NACCHO press release :Download the Closing the Gap progress report: small steps make ongoing commitment vital

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Closing the Gap on track: but more to be done

The National Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) today welcomed the Closing the Gap Progress Report findings as confirmation that the program is working, but that there is still more to be done to ensure that the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians does not widen.

DOWNLOAD the COAG reform Council report here

 Included below Close the Gap and AAP news press release

Download NACCHO Media Release here

NACCHO Chair, Justin Mohamed (pictured above) , said that it was imperative to continue the good progress made in halving the gap in child death rates, improving early childhood education and year 12 or equivalent attainment.

Progress

“The Close The Gap programs are working towards achieving their goal, and improving the health and life expectancy of Aboriginal Australians,” said Mr Mohamed.

“The 150 Aboriginal community controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) that NACCHO represents continue to work to improve Aboriginal health and wellbeing across the board at a local community level, providing over 75 per cent of the work on-the-ground to Close The Gap.

“While we have seen vast improvement in child death rates, more must be done to address the overall mortality rates.

“The death rates of Aboriginal Australians have seen little change. The main cause of deaths for Aboriginal Australians is circulatory disease – attributed to the high level of tobacco usage, poor diet, physical inactivity and hypertension.

“It’s imperative that Close The Gap gets long term investment from governments, rather than just three or four year funding phases, to ensure that they have resources to deliver these vital services.

“The National Partnership Agreement hangs in the balance – which means some of these programs are on a precipice – whilst the Federal Government has renewed its commitment, States and Territories are lagging behind.

“We need Aboriginal health and Close The Gap to be a priority for all governments that goes beyond party politics. These programs which have taken a foothold must be allowed to continue to grow and build momentum so that Close The Gap can continue to improve Aboriginal peoples’ health and chances in life.

“Aboriginal ill-health and mortality rates present a grim picture – one that is out of step comparative to other Australians.

“Close The Gap is about improving outcomes for Aboriginal people, but unless these vital programs get ongoing funding, our chance at increasing life expectancy and health for Aboriginal people narrows.

“Aboriginal comprehensive primary health care provided by Aboriginal communities is the key to making a difference to Aboriginal health outcomes,” said Mr Mohamed.

Closing the Gap progress report: small steps make ongoing commitment vital

Australia is on track to halve the gap in child death rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians but a much greater effort is needed to achieve equality in life expectancy by 2030, an independent report has found.

Close the Gap campaign co-chairs Mick Gooda and Jody Broun welcome the positive results in relation to lowering the child mortality gap

Mr Gooda said addressing child mortality is critical in efforts to close the gap and will help drive improvements in life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

However, Mr Gooda said more needs to be done because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still dying at nearly twice the rate of other Australians.

“The reduction in the death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is a real step forward, but there is long way to go to improve child health outcomes more broadly.

“The good news is that 91% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote communities are enrolled in a preschool program and the new attendance target is welcomed.

“We believe the improvements outlined in this report point to what’s possible when we have co-ordinated and long term action from all governments,” Mr Gooda said.

The findings, released today, are part of a report prepared for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on behalf of the COAG Reform Council. The report assesses the progress of Australian governments against the Closing the Gap targets on education, employment and health.

Ms Broun said it is essential that all governments recommit to the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes as a matter of urgency.

“We call on all Australian Governments to put greater effort into closing the life expectancy gap by 2030,” said Ms Broun.

“So far, the Federal and Victorian governments have renewed their funding commitment to the NPA. We urge all other Australian governments to commit to the future health of our people through a renewed NPA.

“In this federal election year, it’s important to remember that the Closing the Gap agenda is a truly multi-partisan national project which must be backed by multi-decade commitments spanning policy cycles, funding agreements and governments”, she said.

National AAP news coverage

MORE action is needed to close the life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians to meet the 2031 target, a national report warns.

The life expectancy gap is 11.5 years for men and 9.7 years for women.

In 2008, federal, state and territory governments agreed on six targets to tackle indigenous disadvantage in life expectancy, health, education and employment.

Only the Northern Territory is on track to close the life expectancy gap, according to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council report released on Wednesday.

Heart attacks and strokes were the most common cause of Aboriginal deaths.

Death rates had declined in Queensland, but not at the needed pace, while NSW and South Australia were not on track to achieve the target, the COAG report said.

Western Australia’s indigenous death rates had also dipped, but the state had not set a target.

 The report noted progress in reducing the death rates of Aboriginal children aged under five.

But it found half of indigenous mothers were still smoking during pregnancy.

Literacy and numeracy skills of indigenous children were also lagging behind, the report said.

On efforts to increase indigenous employment, it said only NSW had seen some improvement.

The early childhood education target to improve access to preschool for all indigenous four-year-olds in remote communities is expected to be achieved this year.

The federal government accepted the COAG report’s recommendation to set a new target to boost attendance levels in preschool programs.

Year 12 completion rates for indigenous children had improved, and WA, SA, NT and ACT were on track to meet the 2020 target, the report said.

National Congress of Australia’s First People spokesman Les Malezer said the small improvements in the report were welcome, but it also came as a warning that more work was needed.

He reiterated a call for a justice target, to reduce the high representation of Aboriginal people in Australian j

 

NACCHO dental health news:NACCHO wants fluoride added to the water supplies of all Aboriginal communities.

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NACCHO- the National Authority for comprehensive Aboriginal Primary Health  wants fluoride added to the water supplies of all Aboriginal communities.

 The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) CEO Lisa Briggs  gave evidence to a House of Representatives inquiry hearing into adult dental services today.
 

Download the NACCHO submission

In its submission NACCHO called on the federal government to provide money to Aboriginal-controlled health organisations so they could provide dental services.

Aboriginal people were more likely than non-indigenous Australians to have lost all their teeth, it said.

The organisation urged state and territory government to fluoridate all town, city and Aboriginal community water supplies.

As well more work was needed to attract dental workers to remote Aboriginal communities.

“There are concerns among dental health professionals that positions in Aboriginal communities are not seen as part of the usual career ladder,” NACCHO said.

Exposure to Aboriginal controlled health organisations during training would help attract more young dentists.

Proper funding would allow organisations to offer competitive remuneration packages that would encourage dentists to remote and rural areas

RECOMMENDATIONS

NACCHO recommends that the NPA for adult public dental services:

1. Provide culturally appropriate oral health services to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;

2. Increase the oral health workforce available to improve the oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;

3. Increase oral health promotion activity with the aim of improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;

4. Improve the collection, quality and dissemination of oral health information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; and

5. Foster the integration of oral health within health systems and services, particularly with respect to primary health care and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In addition, NACCHO asserts that:

 1) Oral Health is a priority health issue for Aboriginal peoples.

2) Oral health is a core part of the holistic health that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services aim to provide.

3) Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services should provide primary oral health care services including emergency and preventative oral health care and oral health promotion.

4) Australia’s National Partnership Agreement to come into effect June 2014 should be fully funded and implemented, in particular in relation to measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in particular.

5) The Patient-assisted Transport Scheme (PATS) must be extended to dental patients.

6) Dental services should be subsidised to all needy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to reduce or eliminate cost as a barrier to accessing services..

7) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in correctional facilities should have access to culturally appropriate oral health programs.

8) All oral health workers must receive cultural awareness training either as part of their initial training or through on-going professional development. This will increase the level of culturally accessible oral health services.

9) There should be support for more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals to be trained in all the oral health profession: dentists, dental hygienists, dental therapists, etc.

10) The Australian Dental Council (ADC) should include performance indicators for training schools for recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees and have a target of 2.4% of each profession being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander individuals.

11) Oral health should be included in the core training of all health workers including Aboriginal Health Workers.

12) Fluoridation of drinking water supplies is an effective strategy to reduce oral health problems.

13) Culturally appropriate Oral Health promotion materials need to be developed, tested for impact, and widely disseminated if effective.

14) Improved and regular collection of data on Aboriginal oral health status and use of services is needed to allow monitoring of the impact of interventions and assessment of achievement of oral health goals and targets.

NACCHO will:

15) Work with all Australian governments to develop oral health service provision at all its member health services.

16) Work with stakeholders to develop cultural awareness training for all oral health workers.

17) Campaign in support of fluoridation of city, town and community water supplies.

18) Improve the level of useful Aboriginal oral health data initially by influencing the capacity for the sector to collect national data collection in those Aboriginal Community Controlled Services with an existing oral health service – e.g periodontal and dental caries status, oral hygiene knowledge and periodontal disease links with Diabetes etc.

19) Support research to collect information on the areas of individual oral health behaviours, knowledge and barriers in regards to oral health including the availability and affordability of oral hygiene items.

 NACCHO calls upon the Federal Government, in collaboration with state and territory governments and NACCHO, to:

20) Fully fund and implement the 2014 National Partnership Agreement

21) Set and monitor goals and time specific targets in relation to meeting a range of oral health outcomes such as caries rates, periodontal disease rates and tooth extraction rates.

22) Formally recognise oral health as a key part of Aboriginal holistic health care to be provided by ACCHSs.

23) Allocate resources specifically for oral health services for Aboriginal peoples.

24) Increase oral health promotion activities in ACCHSs. This would require both increased financing for the development and testing of suitable materials, service provision and training of the AHW workforce.

25) Provide subsidised tooth brushes, tooth paste and floss to all remote communities in the first place and extend this as necessary to other communities where data collection indicates there is an access issue for these items.

NACCHO calls upon state and territory governments to:

26) Fluoridate all town, city and Aboriginal community water supplies that do not naturally contain a level of fluoride sufficient to prevent dental caries and immediately fluoridisation where this has ceased.

We welcome feedback on this recommendations

NACCHO press release: National Aboriginal health authority welcomes the Victorian ” COAG challenge”

Justin Mohamed high res

Justin Mohamed, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s challenge to the Federal Government to match its increased investment improving Aboriginal health through a new National Partnership Agreement.

Mr Mohamed was commenting on the urgent need for all COAG state and territory premiers to match Federal Government’s $777 million under a new 3 year agreement similar to Victorian Government 4 year of commitment of $61.7 million, the largest ever investment in Aboriginal Health

Justin Mohamed said “NACCHO’s affiliates in each state and territories are the only structured systems who have worked with each State and Territory health minister and premiers as part of the COAG push for the sign up to the NPA.

Victorian Minister David Davis has acknowledge the partnership with the NACCHO affiliate VACCHO (Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation) in ensuring their government continued their commitment to Closing the Gap and calling on other COAG states and Territories to do the same”

“All NACCHO state and territory affiliates have a significant role at a jurisdictional level to ensuring that Closing the Gap commitment are kept ” Mr Mohamed said

“As I said earlier this week the pressure is now squarely on the states and territories as signatories of the 2008 Close the Gap Statement of Intent in which they committed to work together to close the disgraceful seventeen year gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians by 2030.

The states and territories need to uphold their commitment to this important goal and sign up to continue the National Partnership Agreement which is due to expire in less than two months.”

Improving Aboriginal health is not a quick fix – it requires a long-term commitment by all levels of government.’

NACCHO Close the Gap campaign political alert:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health – ongoing commitment from all Australian governments is vital

 

Mick

“Five years ago all sides of politics agreed to do something about the national disgrace that sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die more than 10 years younger than the broader Australian community,” Campaign Co- Chair Mick Gooda pictured above said

Close the Gap

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health must be placed on the agenda for this Friday’s COAG meeting if there is to be any hope of closing the life expectancy gap by 2030, the Close the Gap Campaign said today.

 “Five years ago all sides of politics agreed to do something about the national disgrace that sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die more than 10 years younger than the broader Australian community,” Campaign Co- Chair Mick Gooda said.

 “While the 2008 COAG meeting saw federal, state and territory governments commit to long term funding for services and programs though the National Partnership Agreement, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is absent from this Friday’s COAG meeting agenda.

 “We know that the policies and programs resulting from these 2008 COAG commitments are starting to bear fruit and make a real difference on the ground; for example, mortality rates for under five-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are falling,” Mr Gooda said.

 “But the life expectancy gap remains just as unacceptable today as it was back then and I know that most of those attending COAG this Friday agree with me.”

 The National Partnership Agreement which has driven efforts to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes is set to expire at the end of June 2013. Despite Federal Government indications that it will continue funding its share of the Agreement, state and territory governments have not yet signed up to the Agreement  leaving some services and programs in real doubt as to whether they can continue to provide badly needed services beyond 30 June.

 Campaign Co Chair Jody Broun said governments of all persuasions owed it to the rest of the country to maintain their efforts to close the life expectancy gap by 2030.

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“There’s no doubt that nothing short of ongoing funding and commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from all levels of government is what’s needed to keep on track,” Ms Broun said.

“State, territory and federal governments need to continue working together to fund more services and programs that make a real difference to health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“We have to maintain our efforts to improve access to critical chronic disease services and to deliver anti-smoking measures, more affordable medicines and healthy lifestyle programs. We need to support and build capacity in our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and we need to build on the inroads already made by our child and maternal health services,” she said.

“We need more Aboriginal health workers, allied health professionals, doctors, nurses and health promotion workers.

“A recommitment from state, territory and federal governments at this Friday’s COAG meeting is needed to quite literally save lives.”

For Mick Gooda, please contact Louise McDermott on 0419 258 597

For Jody Broun, please contact Liz Willis on 0457877408

NACCHO health news:STOP overrepresentation:Justice reinvestment – all Governments must commit to action

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 National Congress Co-Chair Jody Broun pictured above

Justice Reinvestment presents a unique opportunity to have Aboriginal communities involved at every step of the way in identifying and implementing solutions to deal with overrepresentation within our own communities,”

Congress has called for all Australian governments to commit to Justice Reinvestment to stop the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the justice system.

READ and DOWNLOAD the full National Congress submission here

 Congress will tell a Senate Inquiry today that the strength of Justice Reinvestment is its localised approach to fit the needs and situation of each community.

 “Justice Reinvestment presents a unique opportunity to have Aboriginal communities involved at every step of the way in identifying and implementing solutions to deal with overrepresentation within our own communities,” said Congress Co-Chair Jody Broun.

 “The local approach of Justice Reinvestment would be strengthened by the national implementation of Closing the Gap justice targets that Congress has previously called for – to halve the rates of incarceration for our Peoples and to halve the rate at which our Peoples report having experienced physical or threatened violence within the past 12 months,” she said.

 Co-Chair Les Malezer said the Congress submission to the inquiry also details how Justice Reinvestment addresses both the cause and effect of Aboriginal peoples’ interaction with the justice system.

 “It does not mean reduced police intervention and protection for victims of crime but using resources in a more efficient manner, which is crucial when it comes to dealing with violence against Aboriginal women and children.

 “Top down approaches have never been successful or been owned by communities, solutions that make the most of the strengths and knowledge within our communities have a much greater chance of success,” he said.

 Congress Director and Justice Working Group Convenor, Tammy Solonec will present the Congress submission to the Senate Inquiry into the value of justice reinvestment approach to criminal justice in Australia in Perth today.

 Ms Solonec said the four key points of Congress’s submission are backed by Congress members and delegates through the Justice Working group.

 “The Congress submission calls for a commitment to Justice Reinvestment by the Federal and all State and Territory Governments; the establishment of a national approach to data collection on justice indicators; and for funding and operational support for analysis and implementation of community-led Justice Reinvestment programs in targeted communities,” she said.

Read the full Congress submission here: nationalcongress.com.au/justice

Contact: Liz Willis 0457 877 408

http://nationalcongress.com.au/justice-reinvestment-all-governments-must-commit-to-action/

Liz Willis

Communications

NACCHO health news:For true primary healthcare and better outcomes, support Aboriginal community controlled healthcare

Selwyn B

Selwyn Button, CEO of the NACCHO affiliates QAIHC (Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council.) writes

As published this week in Melissa Sweet’s health blog that we highly recommend you follow

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Over the past few weeks, authorities have released a number of reports about the performance and expenditure of our national health system, and some of these relate directly to efforts aimed at improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

View reports here

This might seem a good thing on face value, as we need to know whether our efforts are making any difference, and where to direct resources in future to ensure ongoing outcomes.

But if this information is used without the appropriate context, it may be used as a means of reducing expenditure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, in the name of creating ”efficiencies”.

This presents a significant risk for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as we continue efforts in improving the health of our people, while remaining at the whim of Ministers and government officials who rely on this information to determine policy priorities and resource investments.

What is needed now is for governments to re-think how we analyse, interpret and use data to inform ongoing priorities, practice and future innovation.

Firstly, let’s take the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework report released in early 2013. and used as the main body of evidence for the Prime Minister’s Close the Gap Report card.

This report clearly demonstrated that the most significant gains in access to care and improvement of outcomes is and continues to be achieved through the national network of community controlled health services.

Upward of 75% of health improvements outlined in the report were directly attributed to the community controlled sector, and clearly justifies the increased investment into community controlled services as the most appropriate provider of healthcare for Indigenous people as they are making the best health gains.

Secondly, let’s consider the most recent Indigenous Expenditure report of 2012 produced by the Productivity Commission, that averages overall Medicare expenditure on Indigenous people as 60 cents in the dollar compared to the rest of the Australian population.

As many readers would be aware, Medicare was created as a safety net to ensure that all Australians get access to required care and benefits through quality primary health care services.

With community controlled services focused on providing comprehensive primary health care to our people, efforts in increasing access to an individual’s entitlements through Medicare can and will be best achieved by our organisations.

In spite of this data, we now have more recent releases stating the overall expenditure of the National health budget is 1.5 times greater for Indigenous people than the broader population.

Additionally, we have received further data stating that mortality rates for certain illnesses are only reducing by slight amounts and chronic diseases are still high placing burden upon the public health system.

Although much of this information is already 2 years old by the time it is released, it fails to identify why much of the burden is borne by secondary and tertiary public health systems, as access to comprehensive primary health care is still limited for our people nationally.

Consequently, when you don’t have access to quality primary health care, many of our people will present at secondary and tertiary facilities when their issues have escalated to a point where hospital is the last resort, requiring treatment for not only one health condition, but generally 2 or 3 issues.

Even though we have over 150 community controlled organisations across the country, our services do not exist in every corner of the nation, and fundamentally this would be impossible to achieve without enormous costs involved.

Alternatively, what we should be aiming to achieve is to have a strong community controlled presence providing quality care to our communities in all areas with populations greater than 900 residents focused on increasing access to comprehensive primary health care.

Why primary health care? Current and historical research by credible researchers have proven that the most effective means of delivering care and improving outcomes for Indigenous people is through community controlled services.

Health economists such as Professor Theo Vos and colleagues identified this in their work in assessing cost effectiveness of primary prevention activities across all health providers. This work clearly highlighted that compared with government-run, mainstream and private services, community controlled organisations achieve close to 50% better outcomes than other providers in delivering care to our own people.

Although this method was documented to be more expensive than other models, the focus on outcomes should not be lost, as the only variable included in his analysis that increased the overall expenditure against the model was transportation services for clients.

Due to the implementation of a comprehensive primary health care model, transport services are a core component and will always be included within the community controlled delivery of care, which does not diminish the model but does and will continue to achieve far greater outcomes.

Unfortunately, the notion of ‘If you build it he will come..’ only works for Kevin Costner in the movies, and does not work to improve health outcomes for our people.

With all this data now publicly available for all to review and analyse, we must hope that in determining future policy and funding priorities for Indigenous health care, consideration is given to understanding the context and reliablity of the information.

Importantly, there already exists some credible evidence that encapsulates comprehensive primary health care delivery into a set of core functions. This research was conducted and undertaken as a partnership between all healthcare providers, and should be the central component of any current and future policy debate about improving the health of Indigenous people, as it is widely accepted within the community controlled sector as the gold-standard in health service delivery for our people.

This work is the Core Functions of Primary Health Care in the Northern Territory, and with minimal adjustments to ensure local contexts are considered can and is applicable across all parts of the country. Utilising the Core Functions as a means to support improving outcomes goes a long way to encapsulate high quality service delivery standards with current data and information to ensure that we are all targeting the right priorities, through appropriate mechanisms.

This was not evident at start of the COAG investment to support overall Indigenous improvements, which saw over 65% of the entire $1.6B commitment channelled into mainstream and government-run service providers, as it was determined the most effective way to improve outcomes. Data was used showing that 70% of our people access care through government-run and mainstream services.

New data and information available now rebuts this myth that community controlled services have struggled with over the last 4 years.

Information now available within the community controlled sector shows that over 40% of Indigenous Queenslanders access care regularly through community controlled services, yet we are not in every part of the state.

With the end of the current Indigenous Health National Partnership Agreement set for 30 June 2013, we need to ensure that all of the relevant information and context is considered as part of ongoing discussions, policy setting and resource allocations to improve the health of our people.

Consequently, we are confident that this evidence will lead to what we have been seeking for many years – an increased investment in those services known to make a difference to the health of our people. That is community controlled organisations.

• Follow Selwyn Button on Twitter @qaihc

NACCHO Press Release:Aboriginal Community Controlled Health vital to closing the gap

Justin Low res.

On National Close the Gap Day it’s critical political leaders around the country recognise the importance of supporting Aboriginal Community Controlled Health as the key mechanism for improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

DOWNLOAD the full release here

 Justin Mohamed, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), said it was widely acknowledged that culturally appropriate healthcare services make a real difference.

 “Healthcare services provided by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people must continue to be supported and invested in if governments are serious about achieving health equality,” Mr Mohamed said.

“The latest Closing the Gap Report released by the Gillard Government last month highlighted the vital role of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health in improving health outcomes in life expectancy and child mortality.

 “Any genuine effort to close the gap on Aboriginal health must have Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations at its core.”

 Mr Mohamed said Aboriginal people were concerned that political leaders had not renewed their funding commitment to the Close the Gap strategy – due to expire in June this year.

 He said Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations are the preferred provider in the delivery and are largely responsible for the health gains showcased in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Performance Framework 2012. 

 “It is imperative that governments at state and national level recommit to the objectives of the Close the Gap strategy and renew their funding commitment through the National Partnership Agreements and ensure improved implementation of any new commitment is actioned immediately and into the future. 

 “There are many services and, more importantly, individuals and their families relying on programs that currently have no certainty past June 2013.

 “We are urging the Government to make a significant announcement sooner rather than later.”

 Close the Gap Day on 21 March is being celebrated by tens of thousands of people across Australia to highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and urge government action.

AMA supports NACCHO’s call to the Commonwealth to renew their commitment to the COAG National Partnership Agreement

 

NACCHO calls on the government and opposition during this election year to continue to demonstrate their bipartisan support and commitment to the CTG Statement of Intent by the renewal of the National Partnership Agreement in Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes (that expires 30 June 2013) with the continued level of  funding;

NACCHO press release

AMA Closing the Gap Press release below

AMA calls on the Federal, State and Territory governments to renew their commitment to the COAG National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap, as a key step in addressing health inequalities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

 AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said the Closing the Gap Prime Ministers Report 2013 released today, outlines the improvements that are being made to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, particularly through the COAG National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap, but more can be done.

“The track record has been varied over the decade, but it has been building momentum in recent years,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Improvements are being made, but there is still more to be done if health equality is to be achieved within a generation.

“In 2008, COAG made a commitment to close the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians.

“The COAG National Partnership Agreement expires later this year, and should be fully renewed to ensure momentum is not lost.

“A National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health plan, which is key to closing the life expectancy gap, is currently being developed and COAG should make a long term funding commitment to it.

“The plan needs to be a real road map to measure outcomes with timelines and interim targets, and not just a statement of principles.

“Improving the health of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders is a real problem that needs practical solutions that transcend party-political differences.

“All political parties should make a commitment to health equality.”

6 February 2013


CONTACT: Kirsty Waterford 02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753

Follow the AMA Media on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ama_media
Follow the AMA President on Twitter: http://twitter.com/amapresident

 

NACCHO’s 150+ members achieve great results in Federal health performance report

Health Perform

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (HPF)

Download a copy of report here

Examples of our achievements

  • 2/3 of all performance based outcomes where from the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector
  • 96% increase in episodes (1.22 mil – 2.5 mil) of care being delivered by the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector
  • 150,000 eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients have benefited from the CTG Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS Co-pay)
  • Compared Immunisation coverage rate for 2yr old children are nearly at the same level to wider Australia Immunisation (Aboriginal children 92.3% compared to 92.6% of other children)

Executive summary

This is the fourth report against the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (HPF) and the first report based on the revisions to the framework endorsed by the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council (AHMAC) in 2011

The HPF was designed to measure the impact of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (NSFATSIH) AND WILL BE AN IMPORTANT TOOL FOR DEVELOPING THE NEW National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan(NATSIHP)

See NACCHO recent 2013 submission to NATSIHP

The HPF monitors progress in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes, health system performance and the broader determinants of health. The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is improving for a number of measures, although there remain many areas where further concerted effort will be needed to achieve improvements in health outcomes.

Data quality limitations hamper our ability to monitor Indigenous health and the performance of the health system (see technical Appendix).

Initiatives to improve data quality have been introduced in recent years and are yielding results. However, caution is still required in interpreting these findings. Note : this report includes revised mortality data for the period 2007,2008 and 2009 due to revisions in the WA mortality data for this period.

Council of Australian Governments (COAG)

Targets

In December 2007, COAG agreed to a partnership between all levels of government to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.

During 2008 and 2009 new National Partnership Agreements were developed covering areas such as Indigenous early childhood, health, education and employment. The information in this report mainly relates to the period leading up to these agreements and for many of these initiatives it is still too early for the health outcome data to reflect the impact of this work.

Since the introduction of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (HPF) there has been a significant increase in health assessments and chronic disease management items claimed through Medicare.

Given that two thirds of the current gap in health outcomes is due to chronic disease, these improvements in the detection and management of chronic disease are important.

COAG set six targets in 2008 including :

Closing the life expectancy gap within a generation

  • The gap in life expectancy at birth between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians for 2005-07 was estimated at 11.5 years for males and 9.7 years for females.
  • In the absence of new data on life expectancy (due to be released in late 2013), mortality rates provide an indication of progress. The graph below shows mortality rates from 1998 to 2010 and an indicative trajectory of mortality rates required to reach the target by 2031. This graph shows there has been a significant decline in Indigenous mortality rates in the last decade, however Indigenous rates are currently twice the non-Indigenous rate and this decline would need to accelerate to reach the target.

Halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade

  • In 2008, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child mortality rate was 213 per 100,000 compared to 101 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous children. This makes the baseline gap 112 per 100,000. Note : the 2008 baseline has been revised since the last report due to revisions in the WA mortality data.
  • The graph below shows child mortality rates from 1998 to 2010 and indicative trajectories required to meet the target by 2018. The 2009 and 2010 rates are within the range required to meet the target.

To read the full 227 page report

Download a copy of report here

Press release:Increased community engagement is needed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people

18Justin Mohamed (pictured above) the chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), the national authority in Aboriginal comprehensive primary health Care  has called on the Commonwealth and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people by accepting three basic recommendations;

1. Increasing the engagement of Aboriginal communities and their service provider in the development and implementation of policies and programs. This is in line with the National Framework of Principles for Government Service Delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians agreed by COAG in 2008.

 2.  Resourcing NACCHO to enable our national peak Aboriginal health body to assist in the development and implementation of these policies and programs thereby adding to their effectiveness when they are delivered by our member services on the ground.

3.  Making the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) members more accountable in the proposed COAG “Closing the Gap” mental health targets.

Mr Mohamed said whilst he welcomed the fact that in the release of the 2012 National Report Card Mental Health and Suicide prevention that the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal peoples was included as one of our national priorities he considered the key recommendation did not go far enough in identifying the three major areas of concern of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health movement.

 “Firstly the report acknowledged that Australian governments must start thinking about Aboriginal peoples’ mental health in different ways but the current report card continues to ignore many of the recommendations that NACCHO have repeatedly submitted to mental health enquiries and policy plans since the mid 1980’s.

These include the 1988Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the 1989 National Aboriginal Health Strategy (NAHS), the 1993 NACCHO manifesto (see below) on Aboriginal well-being, 1995 Ways forward: national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health policy, the 1997 Bringing them home report right through to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental and Social and Emotional Wellbeing Plan to commence in 2013.

 Mr Mohamed went on to explain that the evidence presented in these reports shows strong support for investing in culture and communities to support social and emotional wellbeing but to date there has been a lack of coordination and commitment

“Supporting self-determination and working in partnership should be part of any overall response. The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector has historically recommended that services be funded to offer an integrated social and emotional wellbeing program with Aboriginal family support workers, alcohol and substance abuse workers, social workers and psychologists available.

With the national consultations underway for NATSHIP, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental and Social and Emotional Wellbeing Plan to commence in 2013, combined with the current work and future findings of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group now is the perfect time to increase the engagement of Aboriginal communities to find and implement solutions to our mental health and suicide crisis” Mr. Mohamed said.

NACCHO needs to be resourced to enable us to assist in the development and implementation of these policies and programs thereby adding to their effectiveness when they are delivered by our member services on the ground.

Finally as previous Aboriginal health plans – and in particular the 1989 NAHS have all agreed on the key principles to be followed in any mental health plan are, a holistic definition of health, a social determinants approach that involves genuine intersect-verbal collaboration, the centrality of comprehensive primary health care and the importance of Aboriginal community control.

NACCHO would expect that any future plan builds on these agreed principles, which have become increasingly well supported by the evidence over the last twenty years or more.

However, Aboriginal health remains overwhelmingly poor, and improvements have been patchy. NACCHO believes that much of the relative failure of previous Aboriginal health plans has been the result of poor processes for implementation and accountability. Addressing these will be critical to ensuring that the new plan is effective.

We would welcome any form of targets or a position where the government can report back on how they are progressing with closing the gap, particularly in this field of mental health”

NACCHO will be seeking a commitment from the Commonwealth that our organisation, affiliates and members will be resourced to be actively involved in the development and implementation of these policies and programs so that we work with communities and the government agencies to be more responsive to the broader issues around the many wellbeing issues of our people” Mr Mohamed said

 For further details and interviews contact:

 Colin Cowell    T: 0401 331 251    E:  media@naccho.org.au

 National Media and Communications Advisor

 

1993 NACCHO manifesto on Aboriginal well-being:

In a position paper on Aboriginal Mental Health alongside a “Manifesto on Aboriginal Well-Being” NACCHO (September 1993) it was stated that

“For Aborigines, mental health must be considered in the wider (Aboriginal concept of well-being) context of health and well-being. This requires that this health issue be approached in the social emotional context and that both social emotional health and psychiatric disorders encompass oppression, racialism, environmental circumstances, economical factors, stress, trauma, grief, cultural genocide, psychological processes and ill health.”