing to equitable health and life outcomes and the cultural wellbeing of Indigenous people by reaching population parity of Indigenous medical graduates and supporting a culturally safe health care system.

The culturally-appropriate high-level support that AIDA provides members, especially Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander medical students, is both a contributing factor to the association’s success and to an expanding Indigenous health workforce.

With a Secretariat led by CEO Craig Dukes, AIDA continues to grow from its base in Old Parliament House Canberra. The Board of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander doctors and a student Director provide direction to the Secretariat.

AIDA’s Student Representative Committee (SRC) is another means of supporting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander medical students. With representatives from most Australian medical universities, the SRC provides advice to AIDA on initiatives to support Indigenous medical students to succeed in their studies and personal career aspirations.

Through strengthening collaboration with key medical bodies and colleges, AIDA continues to influence the Australian health care system to work towards strategic changes within provision of health services for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Conference highlights

Starting on Wednesday 20 September, with member-only sessions and the AGM, this year’s AIDA conference has plenty to offer delegates. In the morning, James Wilson Miller and Laurie Perry of the Wonnarua Nation will conduct the welcome to Country. Dr Kali Hayward, AIDA President, and Dr Louis Peachey, AIDA Life Member, will present a session on the history of AIDA, and the vision for its future.

The agenda will be complemented with cultural activities, including a dance workshop and yarning circles. The day will finish with an evening gathering that includes a smoking ceremony, dance performances, unveiling of art, and Indigenous astronomy.

With renowned journalist and filmmaker Dr Jeff McMullen as MC, Thursday and Friday’s agenda has many informative sessions and skills-based workshops. AIDA has also attracted many Australian and international special guest speakers, including:

  • The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Minister for Indigenous Health
  • Senator Richard Di Natale, Leader of the Australian Greens
  • Professor Tom Calma, AO National Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking, and Consultant to Commonwealth Health
  • Associate Papaarangi Reid, Deputy Dean Maori, Tumuaki, University of Auckland
  • Dr Michael Gannon, President of the Australian Medical Association
  • Mr Philip Truskett AM, Chair-Elect of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges, and AIDA Patron
  • Dr Martina Kamaka, Associate Professor, Department of Native Hawaiian Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine
  • Dr Nathan Joseph, Chairperson, Te Ora

A presentation by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council Ngangakaris on Thursday is another highlight in an agenda that features Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives of health and wellbeing, and cultural activities.

Thursday evening, AIDA’s SRC will be hosting a networking event with sponsorship from National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA). And on Friday night the Platinum Gala Dinner and awards ceremony will be held, MCed by Steven Oliver, Aboriginal writer, performer and comedian.

On the Saturday, an optional tour of Baiame Cave is offered to delegate and guests, or a choice of three specialised professional development workshops.

Moving forward with cultural safety

After presenting a VIP address in the plenary session on the Friday, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP will be participating in the Cultural Safety Panel. With his previous experience working within the health sector, and current appointment of Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, Minister Wyatt’s contribution to this panel will be a conference highlight.

The cultural safety panel builds on recent work that AIDA has conducted in strengthening cultural competency within the Australian health sector. In 2016, AIDA conducted a survey to collate feedback from members on incidents of bullying, racism and lateral violence in the workplace. AIDA is now working on strategies to address the key issues that arose from the survey report.

A recent commitment to work with the Australian Government, National Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) will see further improvements in health systems capabilities to deliver appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Presidential perspectives

Dr Kali Hayward, AIDA President, is looking forward to celebrating the 20th year milestone with fellow AIDA members, by reliving AIDA’s history and acknowledging those who have contributed to its success.

Since the first Indigenous medical graduate in 1983, there are now over 300 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander doctors, specialists and surgeons. AIDA’s strong support of the Indigenous medical workforce and mentoring of Indigenous students in medicine has contributed to this outstanding growth in the number of medical practitioners.

Hayward acknowledges the supporting environment that AIDA’s conferences provide Indigenous medical students, and speaks highly of the Growing Our Fellows session. This provides Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander medical students an opportunity to have a one to one conversation with a representative from fifteen medical colleges. With strong competition to get into college training programs, this is unique opportunity for students to discuss their career pathways through medicine.

Whilst the CEO and Secretariat have worked tirelessly to ensure this year’s conference will be special, AIDA’s strong reputation has meant that they received many offers of support. This has resulted in an enviable conference program. Dr Hayward says that AIDA is very appreciative of people giving their time, with many VIP speakers and guests eager to celebrate the 20th milestone.

Hayward also stated that she “…is very proud to be the current President. Proud of the students, and other AIDA members. And proud to be able to help create a safe environment for students and doctors to come together.”

Looking at how far AIDA has come since 1997, there is much to be proud of, and many examples of Family Unity Success to celebrate at the conference.

Join the conversation

Karen Wyld is covering the #AIDAconf2017 for the Croakey Conference News Service

Please join the conversations arising during and after the conference.

Karen Wyld is an author, consultant and freelance writer from South Australia. Of Aboriginal descent (Martu), she has a background in community development, social/health research, health workforce training, and Aboriginal community-controlled health. She currently has a draft novel long-listed for the 2017 Richell Prize. Read her recent articles for Al Jazeera, Monumental Errors, and for @IndigenousX: Ongoing administrative errors afflict the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. Follow on Twitter:  @1karenwyld

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #HealthBudget2017 : Peak Indigenous bodies and Opposition parties respond to #Budget2017

 ” Treasurer Scott Morrison says the 2017 Budget will show that the Government understands the frustrations of many Australians.

For Indigenous Australians, the greatest frustration is the slow pace of change in closing the gap in disadvantage, and the continuation of poor health and wellbeing.

The Australian Government must commit to a new relationship and genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decisions made about Indigenous Australians; decisions that address housing, health, education, justice, disability and representation.

If the Government is serious about closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, it is essential that secure, long term funding be allocated to:

 1.Building the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical workforce;

 2.Resourcing the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 (NATSIHP); and

3. Tackling and abolishing racism in the Australian health system.”

Does the 2017 Budget show that the Government understands the frustrations of Indigenous Australians? Questions  the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association see article 2 below

 ” Peak Indigenous groups have responded to the federal budget, saying its new measures are out of touch and fail to reach real solutions for Indigenous Australians .

National Congress of Australia’s First People Co-Chair Rod Little says Indigenous people are invisible. “

From NITV The Point report Nakari Thorpe ( see article 1 Below )

In February of this year the Prime Minister reported that only one of the six targets that have been set for closing the gap is on track, and those targets don’t go near representing all of the social and economic issues that need addressing.”

The government is failing to adequately address the disadvantage experienced by the nation’s First Peoples, failing to inject any sense of urgency in turning around these issues, and failing to listen to, and work with First Peoples,

That government needs listen to, and work with, First Peoples to accelerate progress is unquestionable, but nowhere is the urgency to do that evident in this Budget.”

If the government can afford to build a dozen multi-billion dollar submarines, or give tax cuts to corporations, it can afford to address the wellbeing of just 3% of the population, and the First Peoples of the land,”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights organisation ANTaR today expressed dismay at the lack of urgency and substance in the Federal Budget to address the ongoing disadvantage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. (see article 3 below )

“The 2017 budget fails to deliver for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians,” leader of the opposition Bill Shorten, Senator Patrick Dodson, Warren Snowden, Linda Burney and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said in a joint statement.

While the budget includes piecemeal proposals for better employment and health outcomes, there is no comprehensive strategy to make progress on the stalled Closing the Gap targets, or to address other longstanding issues such as the incarceration crisis.

The budget also fails to secure the future of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples with proper funding. Congress is our independent, elected, national Indigenous representative body – it must be respected and resourced.

The government’s entire approach to Indigenous affairs is defined by savage cuts to services, a loss of local control, a failure to listen to Indigenous voices, and policy-making which is paternalistic and overly bureaucratic.”

 Leader of the opposition Bill Shorten, Senator Patrick Dodson, Warren Snowden, Linda Burney and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said in a joint statement.

Download Full Press Release here Labor Budget 2017

“Whatever happened to Prime Minister Turnbull’s flagship health reform? This time last year Malcolm was out there spruiking his Health Care Homes initiative to revolutionise Medicare for chronic disease, yet last night we saw the funding for this initiative cut and kicked two years down the road while trial sites are delayed until October.

“Not only are they unpicking their own reform program designed to treat people with chronic illnesses, there is next to nothing for programs to help prevent Australians developing debilitating chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease in the first place, particularly in children.

In case there was any doubt, this budget also confirms this Government has no commitment to Closing the Gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health.”

Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the budget largely unaddressed: Greens

The Treasurer might have vaguely mentioned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in his budget speech, but the detail doesn’t back up the rhetoric, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“What you don’t see included in the budget papers can be just as concerning as what you do include.

This is definitely the case for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the 2017 Federal Budget.

“There is no commitment resources to the Redfern statement, this is despite it being a document backed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and peoples as essential to close the gap.

“The Redfern Statement is a strong blueprint to close the gap and finally reconciling our First Peoples but remains unaddressed by the Federal Government, who keep saying they will listen but then don’t.

“There is also no addition funding for National Congress of Australia’s First People. At the moment that team are under resourced, having had their funding cut in a previous budget, they need more funding desperately.

“The Abbott Government gutted half a billion from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander funding when they rolled out the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. Although there has been a marginal increase, it does not come close to topping that money back up to original levels.

“When key markers to Close the Gap continue to go backwards, and the Minister is scratching his head as to why, perhaps it is because they removed a lot of money and pushed many of the services to be mainstream rather than Aboriginal-led.

“The Government should actually listen to the host of Aboriginal voices who are offering solutions to reduce disadvantage and reconcile with our First Peoples. We need to be moving forwards, not backwards”.

Article 1 : From NITV The Point report Nakari Thorpe 

Indigenous peak bodies have converged on Canberra this week to respond to the federal budget, announced on Tuesday night by Treasurer Scott Morrison.

View NITV Interview Here

They say the Turnbull Government is out of touch and many of its measures affecting Indigenous Australians are not enough. They’re calling on the Coalition to work with First Nations peoples to reach real solutions.

National Congress of Australia’s First People Co-Chair Rod Little says Indigenous people are invisibile.

“We should be featuring more prominently in a national budget,” he said.

Congress Co-Chair Jackie Huggins agrees.

“We have been lumped in with a whole range of the people and really buried under those statistics,” she said.

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care CEO, Gerry Moore, says the budget fails Indigenous children.

“This isn’t anywhere near enough and the government need to think seriously about the children of our future, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,” he said.

NATSILS CEO Cheryl Axleby says while she welcomes the coalition’s reversal of cuts to community legal centres, she warns against action stopping there.

“We’re calling for a justice target, in line with the Closing the Gap targets, we need to have a focus on justice if we really want to see solutions to addressing this issue in Australia,” she said.

Damien Griffis, from the First People’s Disability Network, says the Medicare price hike to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme is not enough.

He says an Aboriginal-owned and operated disability service system is needed.

“That needs to happen urgently. It needed to happen yesterday frankly, so that we can get equal and fair access to the NDIS,” he said.

Labor MP Linda Burney says the Government’s economic blueprint neglects Indigenous Australians.

“It has no vision, it does not anticipate the real issues that are coming up for the Aboriginal space. It also is going to put more money into the pockets of bureaucracies and consultants not out there on the ground where it’s needed,” she told NITV News.

Article 2 Does the 2017 Budget show that the Government understands the frustrations of Indigenous Australians?

Download the AIDA Press Release Australian Indigenous Doctors Assoc Budget 2017

Treasurer Scott Morrison says the 2017 Budget will show that the Government understands the frustrations of many Australians. For Indigenous Australians, the greatest frustration is the slow pace of change in closing the gap in disadvantage, and the continuation of poor health and wellbeing.

The announcement to lift the freeze on Medicare rebates and increase the Medicare levy is encouraging for disadvantaged Australians. The lift allowing GP’s to charge more for their services, will hopefully see bulk-billing practices remain operational or increase in number, and the increase to the levy to provide long term secure funding for the NDIS is wanted.

AIDA welcomes the announcement of the Indigenous Research Fund but would have preferred more commitment to resourcing existing Indigenous health programs and service delivery. We also welcome the budget measures that are specifically aimed at closing the employment gap, but we more commitment around the other health targets in needed.

It has also been promising to see measures to enhance the delivery and relevance of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. We note that it has already been reviewed by a Senate committee and the Australian National Audit Office and look forward to the implementation of the recommendations contained in those reports.

The Australian Government must commit to a new relationship and genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decisions made about Indigenous Australians; decisions that address housing, health, education, justice, disability and representation.

Article 3 ANTAR

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights organisation ANTaR  suggested what could be funded immediately to start to signal that government is taking the health and wellbeing of First Peoples seriously.

1. Restoring previous funding levels to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples as the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

2. Funding the establishment of peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and education organisations to provide a national voice for those issues

3. Provide sufficient funding for the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023

4. Fund the development of a long-term National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Cultural Determinants of Health Strategy

5. Fund a national Inquiry into institutional racism in the health system

6. Prioritise disability services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including through making disability a priority in the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and quarantine an equitable share entitlement of the NDIS according to need

7. Ensure adequate funding for Aboriginal Family Violence Protection Legal Services, including through allocating funding to ensure there is national coverage (regardless of geographic location) of FVPLS services.

8. Ensure funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) that is able to meet the level of need, including through implementing the Productivity Commission’s Recommendation from its Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry Report to provide an additional $120 million of Commonwealth funding to the Legal Assistance sector.

 

NACCHO Member and Stakeholders support #closingthegap #RedfernStatement : Our community voices are key to Closing the Gap

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Yesterday ninth Closing the Gap Report highlighted the health challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.Included in this NACCHO post are support press releases from a wide range of NACCHO members and stakeholders : 

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 ” The report identifies small gains that are being made by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations such as Apunipima, however with the targets looking increasingly out of reach we urge government to work more closely with communities and look at serious reforms to give us a chance to close the health gap between mainstream and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We urge the government to listen and work with the community who know what is needed for themselves and their families.

We know that mainstream services do not deliver the outcomes we are all looking for and this report is further evidence that community led and community driven services are the way forward for better health outcomes in community.

Community is central to any debate about the future of our health services “

Apunipima Cape York Health Council CEO Cleveland Fagan pictured above with Dr Mark Wenitong

Read Download full press release Apunipima

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Read recent AMA Report card Indigenous Health

Read NACCHO Press Release referred to by Dr Michael Gannon AMA President

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 “ The Redfern Statement was developed on 9 June 2016 and the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) are one of the 18 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations leading this statement and calling for Government action. Members of AIDA were proud to be in the Great Hall at Parliament House for this significant occasion.

AIDA looks forward to working with other Redfern Statement signatory peaks and senior State and Territory Government representatives between March and July at the Redfern Statement Workshops and participating in the National First People Summit in August/September later this year.

Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA)

Read Download full press release aida

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“It is a continuing tragedy that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still suffer from poorer health outcomes and a shorter life expectancy than non Indigenous Australians.

While the reasons for this are complex and include a range of socioeconomic and other factors, it is certainly the case in the healthcare system that much more can be done.

For example, we have a continuing lack of access in many locations to culturally appropriate health services. Understandably, the availability of culturally appropriate healthcare often makes the difference between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients going to see a doctor or other health professional, or not going at all.

And while there are increased opportunities for cultural competency training within our medical and other health courses, more consistent access for medical and health students (particularly non Indigenous students) to this critical training is needed for them to have the skills and knowledge required to communicate effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee

Read Download full press release 2-rural-doctors

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“While we have seen positive signs for health, including improvements in numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers not smoking during pregnancy and babies born with a low birthweight, we are still falling behind when it comes to achieving the target of halving the gap in child mortality by 2018,

One of the key priorities for our organisation is improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which is demonstrated to worsen with increasing remoteness.

Mr Butt also stressed that while many of these issues are not new, they are even more pressing in isolated areas given approximately 65% of Aboriginal people live outside Australia’s major cities.

We need greater focus on improving child health, education, and wellbeing and to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to give them the best start in life. It should involve a holistic early childhood strategy which informs high quality, locally responsive and culturally appropriate programs supported by stable, long term funding.”

The NRHA continues to work closely with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander member bodies to achieve these outcomes,” .

NRHA CEO, David Butt, while progress has been seen in some areas, the rates of infant mortality were no longer on target and this was of concern.

Read Download full press release national-rural-health

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 ” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians pay a heavy price for this collective national failure.

The first peoples live with worse health and education outcomes, fewer employment opportunities, inadequate housing options and the lasting effects of intergenerational trauma.

The flawed design and delivery of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy reminds us that paternalism does not work. We cannot ignore the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, or impose solutions instead of working with communities.

We need a new approach – an approach that listens to first Australians, gives them a stronger voice that they control, and recognises that they have the solutions.

We need a new approach that fosters hope that builds on a sense of belonging. An approach built on respect, recognition and resources.

Labor calls on the Government to heed local voices, to empower communities, and to prioritise what works.

The $500 million in cuts to programs and frontline services has had a very real and damaging impact. Despite a promise that there would be no jobs or services lost, the opposite is true. Cutting funding from local providers doesn’t foster independence, it undermines hope. “

The Hon Bill Shorten Shadow Minister for Indigenous affairs together we signed the malarndirri McCarthy Senator Dodson & Jenny Macklin

Read Download full press release labor

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The Close the Gap report now showing that child mortality rates are not on track is a dismal reflection on the Government’s half-hearted and under-funded attempts to end Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.

One of the targets is on track to Close the Gap for our First Peoples. Just one. How has the Government let it get to this stage?

“I have witnessed many Closing the Gap reports in my time as a Senator but this year’s report is particularly devastating. Unfortunately it is not surprising.

“When they ripped half a billion dollars out of the sector, leaders, Aboriginal organisations and service deliverers knew the impacts would be real. This is now reflected in this report. This highlights why the Government needs to adopt the Redfern Statement’s Engagement Approach.

“Falling behind on child mortality rates means that the Government’s failure to act in this space is costing lives.

Senator Rachel Siewert – Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues  . President met with & today to discuss priorities in health for 2017

Read Download full press release greens

Please note at time of publications no other political parties had issued Closing the Gap Press releases

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : The Role of Doctors in Closing the Gap AIDA Policy Statement 2016

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“AIDA maintains that Aboriginal Community Controlled health services (ACCHSs) are best placed to deliver this care, and should be adequately resourced with well-trained staff to do so.

Additionally, constraints on funding and staffing mean that while around 140 ACCHSs provide placements situated within a primary health care model for medical students and trainee doctors, filling such placements is a significant logistical challenge. “

This is compounded by the lack of recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health as an identifiable specialty, which has broader adverse impacts on health service delivery.

From the AIDA Policy Statement 2016 Download for all references

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The Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) recognises the importance of well-trained and culturally safe doctors in providing appropriate health care, and in turn, working towards closing the gap in the unacceptable health disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

In 2016 – the 10 year anniversary of the commencement of the Close the Gap Campaign for Indigenous Health Equality; it is timely to reflect on the contribution doctors have made, and continue to make to this campaign and some of the ongoing challenges to meeting the targets.

Fostering the growth of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical workforce is imperative in improving Indigenous health outcomes. This can be achieved through both increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors, as well as ensuring the provision of culturally safe health services.

Close the Gap in 2016: An overview of progress and challenges

Although there has been a significant reduction in adult and child Indigenous mortality rates over the period 1998-2014, the target to close the gap in overall Indigenous life expectancy by 2031 is not on track1. As of 2010-12, the life expectancy for Indigenous men was 69.1 years (a gap of 10.6 years from that of non-Indigenous men), and 73.7 years for Indigenous women (a gap of 9.5 years from that of non-Indigenous women).

While the gap in avoidable deaths has narrowed 27% from 1998 to 2012; over the period 2008-2012, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still died at three times the rate of non-Indigenous people from avoidable diseases.

These gaps indicate that much more needs to be done to ensure that culturally and clinically appropriate care is given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all stages of life and AIDA recognises the critical role doctors can play in redressing this broader systemic need.

AIDA supports long-term and sustainable measures that focus on improved health outcomes, noting that it takes time for investments in health and changes in policy to produce statistically measurable improvements.

For example; the uptake of health assessments by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the period July 2009 to June 2014 has nearly tripled, which demonstrates the positive impact that needs-based health policy can have.

Why aren’t we there yet?

There is still a long way to go to fulfil the Close the Gap targets. AIDA notes that ongoing challenges and barriers to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also impacting on opportunities to really close the gap.

Systemic barriers and the health workforce

Accessible, consistent and culturally safe primary and specialist health care needs to be available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across rural, regional and urban areas of Australia. AIDA is aware of the ongoing challenges around recruitment and retention of staff for health services across the country with challenges impacting on urban, rural and remote areas.

This includes particular challenges around attracting the right candidates to take up placements outside urban areas. Short-term workforce solutions in primary and specialist health care delivery for Indigenous populations are just that; closing the gap requires a well-planned and adequately resourced health workforce that both responds to the professional development and training needs of health workers, but is also well-equipped to deal with the complex and generally higher needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

AIDA recognises that the entire spectrum of the health workforce from primary care through to hospital and specialist medical care has a responsibility to not only understand the critical health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but also have the skills and training to provide appropriate, meaningful and effective care to address the health needs of our communities.

Part of providing effective and culturally safe treatment involves practitioners forming long-term relationships with the communities which they serve.

AIDA maintains that Aboriginal Community Controlled health services (ACCHSs) are best placed to deliver this care, and should be adequately resourced with well-trained staff to do so. Additionally, constraints on funding and staffing mean that while around 140 ACCHSs provide placements situated within a primary health care model for medical students and trainee doctors, filling such placements is a significant logistical challenge. This is compounded by the lack of recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health as an identifiable specialty, which has broader adverse impacts on health service delivery.

Chronic disease management

Chronic disease accounts for around three quarters of the gap in mortality rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians. Responding to chronic diseases requires committed investment in the promotion and support of healthy lifestyle behaviours by health care service providers9. Although both mainstream health centres and ACCHSs have a role to play in addressing chronic disease, the latter have proved to offer equal if not better care regarding prevention and management.

Aboriginal health services are better positioned to provide the support and information required by Indigenous patients for the management of chronic disease within their specific cultural context, as a part of holistic and culturally appropriate health care. However, the Closing the Gap Campaign Steering Committee has noted inadequate government spending on ACCHSs, which is not reflective of greater health needs.

This means that ACCHSs remain underfunded, despite the crucial role they have to play in closing the gap in Indigenous health outcomes related to chronic disease.

Mental health and suicide

AIDA notes with great concern that between 2008 and 2012, suicide was the leading cause of death due to external causes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, reflecting a lack of targeted interventions to promote mental health wellbeing for Indigenous people. AIDA reinforces the recommendation made in the 2012 and 2013 National Report Cards on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention that mental health be included as a distinct target in the Closing the Gap campaign.

This additional measure provides much-needed recognition of the profound effects of intergenerational trauma on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, such as that experienced by the Stolen Generations and the flow-on effects to health outcomes today.

General Practitioners are often the first point of contact for people experiencing mental health issues and play a critical role in early intervention and ongoing management. As such – primary health services, hospitals and other service delivery agencies, must be well staffed and resourced to provide optimal mental health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. AIDA advocates for increased resourcing across all areas of the health system that respond to mental health needs, to deliver culturally appropriate services and programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Government policy and funding

AIDA maintains that the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 (Implementation Plan) is the road map to closing the gap on the unacceptable health disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians.

As the Implementation Plan was developed through the National Health Leadership Forum and with bipartisan support, AIDA calls for adequate resourcing through appropriate budget measures and targeted policy development and implementation as required.

AIDA hopes to see Commonwealth funding for medical Specialist Training Programs (STP) at minimum, maintained at current levels with a view to increasing over time based on evidence concerning greatest areas of need. This is an important aspect to broader closing the gap objectives, as STP funding enables junior doctors be seconded to areas where they can both provide services and receive relevant training and skills development in the broader context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs.

Further, AIDA is also supportive of the call from the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee for a new approach to government health funding based on equity, where a mechanism for allocation is developed to ensure an equitable share of mainstream funding that is both proportionate and reflective of Indigenous health needs.

The Case for Parity: Increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors

Indigenous clinicians can only serve a small number of Indigenous patients on one day, but can potentially influence a whole generation of students.

AIDA’s goal is to reach population parity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors, and to ensure that Indigenous medical students, junior doctors, and trainees are successful in their education and training.

The current level of representation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population within the cohort of Australian doctors is well below population parity, which is roughly 3%18. According to the Department of Health, in 2014, 261 out of the 85,510 employed medical practitioners in Australia- or 0.31%19- identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Reaching population parity would require the addition of approximately 2,300 more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors to this cohort.

In 2015, the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand reported a total of 265 currently enrolled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students at all year levels. AIDA’s aim is to support and grow this group of future doctors, with the dual goal of parity and cultural safety.

Although we are working hard to reach these targets – parity in number of Indigenous doctors should not be the final objective. AIDA envisions a health workforce that is adequately trained and resourced to meaningfully respond to the diverse, complex and often higher health needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

Working towards a culturally safe health system that is free of racism

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 (Health Plan) states that both cultural factors and racism are determinants in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people21. The Health Plan includes acknowledgement that the incidence of racism in the delivery of health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contributes to low rates of access to health services, echoing the sentiment of AIDA’s 2013 position paper on cultural safety .

In a recent study on the health impacts of discrimination, it was found that racial discrimination negatively impacts upon Indigenous peoples’ health care seeking behaviour; on how Indigenous clients gain and pass on knowledge about their health; and on Indigenous mental health3. Accordingly, AIDA affirms Strategy 1B in the Implementation Plan, which specifically refers to eliminating racism against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the health system.

Heath care service providers must be cognisant of the need for patient-centred holistic care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

The Australian Government’s 2014 report on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (Health Performance Framework) identifies that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health indicators must go beyond quantifying levels of morbidity and mortality, and incorporate physical, mental, social, and spiritual components of health.

In practical terms, this means that when providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, doctors should be trained to ask questions in an appropriate manner, be mindful of complexities in patient histories, know how to access additional support if required, and develop culturally appropriate treatments and follow-up plans.

A key indicator of the current poor levels of cultural safety in health care delivery within the hospital setting is the unacceptable rate of discharge against medical advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. In the two years to June 2013, as reported in the Health Performance Framework, the rate of discharge against medical advice for Indigenous patients was eight times that of non-Indigenous patients.

This equates to around 5% of all Indigenous hospitalisations in the period July 2011 to June 2013 resulting in discharge against medical advice, as compared to the non-Indigenous rate of 0.5%27. This rate illustrates that hospital services are not meeting the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to the same extent as the needs of non-Indigenous patients. The Health Performance Framework states:

Indigenous status was the single most significant variable contributing to whether a patient would discharge themselves from hospital against medical advice.

From this data – it is clearly evident that cultural safety training for doctors and hospital staff, and the importance of recognising patients’ cultural needs, will directly contribute towards closing the gap in Indigenous health outcomes.

AIDA supporting doctors in closing the gap

Growing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctor workforce, and shaping a culturally safe health care system more broadly, is a dynamic and long-term process. All stages of the medical education and training continuum have a part to play, and this is recognised in the AIDA 2020 Strategic Plan.

AIDA has an important role in influencing better training and curriculum outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and the entire medical workforce.

AIDA is working to support Indigenous medical students by promoting pathways into and through medicine, through our university engagement, the AIDA Student Representative Committee and other member support activities.

We are also working with junior doctors and advocating across the broader workforce by providing medical college-accredited workshops, which foster continual professional development and networking.

Our high level collaboration with the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges, and individual medical colleges ensure that AIDA has a role in shaping and influencing key policy areas where they matter most to our members and broader education and training matters focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Additionally,

AIDA runs an annual member event, along with cultural and collegiate workshops, to promote the engagement of our Indigenous medical student and doctor membership.

AIDA commends the supportive relationships formed between all tiers of its membership, noting the important role of senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors as a source of inspiration to younger medical students and junior doctors.

The professional and cultural support fostered within our group of members is underscored by their persistence, resilience, and drive to contribute towards shaping a more inclusive and representative health system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical practitioners and patients alike.

Through our ongoing work and engagement across the education, training and workforce sectors, AIDA envisages an increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and the growth of a more culturally safe health care system.

We know these two goals are critical in meeting the Close the Gap targets and achieving equitable and sustained health and life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In the next 10 years, AIDA would like to see sustainable and ongoing policy commitment, financial investment and leadership from Government that supports the entire health sector respond to, and redress the unacceptable health disparities identified in the Close the Gap Campaign.

NACCHO good news:Aboriginal health initiative proves to be one real success story

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“Governments need to step back a bit, they do need to facilitate it, there is a role for government funding and government services but it’s about decision-making and its about the control the communities take and NACCHO (National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation) is a good example of that because it is community controlled.” Jody Broun, Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and Co-Chair of the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF),

One of the most successful of the Aboriginal community-controlled sectors in the country over recent decades has been the health sector and recently 30 Indigenous high school students from across the country converged on the nation’s capital to take one further step on their own paths to a career in health.

Out thanks to  National Indigenous Times reporter Geoff Bagnall for this report and picture below

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Murra Mullangari, an initiative of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) and their partners in the Indigenous health field, brought the year 10, 11 and 12 students together for a week in Canberra that aimed to inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to pursue a career in health and to support them in their transition from secondary school to the health workforce.

Jilpia Napparljari was there at the very beginning of Aboriginal community-controlled health having been involved in the founding of the very first Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS), Redfern.

“I was involved in the Aboriginal Medical Service when it first started and worked with Fred Hollows at the National Trachoma and eye Health,” Ms Nappaljari said.

She sees programs like Murra Mullangari opening options for the young participants that Indigenous people had to fight much harder for previously.

“As I told some of the young people who came up and spoke to me ‘ just remember, the world is your oyster.”

Ms Nappaljari believes this and similar programs will secure the future of Aboriginal Self-determination.

“Its good as an old person we ‘re not going to live very long and its good to see it’s been taken on, ‘ she said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda agrees saying events like this are “succession planning” and the inspiring thing is there were over 200 applicants for only 30 places available.

“This is part of succession planning and what we ‘re seeing now is our kids, you can see it here, leaving school and going straight into university whereas in the past a lot of our students have been mature age students, ‘ Mr gooda said.

“That’s an evolution that’s happening now and that’s an indication of the increase of achievement in the education field, so I think it’s pretty exciting. I think for this conference the thing that gets me is more than 200 kids applied for 30 places.

“How great is that to come down to talk about working as doctors working in the allied health areas, so I just think it’s so just deadly to see these kids here, and they will take over, “Mr gooda said.

Pat Anderson, one of the co-authors of the ‘Little Children are Sacred report and Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute Board, agrees with Mr Gooda the event is inspiring but said it showed the unevenness of Aboriginal Opportunity around the country.

“It’s a wonderful initiative by AIDA and they’re t be heartily congratulated on such a program and project and the fact they had more than 200 applicants is just amazing but also I think, a bit more controversially, it demonstrates very tellingly the unevenness of what’s happening in education for Aboriginal people, ‘Ms Anderson said.

“I’m from the Northern territory and its wonderful but there aren’t any kids from the Northern Territory here who are participants, I’ve checked the list.

‘In a lot of the more isolated communities we’re not doing so well but maybe some of these young people might take that on as one of their leadership tasks to try to tackle that unevenness there, she said.

Jody Broun, Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and Co-Chair of the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF), sees events like this as a crucial part of the Closing the Gap strategy, a strategy few non-Indigenous people realise was actually started by Aboriginal community-controlled organisations before being taken over by the Council of Australian Governments.

“The issue with the Close the Gap, the actual Close the Gap was it came from the ground, it came from the communities, it’s really about us and our communities, taking the lead and taking control, Ms Broun said.

“This is great because you’ve got young people who want these jobs in communities and too often you go to an Aboriginal community and all the health providers are white fellas from outside the communities.

“Whether it’s teachers or health workers, we need to take control of that ourselves and see that these jobs in these communities are for our young people”, she said.

“There are people out there who want these skills and my view, and the Congress’ view, is the communities need the opportunity to take that control back and not be disempowered.

“Governments need to step back a bit, they do need to facilitate it, there is a role for government funding and government services but it’s about decision-making and its about the control the communities take and NACCHO (National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation) is a good example of that because it is community controlled. They decide the services they deliver.

“These are young people who will be a part of that, you can see how much confidence they have got and some additional skills and having some belief in themselves is really important and the support they will get through this program and hopefully where will be development of that as well,” Ms Broun said.