NACCHO Aboriginal Health supports the @Lungfoundation first ever Australia-wide #Indigenous Lung Health Checklist

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 ” Lung Foundation Australia in collaboration with the Queensland Government’s Indigenous Respiratory Outreach Care Program (IROC) have developed the Checklist specifically for the Indigenous community.

It only takes a few minutes to answer 8 questions that could save your or a loved one’s life.

It can be completed on a mobile phone, tablet or computer.

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The Indigenous Lung Health Checklist is narrated by the Lung Foundation’s Ambassador and Olympic Legend Cathy Freeman.

Read or Download the PDF Brochure

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Please go to the site as Indigenous peoples are almost twice as likely to die from a lung-related condition than non-Indigenous Australians.

# Indigenous Lung Health Checklist at

http://indigenouslungscheck.lungfoundation.com.au/.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Death by #racism: Is bigotry in the health system harming Indigenous patients ?

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” Death by racism should be a category on death certificates, because the racism in hospitals is hindering the recovery of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Spend some time as a patient in a hospital and you soon find out that the medical profession is full of bigots and people who might not consider themselves racist, but have preconceived ideas on race and hold outdated beliefs in racial stereotypes.”

 We need cultural awareness programs on all levels of the system, writes Colleen Lavelle for IndigenousX : Our stories, our way” – each week, a new guest hosts the @IndigenousX Twitter account to discuss topics of interest to them as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. Produced with assistance of Guardian Australia staff.

NACCHO background info

Read previous 69 articles NACCHO Aboriginal health and racism

Read previous 10 articles NACCHO Aboriginal health / Cultural safety

 ” The National Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016–2026 (the Framework) was recently launched by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council .

This ten year framework seeks to guide delivery of culturally safe, responsive, and quality health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Download the COAG Cultural Respect Framework here :

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I have been in and out of hospital for years with a brain tumour and have experienced the bigotry within the system first hand. I have also collected stories from Indigenous people around the country and a common thread is either: “Is it me or do they treat all of us like this?” or “Am I being overly sensitive?”

Indigenous cancer patients have even had pain relief denied to them. This might happen for a couple of reasons. First, because apparently some people think we Indigenous people can cope with more pain than our European counterparts. Let me state now that that ethnocentric view is not true. Another common view is that we are “faking it” to get drugs. Now, I don’t know about you, but if someone has cancer and is crying in pain, it’s pretty obvious they are not trying to get some cheap thrills.

A similar misconception is that we are drunk. I have even heard of cancer patients having their blood alcohol level tested before a doctor will see them. This assumption that we all take drugs or drink is outdated and just insulting.

Traditional people from remote communities have had to deal with their cultural mores being completely overlooked. Men have been shamed by having a young female nurse attend to them, when a male nurse is required. The same happens to our women too: a male attendant will try to do something that should only be done with or by a female. And when women ask to have another female in with them, they are quite often overlooked. I can’t understand why our cultural needs are overlooked when other peoples have their cultural rules respected.

The medical system seems so against us in so many ways, particularly if we are sent to a hospital away from home and English is not our first language. Good luck trying to find a translator to help! Governments, both at state and federal level can’t say they are doing all they can when our needs are not even considered important. All we hear are excuses like, “The cost is prohibitive for translators, patient transport, mobile medical units …”

We are the first people of this country and as such we shouldn’t be constantly overlooked. Perhaps fewer trips to the Gold Coast and a little bit more money into Indigenous health could help.

There are ways to make the road to good health better. For starters, no doctor or nurse should be allowed to work with Aboriginal people unless they have had cultural awareness training. It should be a requirement that all medical professionals do a cultural awareness course, with a refresher course after every year. Make it part of the accreditation process. It should be a part of the Close The Gap scheme that every general practice has to sign on to do cultural awareness. Even if it’s just one person in the practice doing it online. There could also be an incentive, such as the practice receives money for each Indigenous patient they see.

If every doctor and nurse across the country had this training and if hospitals and health executives spent quality time with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, they might learn we are not so different. We might have some different needs, but they shouldn’t compromise the levels of compassion, caring and proper medial attention that we need.

NACCHO Aboriginal #Kidney Health #IGA2016 : Western Desert Dialysis mob take out major Indigenous Governance Award

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On Thursday night Western Desert Dialysis took out the top award at the 2016 Indigenous Governance Awards, announced at a ceremony in Sydney.

Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation, also known as Western Desert Dialysis.

Our mission is to improve the lives of people with renal failure, reunite families and reduce the incidence of kidney disease in our communities.

 Run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people and work to provide culturally appropriate dialysis services in remote communities, helping people to get home to country and family.

NACCHO chair Matthew Cooke on behalf of all 150 members congratulates Western Desert Dialysis  and all the finalists ( see list below )

Watch these videos here

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Western Desert Dialysis helping Indigenous people in ‘kidney disease capital of the world’ By Tom Maddocks    Photo above Kirstie Parker

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Photo: Western Desert Dialysis has treated some patients like Josephine Woods (R) for years. (ABC News: Tom Maddocks)

Morgan Hitchcock from Western Desert Dialysis does not mince words on why his organisation is so badly needed in Central Australia.

“This is the kidney disease capital of the world and Aboriginal people bear the burden the most,” he said.

Mr Hitchcock is the business manager at the charity, which sends out a mobile dialysis treatment centre, known as the Purple Truck, to those who need it in remote communities.

He knows better than most why it makes such a difference.

“We respect traditional treatment for sickness but we also adopt the best of Western medicine,” he said.

About the awards

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The Finalists

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Fears people could die without treatment

There is no cure for kidney disease, and the only reliable treatment is dialysis or a transplant. Patients with renal disease need treatment three times a week.

People develop kidney disease because of chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, which is rife among Aboriginal people.

Before the Western Desert Dialysis service was available, patients had to travel from remote communities to Alice Springs to get the vital treatment they needed.

For some it was a difficult trip and many feared they would die.

Now people know they can get help in their own communities from the mobile treatment centre.

The service began with the simple desire to get a dialysis machine to the remote Western Desert community of Kintore, on the border with Western Australia, but the idea grew into something much bigger.

Mr Hitchcock said the Federal Government did not initially believe the service would work and it would be a waste of money, but it defied the odds.

“It’s talking about something sad, talking about kidney disease, but then it’s also an inspiring story about the way Aboriginal people, people from the desert, got together, raised some money and started their own organisation,” Mr Hitchcock said.

“Government is on board now but the organisation started from nothing when government said they weren’t going to help.”

Group uses traditional and Western treatments

Morgan Hitchcock from Western Desert Dialysis

At the group’s main office in Alice Springs, known as Purple House, patients can access a doctor and social support services.

They can also see traditional healers, known as Ngangkaris, and use bush medicine.

Josephine Woods, who has been receiving dialysis treatment at Purple House for many years, said it was “good for people from different kinds of tribes”.

“Patients will be sent home if they get homesick to visit family, get treatment and come back to Alice Springs,” she said.

Ms Woods is also part of a consumer group of patients who regularly meet with service providers.

“It’s good to know about renal patients and how they treat them,” she said

Press Release

Reconciliation Australia in partnership with BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, tonight revealed the winners of the Indigenous Governance Awards 2016 and celebrated the strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations and projects across Australia.

Following a rigorous judging process, Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (Western Desert Dialysis) was selected as the winner of the Category A Award for incorporated organisations, while Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly (Murdi Paaki) was honoured as winner of the Category B Award for non-incorporated projects.

Commenting on Category A winner, Western Desert Dialysis, Chair of the Indigenous Governance Awards, Professor Mick Dodson, said: “It’s their humanity that stands out in their governance. They strike me as a family that really cares for every member of that family in the way they deliver services. Aboriginal culture has been wrapped around access to modern medicine and allows it to be administered in a holistic and culturally appropriate way.”

Category B winner Murdi Paaki’s success “Comes from the fact they’re made up of community members, which gives them power to advocate”, said Professor Dodson. “They show leadership, vision, and fearlessness, and they are practicing self-determination.”

A highly commended honour was awarded to Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa in Category A, for its work strengthening Martu people’s connection with Country and leadership capacity; and Ara Irititja in Category B, for its dedication to digitally archiving culturally significant materials from the APY Lands.

BHP Billiton Chief External Affairs Officer Geoff Healy said good governance is critical to BHP Billiton and it’s engagement with Indigenous peoples around the world.

“Good governance delivers better, more transparent and accountable decision making and builds confidence in organisations and their leadership.” Page | 2

“BHP Billiton has been proud to support the Indigenous Governance Awards since they began in 2005. These finalists are great examples of the benefits that flow when good governance standards are in place.” Mr Healy said.

The calibre of the finalist organisations from which the winners were selected was the most outstanding in the twelve-year history of the Awards.

“This was certainly the highest standard of finalists we’ve ever had. They’ve all got the administrative nuts and bolts of good governance in order and are taking innovative approaches to community leadership. Across the board, we have seen the governance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations improve exponentially and these finalists could teach non-Indigenous organisations many things about innovation and success”, reflected Professor Dodson.

Remarking on significance of the Awards, Professor Dodson said “It’s time that mainstream Australia takes notice of these outstanding organisations and projects, and adopts a new discourse focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success.”

In total, $60,000 prize money will be distributed through the Awards. The winner in each category will receive $20,000, and the highly commended organisations will each be awarded $10,000. Additionally, all nine finalists will be partnered with a high profile corporate organisation for 12 months, which will provide mentoring and assistance in an area identified by the finalist.

– ENDS –

Winner biographies

Category A

Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation

Based in Alice Springs, Western Desert Dialysis is an Aboriginal community-controlled, not-for-profit organisation providing dialysis treatment and support services to Indigenous renal patients from remote communities in Northern and Western Australia. Their name means “making all families well”, and it recognises that people must be able to stay on Country, to look after and be looked after by their families. Their mission is to improve the lives of people with renal failure, reunite families, and reduce the incidence of kidney disease in their communities. Run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people, Western Desert dialysis works to provide culturally appropriate health care for people in remote communities, helping people to get home to Country and family.

Category B

Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly

The MPRA is the peak governance body for Indigenous people in the west, north-west and far west of NSW, made up of representatives of the 16 Indigenous communities, Murdi Paaki Aboriginal Young and Emerging Leaders and NSW Aboriginal Land Council Councillors from across the region. The Aboriginal population of the MP region at the time of the 2011 Census was 8,331 (considered to be an under-estimate), or 18% of a total population of 48,797. It is the peak body for engaging with Government at all levels, and for the myriad agencies of Government to engage with Aboriginal people of the region. The MPRA’s major role is enabling and requiring a more strategic emphasis on engagement, responsiveness, co-ordination and accountability of Government and non-government agencies and the programs they deliver to and with Indigenous people.

Highly commended biographies

Category A

Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa

Based in Newman, Western Australia, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) was established to help Martu look after their culture and heritage and to ensure that Martu’s ongoing connection with country would remain strong. KJ’s programs include an extensive ranger program in five communities, a leadership program, a return-to-country program and a program of diverse cultural knowledge management. Together, they have generated transformative change across the Martu communities. The outcomes span a wide range of social, cultural and economic benefits to both Martu and other stakeholders, such as the state and federal governments. Since its formation, KJ has grown to the point where it is the single biggest employer of Martu. One of the less tangible but equally important successes has been the reinstatement of cultural authority of the Martu Elders. They have an increased confidence in their ability to shape their future and have responded positively to the interest and commitment of younger Martu to learn and fulfil their cultural obligations.

Category B

Ara Irititja

Based in Adelaide, Ara Irititja’s goal is to create a sustainable, growing collection of historic and cultural multimedia material related to Aboriginal people from or on the APY Lands in SA, NT and WA and to repatriate it to communities across these lands. Ara Irititja also record cultural material for the archive and play an active role in ensuring that the archive can be accessed effectively in remote communities. Ara Irititja project is about the conservation of memory in a culture based on oral tradition. This is memory that goes beyond most cultural imaginations, back before the invention of writing, and many centuries before the Christian era. Every Anangu Elder carries a story — one that has been handed down through many generations and our project provides a platform for these stories to be told. Keeping Culture KMS not only conserves this knowledge — by photo, by video, by sound, by documentation — but also, by its nature it allows these stories to live. Most importantly, it allows them to live with the people to whom they belong.

Indigenous Governance Awards 2016 finalists Category A – Incorporated organisations Category B – Non-incorporated projects
 Kalyuku Ninti – Puntuku Ngurra Limited

 Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS)

 Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre

 Muru Mittigar Limited

 Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation

 Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC)

 Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation

 

 Ara Irititja

 Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly

 

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This year’s theme:

Strengthening Our Future through Self Determination

 NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released

                       The dates are fast approaching – so register today
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NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper : ATSI Health needs more than a 10 year plan – It needs political will

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 ” Closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality unfortunately remains a persistent challenge for our society.

There is no shortage of statistics and data demonstrating that we need to do better – it can sometimes feel like there is a new report every week flagging indicators of concern.

The real challenge is translating headlines into consistent effort and real results – beyond news and political cycles.

There is legitimate concern that the centrality of ACCHOs to improving health service delivery and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is not being adequately recognised.

I have consistently argued that there are ACCHOs which are the finest examples of comprehensive primary health care in the country.”

Warren Snowdon as Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health

Article from Page 10 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

This is one of the goals of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013 – 2023 – a ten year framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy. It articulates a vision for closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality.

Significantly, the Health Plan was developed by Labor in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their community organisations and their peak bodies.

NACCHO was a key partner and collaborator in the development of the plan, as was the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

This is because Labor has a strong commitment to the belief that Aboriginal community controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) and the National Congress are central to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and should be partners in developing policy.

Importantly, the Plan has bipartisan support. An Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan was launched in 2015 by the Abbott Government.

Again, this plan was developed in partnership with the National Health Leadership Forum. However, despite this and the strong bipartisan support for the Health Plan, we are now in the fourth year of the Plan and still no resources have been identified for the Implementation Plan.

It is clear that without resources, the vision of the Health Plan will be impossible to achieve.

Although Labor remains committed to working in a bipartisan manner with the current Government to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait health outcomes, to address the obvious inequalities and to close the gap, this does not mean that Labor will not hold the government to account.

Advancing the priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and their organisations remains an absolute commitment. Working in partnerships is paramount to achieve these.

There are obvious issues with the failure of the current government to develop a comprehensive approach to dealing with the social determinants of health or to demonstrate any real appreciation of how a human rights approach is required in the development of our health policy.

Additionally, we are very aware of the need to address issues of racism to ensure that the health system is not discriminatory.

There is legitimate concern that the centrality of ACCHOs to improving health service delivery and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is not being adequately recognised. I have consistently argued that there are ACCHOs which are the finest examples of comprehensive primary health care in the country.

They are community based and controlled, they are responsive, innovative, accountable and have good governance. Most importantly, they deliver primary care, allied health services and prevention strategies which are examples for the rest of the world. ACCHOs also provide services that are culturally appropriate and safe.

Having said this, there are some organisations that need to do better. They need to be more accountable and reform their governance and their record of service delivery.

NACCHO and the state and territory affiliates have an important role to play in this regard in terms of leadership, accountability and mentoring. They need to be alive to the threats that exist as well as opportunities for the sector to grow further by expanding the reach of services and consequently, achieving better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

For our part, Labor will continue to review our current policy settings, particularly as we approach the next election.

As a matter of course we will continue to work with NACCHO, the affiliates and their member organisations as well as other health advocacy and membership groups, such as doctors, nurses, health workers and allied health practitioners and of course other health experts from universities and the like.

We acknowledge the need to continue to address the dramatic levels of chronic disease that are endemic in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The fundamental importance of good primary care services being readily available is abundantly clear.

In primary health care, broader health policy has an inevitable impact, and this is why Labor has consistently opposed changes to the Medicare system that increase costs or limit services to those who most need Medicare. We are very conscious of the need to protect ACCHOs from the impact of these policy threats.

There is also an absolute need to look at prevention strategies to intervene and stop the onset of chronic disease in the first place. We support the life course approach that drives the National Health Plan as well as the requirement to address the broader social determinants.

In this context we are currently giving priority to what can be done in maternal and child health, parenting and adolescent health.

We need to ensure that all children are born healthy, have a healthy childhood and grow up to be healthy adults, without the chronic disease that has beset their parents and grandparents.

Improvements cannot happen in isolation. There is a concurrent need to do something about the poverty that is such a major driver of poor health outcomes. Policies and strategies around education, employment, housing, drug and alcohol policies, mental health and social and emotional wellbeing as well as food security are integral to elevating and sustaining health outcomes.

We will continue to advocate for the development and provision of appropriate aged care services. And we will continue to support treatment models driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are culturally appropriate from their inception.

Another area where Labor is keen to see more progress is in the health workforce. It is vital that we see more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across all disciplines, engaged in treating and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Labor recognises that one size will not fit all. There is a need to appreciate and address the difference and diversity that exists for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the country.

Labor is absolutely committed to both this underlying principle in our policy development process, as well as recognising that the framework we are using remains the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013 – 2023.

Catherine King and Warren Snowdon  will keynote speakers at the  NACCHO Members Conference in Melbourne

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1. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released -Download
2. The dates are fast approaching – so register today

Aboriginal Mental Health News : NACCHO welcomes consultation on Fifth National Mental Health Plan

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“The release of this much awaited Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan is another important opportunity to support reform, and it’s now up to the mental health sector including consumers and carers, to help develop a plan that will benefit all.”

A successful plan should help overcome the lack of coordination and the fragmentation between layers of government that have held back our efforts to date.”

NACCHO and Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan have welcomed the release of the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan and is encouraging all ACCHO stakeholders to engage with the plan during the upcoming consultation period.

Download the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan at the link below:

PDF Copy fifth-national-mental-health-plan

You can download a copy of the draft plan;
Fifth National Mental Health Plan – PDF 646 KB
Fifth National Mental Health Plan – Word 537 KB

View all NACCHO 127 Mental Health articles here

View all NACCHO 97 Suicide Prevention articles here

The Consultation Draft of the plan identifies seven priority areas;

1.    Integrated regional planning and service delivery

2.    Coordinated treatment and supports for people with severe and complex mental illness

3.    Safety and quality in mental health care

4.    Suicide prevention

5.    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention

6.    Physical health of people with mental illness

7.    Stigma and discrimination reduction

Summary of actions

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention

1.     Governments will work collaboratively to develop a joined approach to social and emotional wellbeing support, mental health, suicide prevention, and alcohol and other drug services, recognising the importance of what an integrated service offers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

2.     Governments will work with Primary Health Networks and Local Hospital Networks to implement integrated planning and service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the regional level.

3.     Governments will renew efforts to develop a nationally agreed approach to suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

4.     Governments will work with service providers, including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to and experience with mental health and wellbeing services.

5.     Governments will work together to strengthen the evidence base needed to inform development of improved mental health services and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

6.Governments will develop suitable public health and communication strategies to better inform the community about suicide and suicide prevention.

Additional info Mental health services—in brief 2016

released: 14 Oct 2016 author: AIHW media release

Download Summary mental-health-serives-in-australia-aiw-report

Mental health services—In brief 2016 provides an overview of data about the national response of the health and welfare system to the mental health care needs of Australians.

It is designed to accompany the more comprehensive data on Australia’s mental health services available online at <http://mhsa.aihw.gov.au>.

Mental Health Australia is pleased to be partnering with the Department of Health to run consultation workshops on the plan during November which is an important opportunity for members to provide feedback and guidance on the plan.

National Consultations

National consultation activities to assist with the development of the Fifth Plan will run from November to early December 2016.

A series of face-to-face workshops will be conducted in all states and territories throughout this period. These workshops will be complemented by local consultation events convened by some states and territories.

An opportunity to submit general feedback on the Fifth Plan via this webpage will also be available throughout the duration of the consultation period.

Info here

Further details on the consultation activities and how you can participate will be available here shortly

 If you need support you can contact one of our 302 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services clinics

Download or free NACCHO Contact APP

or the following services:

Lifeline Freecall 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
NT Mental Health Help Line 1800 682 288
Headspace (12-25 years)     1800 659 388 or 8931 5999
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

How you can share  health messages stories about Aboriginal Community Controlled Health issues ?

Closing this week

  • newspaper-promoEditorial OpportunitiesWe are now looking to all our members, programs and sector stakeholders for advertising, compelling articles, eye-catching images and commentary for inclusion in our next edition.Maximum 600 words (word file only) with image

More info and Advertising rate card

or contact nacchonews@naccho.org.au

Colin Cowell Editor Mobile  0401 331 251

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : $6 Billion dollar funding debate , Hard evidence necessary to lift Indigenous welfare

 

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“Rhetoric about closing the gap and advocacy for various Indigenous programs cannot paper over such a gaping hole in governance. It’s no surprise that public policy debates — not only in Indigenous affairs but also in areas such as health and education — are so impoverished.”

The Australia Editorial 24 August

“The CIS report contained “factual errors” in its analysis of projected federal government indigenous affairs spending, which he said was focused on delivering outcomes and ensures service providers are delivering results that meet the needs of local communities”.

The Australian government has built a better evidence base for the assessment and monitoring of grants,We are placing a strong focus on quantitative evidence

“If resources are being wasted or misspent, that needs to be challenged … there is no doubt that funds are not always being targeted to the community and to the areas of need, and that there have been drastic funding cuts to key frontline areas, such as legal services and early childhood education.”

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion

I’m willing to work with Minister Scullion to identify improvements on a co-operative basis, but let’s not pretend that the answer is to cut funding; the government needs to genuinely listen to ­indigenous people about what ­communities need.

“If resources are being wasted or misspent, that needs to be challenged … there is no doubt that funds are not always being targeted to the community and to the areas of need, and that there have been drastic funding cuts to key frontline areas, such as legal services and early childhood education.”

The criticism came as West Australian Labor senator Patrick Dodson called for “a clear emphasis on rigorous evaluation so money is being spent wisely

Senator Patrick Dodson see article 2 below

Hard evidence necessary to lift indigenous welfare

The Australian Editorial

Almost $6 billion is spent each year on indigenous affairs but there is precious little evidence this money is doing any good. If you Google “closing the gap”, you’ll find hard data on, say, differences in longevity and literacy between black and white.

But there is no counterpart dataset on the successes and failures of the legion of spending programs aimed at indigenous welfare. It’s possible to say whether the gap is narrowing but not to distinguish between programs that represent a good investment and those that fail to achieve their goal.

Less than 10 per cent of 1082 such programs have ever been evaluated, according to a Centre for Independent Studies analysis that we reported yesterday. Of the 88 evaluations carried out, very few employed methods that could provide evidence of effectiveness.

Taking into account federal, state and territory government spending, as well as programs of the indigenous not-for-profit sector, the CIS verdict applies to annual expenditure of $5.9bn. That figure does not include the non-indigenous not-for-profit sector, such as universities. The cumulative total spent across the past several decades — a period in which some key indicators of indigenous welfare have gone backwards — represents a massive amount of money and a huge opportunity cost.

Rhetoric about closing the gap and advocacy for various Indigenous programs cannot paper over such a gaping hole in governance. It’s no surprise that public policy debates — not only in indigenous affairs but also in areas such as health and education — are so impoverished.

Too often the focus is on the amount being spent and whether it represents a cut or an increase, not an empirical analysis of outcomes attributable to particular programs. Duplication of programs also needs close attention. In the West Australian town of Roebourne, with a population of 1150, the CIS study documented 67 local service providers and more than 400 state and federal funded programs on offer.

Poor targeting of programs was another nagging problem. The CIS points out that most indigenous affairs policy fails to distinguish between markedly different sectors of indigenous Australia. Some 65 per cent of indigenous people had jobs and lives similar to other Australians; the obvious question is whether indigenous-specific spending on this sector amounts to middle-class welfare.

The neediest sector was those dependent on welfare and living on indigenous land where work and education opportunities were scarce. This profile represents only 13 per cent of indigenous Australia, or 70,000 people. There may be a case for diverting some funds to those in most need, assuming this is done through a program open to rigorous evaluation. The basic lesson is that spending itself is not a solution. With modest resources Noel Pearson’s Cape York Academy is achieving outcomes that state-run schooling could not.

The CIS report is a wake-up call. It makes sense to suggest that an evaluation be funded and built in as part of each and every program. It also makes sense for the commonwealth to show the way; it is the single biggest spender. Australia needs an indigenous affairs minister equal to the challenges of the portfolio. To date, Nigel Scullion has not inspired confidence as minister. It’s not just his clueless response to the Don Dale youth detention story. He gives no impression that he is seized of the serious subject matter of his ministry. What’s at stake is not only taxpayers’ money but also the chance to discover how to get good outcomes in indigenous affairs — which programs help people and which fail them.

Lack of facts on indigenous funding outrageous

The lack of accountability for indigenous program funding is “outrageous” and the awarding of contracts often appears politically motivated, prime ministerial ­adviser Warren Mundine says.

Mr Mundine, who chairs the Prime Minister’s Indigenous ­Advisory Council, said he had often been frustrated by a lack of detail and data since taking up to the role in 2014. “I asked for data when I first came into the job but it’s been very hard to get,” he said in response to a Centre for Independent Studies report that found a lack of proper evaluation in the $5.9 billion indigenous ­affairs sector.

“It’s a joke. I believe some programs are funded because of politics, others don’t have any evaluations. A lot of this stuff is politically motivated in the awarding of contracts.”

The criticism came as West Australian Labor senator Patrick Dodson called for “a clear emphasis on rigorous evaluation so money is being spent wisely. If resources are being wasted or misspent, that needs to be challenged … there is no doubt that funds are not always being targeted to the community and to the areas of need, and that there have been drastic funding cuts to key frontline areas, such as legal services and early childhood education.”

The CIS report, by researcher Sara Hudson, found that an in­adequate focus on outcomes in indigenous affairs spending meant “too many programs are implemented because of their perceived benefit, rather than a rigorous ­assessment of a priori evidence”.

It examined 49 federal government programs, 236 state and territory programs and 797 programs delivered by non-government groups (though many of these were partly or fully funded by government). It found that just 8 per cent had been evaluated, and that even of these, “few used methods that actually provided evidence of the program’s effectiveness”.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion last night claimed the CIS report contained “factual errors” in its analysis of projected federal government indigenous affairs spending, which he said was “focused on delivering outcomes and ensures service providers are delivering results that meet the needs of local communities”.

“The Australian government has built a better evidence base for the assessment and monitoring of grants,” Senator Scullion said through a spokesman. “We are placing a strong focus on quantitative evidence. An example of this is that we now analyse data on school attendance for Remote School Attendance Strategy schools every week.”

The government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, which ­accounts for $4.9bn in spending over four years, came in for criticism this year from a Senate committee which found its use of competitive tendering policies had disadvantaged some indigenous funding applicants, and short-term spending on programs had limited their effectiveness.

It has also been criticised for being a process which saw $500 million cut from the indigenous affairs budget although the government disputes this figure.

Senator Dodson said he was “willing to work with Minister Scullion to identify improvements on a co-operative basis, but let’s not pretend that the answer is to cut funding; the government needs to genuinely listen to ­indigenous people about what ­communities need.”

NACCHO #HealthElection16 : Coalition Government’s Aboriginal Health Election Policy released

PM 2

The Closing the Gap challenge is often described as a problem to be solved – but more than anything it is an opportunity. If our greatest assets are our people, if our richest capital is our human capital, then the opportunity to empower the imagination, the enterprise, the wisdom and the full potential of our First Australians is an exciting one.

And when we focus on the gap to be closed and ending the disadvantage that entails, we should not overlook or fail to celebrate the many successes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

“It is equally important we listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when they tell us what is working and what needs to change.  It’s our role as government to provide an environment that enables Indigenous leaders to develop local solutions., it is time for Governments to ‘do things with aboriginal people, not do things to them’.

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Closing the Gap 2016 speech

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“Going forward, the Australian Government will continue to work in partnership with the Aboriginal community controlled health sector, including the National Health Leadership Forum, in delivering, reviewing and reporting on the Implementation Plan.

Overall this Government is investing $3.3 billion through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, to support the continued delivery of services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services. This is an increase of over $500 million when compared with the previous four years.

We are providing $1.4 billion over three years to enable the continued delivery of primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

I must finish by congratulating Matthew Cooke and his team for their leadership and tireless hard work to drive the positive vision and outcomes of NACCHO during my time”

Senator Fiona Nash pictured above with NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke at a recent Parliamentary event in Canberra

Page 6/24  Aboriginal Health Newspaper DOWNLOAD FREE PDF HERE

In case you missed this is the list of all major parties

#HealthElection16 Aboriginal Health policy announcements this week

The Greens

Labor

NACCHO Chair

AMA

NACCHO Members

NACCHO Affiliates

The Coalition Government is committed to closing the gap and achieving health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians.

We recognise that good health is both a key enabler and outcome that supports children to go to school, adults to lead productive working lives, and builds strong and resilient communities.

The Coalition Government has a proud record on Indigenous health. We are on track to meet the target of halving the child mortality rate by 2018. The gap has narrowed by 34%.

We have also seen a 19% decrease in chronic disease mortality; and there has been some progress on closing the gap in life expectancy.

Better health leads to improved school attendance and workforce participation.

The outlook for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes is improving. However, I will not shirk the clear fact that there is much more to do.

The passion and commitment which drove me to enter politics over 10 years ago has driven me as Minister responsible for Indigenous Health and will continue as we roll out The Implementation Plan.

We are providing $1.4 billion over three years to enable the continued delivery of primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

We have recently announced further funding to the Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programme, and furthered our commitment to eradicate trachoma – Australia being the only developed nation in the world to still have this eye condition.

We are investing an additional $94 million over three years, commencing in 2015-16, to expand maternal and child health services to ensure Indigenous children have the best possible start in life and are able to succeed at school.

In the interests of continuity, the Coalition decided to adopt and build on the 10 year National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013-2023), delivered when Labor was in power. That document was a high level, strategic document – the Implementation Plan now details actions and achievable goals.

The release of this Implementation Plan is an important milestone in Indigenous health and is the result of deep cooperation between the Government and indigenous stakeholders.

The Implementation Plan is a ten-year road map: a strategy to improve the health of Indigenous children, Indigenous youth and Indigenous adults. It is further evidence of the Coalition Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap.

It introduces strategies and actions to improve access of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to health care services.

The Implementation Plan also includes actions to improve the cultural safety of health services.

I worked extremely hard with Labor and the Greens to make sure the Implementation Plan had tri-party support, so that it will withstand the political cycle. The Plan won’t be ripped apart the next time the Government changes because it had the support of all parties

The Plan commits the sector and the Government to increasing the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-4 who have had at least one health check a year from 23 to 69 per cent by 2023.

It also aims to increase the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth who have never smoked from 77 to 91 per cent by 2023; and the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are fully immunised by age 1 from 85 per cent to 88 per cent by 2023.

Going forward, the Australian Government will continue to work in partnership with the Aboriginal community controlled health sector, including the National Health Leadership Forum, in delivering, reviewing and reporting on the Implementation Plan.

PM

Update 30 June ABC

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made a fresh pitch to Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory as he seeks to firm up votes ahead of Saturday’s poll.

Speaking on 105.7 ABC Darwin, based in the Coalition’s marginal seat of Solomon, Mr Turnbull was asked whether he would retain a focus on Indigenous affairs and retain the portfolio within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The seat is currently held by a margin of only 1.5 per cent by incumbent Country Liberals party (CLP) politician Natasha Griggs.

Mr Turnbull said he had demonstrated his commitment to Aboriginal people by recently attending the Kenbi land title handover in the NT.

“It is my government that has set up the Indigenous procurement program which has now seen — we are moving towards — 3 per cent of all Commonwealth contracts, by number, going to Indigenous businesses,” Mr Turnbull said.

“That is the target and over $150 million in less than a year has gone to Indigenous businesses, many of them of course being businesses set up by Territorians from Indigenous people from the Territory,” he said.

Mr Turnbull also said he thought people in the NT would be wise enough not to confuse federal issues with the woes being experienced by the NT’s CLP government.

“The people of Darwin and the people of the Northern Territory more generally are politically wise enough to know the difference between Territory politics and federal politics,” he said.

REDFERN STATEMENT READ 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 : 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

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NACCHO #ATSISPEP News Alert : Preview First Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference in Alice Springs this week

helen-peterson,-elizabeth-taylor,-evelyn-peterson-data

A community’s journey to find an answer to suicide: Photo:  Helen Peterson, Elizabeth Taylor and Evelyn Peterson. Elizabeth Taylor, who lost her teenage friend to suicide, said the whole town was hurting. “Everyone here in Leonora is like family — we all know each other — so when somebody takes their life it hurts everyone,” Ms Taylor said.

“No one should be able to take their own lives — it’s so preventable.”

But Leonora is determined to face its grief.

The town of Leonora, in Western Australia’s northern Goldfields is searching for answers after a spate of suicides. Four young people from the community have taken their own lives since Christmas — all of them Aboriginal.

Full ABC Story below

Previewing the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference in Alice Springs this week

Croakey New

 

DOWNLOAD THE 24 PAGE CONFERENCE PROGRAM HERE

ATSISPEP-ConferenceProgram MAY 2016

The inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference will be held in Alice Springs this week, and is expected to feature discussions about strengths-based, community-driven solutions.

The conference will also hear of the importance of collective healing and secure funding arrangements, according to Summer May Finlay, a Yorta Yorta woman, Croakey contributor and PhD candidate.

Summer May Finlay writes:

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are strong and proud. Yet there probably isn’t an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family who hasn’t in some way been touched by suicide or self-harm.

An individual’s social and emotional well-being is closely strongly influenced by and connected to their family and communities’ well-being as well as a strong connection to culture and country.

As well, social determinants that negatively effect people include poverty, unemployment, lack of housing, lack of access to appropriate services and ongoing racism. These make significant contribution to a sense of helplessness, hopelessness and despair for some people and can result in destructive behaviours.

This is why the Inaugural National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference is bringing together people, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to discuss not only the appallingly high rates of suicide seen in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander statistics, but also how to work towards a healthy future for individuals, families and communities.

There has been much in the media recently about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and suicide. There was considerable information about the statistics, how terrible they are and the need to address the issue some how. There were many individual’s commentaries about what could be possible solutions.

What the conference aims to do is to bring together people who work in the space at a local level, experts and community to yarn about community-based solutions and the community supports which are required to develop and implement them.

No quick fixes

There cannot be one-size fits all approaches. There are no quick fixes. There are no solutions that can achieve the unachievable in a political cycle. Over 200 years of colonisation, dispossession, racism, discrimination and marginalisation have taken a toll on our communities.

No one knows these impacts better than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves; therefore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-driven solutions are required.

The conference will be held on May 5-6 at the Alice Springs Conference Centre. Keynote speakers are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people including Stan Grant and Rosalie Kunoth- Monks. Other significant speakers include Professor Tom Calma, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, Professor Pat Dudgeon, Project Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) and Richard Weston, CEO of the Healing Foundation.

The conference organisers also recognised that we could learn from the experiences of Indigenous people from other countries and have included international representation in the program.

Professor Tom Calma AO, former Social Justice Commissioner, believes that the conference is significant because it prioritises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ perspectives.

“The real significance is that this the first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference is that has been organised by us, with most of the speakers and workshops delivered by our people, and the majority of the participants are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” he said.

Focus on protective factors

Vicki O’Donnell, CEO of the Kimberley Aboriginal Health Services Ltd, is a member of the Conference Advisory Committee, and believes the significance of the conference is the strengths-based approach.

“We want to focus on interventions which promote cultural continuity, identity and language. We see these as protective factors. Part of that is building resilient, long-lasting programs,” Ms O’Donnell says.

Professor Calma agrees that a strengths-based approach is one of the key aspects of the conference, which is why there will be a focus on learning from the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“We have a number of objectives, and first and foremost is the opportunity for people to learn more about suicide prevention and to share their ideas,” he said. “This learning is not only for government or professionals but also enables communities to share their experiences and thoughts about what needs to be in place.”

Ms O’Donnell agrees that the priority is hearing from people who are working in the space or have lived experience.

She expects the conference will also profile the importance of collective healing, believing that we need to come together as a collective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the country to learn from and support each other.

“As Aboriginal people coming together, we can showcase the good work that’s been done,” she said. “We have common issues and gaps. The conference can also lead to collaborations across the country.”

Ms O’Donnell also expects the conference can assist non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations working in the space. She said:

“For non-Aboriginal people, I would like for them to become more aware of the underlying issues [of suicide and self harm].

The other significant things I hope they take away is that for effective solutions, they need to be co-designed with Aboriginal families and communities. Also, I want to see the non-Aboriginal organisations who receive Aboriginal funding to facilitate a space for this to occur.”

Conference themes

Themes of the conference reflect a strengths-based approach, and include:

  • Community Based Solutions
  • Cultural Solutions
  • Social Determinants
  • Cultural Practices
  • Data and Statistics
  • Prison and its impacts
  • Stolen Generations.

To ensure attendance from all around Australia and from people who might not have had support to attend, the conference offered scholarships or bursaries. Professor Calma said:

“We want to recognise the people who are doing great work, and there are some fantastic groups at the local level who are building peoples awareness and resilience. The participants are from all over the country and… through our bursary program, we were able to make sure that a variety of people from across the country are represented.

We also wanted to make sure that the minority groups of people within our communities are equally represented such as LGBTI, those with disabilities, people very remote communities with limited English and people with lived experience. We also wanted to make sure we had people represented from the stolen generations.”

One could be forgiven for thinking that the conference will be all serious; however, if there is one thing we are good at as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is being able to laugh together, even when things aren’t so great.

Professor Calma says that laughter will also be part of the conference: “One of the thing about Aboriginal people is we can laugh in tough times. The conference is a serious matter but there will be some lighter moments.”

Conference organisers recognise that the conversations may be difficult for some people, and have ensured there are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health professionals and psychologists to speak to conference attendees. Three counsellors at the conference will be from the Kimberley Aboriginal Health Services Ltd.

Social media tips

For those of you on social media – we encourage people to tweet, the hashtag is #ATSISPEP. Please keep in mind when engaging with social media that suicide and self-harm are sensitive issues.

Below are some tips on how to engage with social media and the sensitive issue of self-harm and suicide.

• Please do not record, stream or post video of people’s presentations without their express permission.

• Please don’t post tweets with people’s personal stories or photos without their permission.

• We encourage social media posts, which are strengths-based and solutions-focused in keeping with the conference tone.

• We encourage healthy conversations; however, we know trolls do exist and recommend you ignore, report or block them if they engage in negative debate.

Of course, there will be some take-home messages for governments too.

Ms O’Donnell said:

“I want the government to sit up and pay attention to the good work that’s happening in communities. There are some great programs but the funding isn’t sustainable. Every year we have to fight for funds. We shouldn’t have to do that. We don’t want to be in the same situation three years later.”

• On Twitter follow: @OnTopicAus & #ATSISPEP

• For more information on the conference please visit the website: http://www.atsispep.sis.uwa.edu.au/natsispc-2016

local-aboriginal-woman-karen-beasley-data

by Rhiannon Shine

‘Everyone here in Leonora is like family’

Elizabeth Taylor, who lost her teenage friend to suicide, said the whole town was hurting.

“Everyone here in Leonora is like family — we all know each other — so when somebody takes their life it hurts everyone,” Ms Taylor said.

“No one should be able to take their own lives — it’s so preventable.”

But Leonora is determined to face its grief.

About 20 residents from the town have set off on a one-week 3,600-kilometre road trip through the desert to attend Australia’s first-ever Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference in Alice Springs on May 5 and 6.

The conference is focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander responses to suicide and self-harm.

Presentations will come almost exclusively from Indigenous people.

‘There is no support out there’

Karen Beasley is one of those going on the journey.

“I’m hoping to learn from others and I am hoping to maybe help others,” she said.

“I am looking forward to going to this conference and being with other Indigenous people.”

Ms Beasley lost her niece to suicide in January, just three months after she attempted to take her own life.

“There is no support out there in our communities,” she said.

“There are young people in the communities that you know well.

“One minute they are there and the next minute they are gone. It’s very sad.”

Ms Beasley said finding out about the death of her niece “was like a big brick hitting [me] in the face”.

Leonora Aboriginal elder Richard Evans is the driving force behind the trip to Alice Springs.

He said the trip to the conference was equally as important as the event itself.

“Most of our people… have never been out of Leonora, so I’m trying to take some people across [to] Alice Springs so that they can see outside of Leonora and see what other people are doing out there,” he said.

“I am hoping that they will come back with something bigger and better than what they got here. I hope it broadens their horizons.”

‘It will be an emotional journey’

Ngaanyatjarra elder Glen Cook will act as a cultural guide on the journey.

The group will stop in other remote Aboriginal communities en route to Alice Springs, to see how they deal with issues such as suicide and self-harm.

Mr Cook said it would be an eye-opening experience for the young people.

“It will be an emotional journey because they are carrying a burden on their shoulder and it will bring a lot of memories of people that have passed away,” he said.

“I hope that the young people … will bring a lot of good ideas back,” he said.

Leonora local Evelyn Peterson, who lost a friend to suicide, said she wanted to learn how to spot the signs of someone who was suicidal.

“Life is too short — especially for these young ones. That is what makes it harder; we didn’t know those young people were going through those things,” she said.

“Everybody needs someone to talk to.”

Leonora Deputy Shire President Matt Taylor said he hoped the group would return with ideas on how to rebuild and prevent any more young lives from being lost.

“Our community has been treading on eggshells. It has been very difficult to find a way forward,” Mr Taylor said.

“From the conference in Alice Springs they will bring back the knowledge and hopefully a path on how to empower themselves and our younger generations.”

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