Press release NACCHO and Medicare Locals at the table to Close the Gap

Picture above  NACCHO Chair, Mr Justin Mohamed, stated it was very important that as respective national peak bodies both NACCHO and AML Alliance need to demonstrate sound leadership and model collaboration if genuine partnership is to be achieved.

Australia’s Medicare Locals and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) will draw on their respective strengths in primary health care to share in the best way forward to achieve improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples from the National Health Care Reforms.

In the lead up to a Close the Gap symposium at the National Primary Health Care Conference, AML Alliance Chair, Dr Arn Sprogis said it’s national sessions like these that enable organisations to work cooperatively to develop tangible opportunities for the Close the Gap agenda.

“This session will convene some of the best thinkers and advocates for primary health care in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector to generate the big ideas,” Dr Sprogis said.

“We want the ripple effect: to see good policy lead to better service delivery.

There is a well-earned respect between the two sectors and what they can do for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, however integrating their systems and thinking is what will expand the opportunities immeasurably.

“We’re determined to pursue the best possible outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Peoples from the National Health Care Reforms,” Dr Sprogis said.

NACCHO Chair, Mr Justin Mohamed, stated it was very important that as respective national peak bodies both NACCHO and AML Alliance need to demonstrate sound leadership and model collaboration if genuine partnership is to be achieved.

“This symposium will allow a full and open discussion of how our sectors view the future and for both to explore and forge new ways of working together as we strive towards true and meaningful partnerships,” Mr. Mohamed added.

“Both sectors independently face challenging futures, so this will be an opportunity for both NACCHO and our members and the AML Alliance to begin to lay stable foundations as we work towards improved collaborative relationships.

Through improved partnerships and Aboriginal leadership there is a real opportunity to produce realistic and achievable policy recommendations to government,” Mr. Mohamed said.

Mr Mohamed encouraged all attendees to approach the symposium as a blank sheet where we can map a way forward that ensures the best possible health outcomes are achieved for our people and their communities.

National Primary Health Care Conference – Healthy Communities, Healthy Nation

From Transition to Action: Integrating Primary Health and Social Care

Adelaide Convention Centre

Close the Gap Symposium

Strength in Integration – Saturday November 10


NACCHO NEWS: Doctors want extra cash to go bush:study

8 Aug 2012

City doctors would need a salary increase of up to $200,000 to entice them work in some country areas, a University of Melbourne study has determined.

The research, Getting Doctors into the Bush: GP’s Preferences for Rural Location, investigated what incentives and compensation was needed to entice GPs to shift to rural locations.

Nearly 4,000 GPs were asked to choose between their current employment and two hypothetical job offers. The fictitious jobs included various working hours, town size and locations, overtime responsibilities, general staffing levels and levels of likely social interaction.

Sixty five per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t quit their current position for any of the country jobs.

The research found incentives equivalent to 130% of annual earnings — or about $237,000 — would be required for GP’s to accept a job in a remote, inland town with poor social interaction and a big workload.

An increase of about 64% of a doctor’s current average annual salary — or roughly $116,000 — would be required to encourage them to a basic job in an inland town with less than 5,000 people.

Moving to an inland town with between 5,000 and 20,000 people would require incentives of at least 37% of current earnings, or roughly $68,000.

Lead researcher Professor Tony Scott, from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, said the desired compensation varied according to the practice location and workplace conditions.

“If on-call is low and hours worked do not change, the job becomes more attractive and the compensation required is less,” he said.

A Senate inquiry is currently investigating how existing incentive programs affect the recruitment and retention of country doctors.

Professor Scott said governments should tailor incentive programs to specific regional areas.

“Designing schemes to encourage doctors to locate and remain in remote and rural areas requires an understanding of the various factors that motivate doctors’ decisions.”

“Incentive programs are currently based on the ‘average GP’ and the ‘average rural area’, but there is scope to make them more dependent on the type of area and population size,” he said.

The research used data from the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life longitudinal survey of doctors.

AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW: Report co-author Associate Professor Guyonne Kalb, Director of the University’s Labour Economics and Social Policy Program.

More information:

Ryan Sheales (Media office)
0402 351 412

Associate Professor Guyonne Kalb
+613 8344 2095 BH

NACCHO MEDICARE LOCAL PRESS RELEASE:Recognition of Aboriginal health as ‘core business’ for Medicare Locals.

The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service sector congratulates  Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AML) Alliance Chair, Dr Arn Sprogis, on his clear and unambiguous statements regarding the centrality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health to the current health reform agenda  and for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health as ‘core business’ for Medicare Locals.

Speaking after attending NAIDOC celebrations  in Hobart, NACCHO chair, Mr Justin Mohammed, said that NAIDOC week reminds us all that much has been gained by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community but there still exists much work to  be done to ensure that the health needs and the health aspirations of Aboriginal peoples are met.

The increase in the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander population, as reflected in the recently release Census data, is a testament to the dynamic nature of our culture, Mr Mohamed said.

 However, since the vast majority of the population growth is due to a healthy increase is the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander birth rate, the data also underlines the need for well-planned and culturally delivered health services that comprehensively address the needs of all members of extended Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander  families, he said.

While NACCHO recognises and encourages people to identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders when engaging with mainstream health services, this will only happen in environments where Aboriginal people feel safe and where their input and their decisions will be respected, Mr Mohamed continued.

While the numbers of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people identifying at mainstream health services continues to grow, there is concern that the uptake of Aboriginal-specific Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers has shown no significant growth as a result of these increased registrations and remains alarmingly low overall, he said.

It is no longer appropriate to see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health as simply a matter of ‘access’, Mr Mohamed said.

Our people’s health must now be framed around assurances of high-quality and evidence-based services that are firmly grounded within the concept of the social determinants of health and which recognise the influence the social gradient has upon the health status of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Health is a human rights issue, not just a medical one, Mr Mohamed pointed out.

Mr Mohamed said NACCHO is the peak body representing almost 150 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) across the country. Our member services have extensive experience and expertise in the design, delivery and evaluation of comprehensive primary healthcare services to Aboriginal  people and the communities where they live; this experience and expertise has been built up over forty years of Aboriginal communities  delivering health services.

Our sector stands ready to work with Medicare Locals in a genuine partnership as they begin their long but ultimately rewarding journey in addressing  and improving comprehensive primary healthcare for all Australians. Working in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration, we can ensure Medicare Locals  bring about the necessary reforms to clinical and support systems within mainstream services that will bring benefits to the entire community, not just to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

These are testing times for all of us involved in health, Mr Mohamed said. With the continued shrinking of already finite health resources, we must ensure that we work in genuine partnership and not in competition: competition will simply weaken us all and bring negative impacts to our respective communities, he said.

 NACCHO and its members look forward to playing a strong role in the new and emerging health environment and to working to ensure that Aboriginal peoples receive the highest-quality health services that are the right of all Australians, Mr Mohamed concluded.

For media interviews Contact Colin Cowell

National Media and Communications Advisor

0401 331 251

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