NACCHO Aboriginal Health Evaluation Alert : Minister @KenWyattMP engages consultants to evaluates the #IAHP Indigenous Australians’ Health Program

Independent consultants have been engaged to conduct evaluations of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Australians’ Health Program (IAHP).

Our focus is on closing the gap and, while we are making gains, we need to accelerate progress and in some cases, just doing more of the same is not going to achieve that,

We need to know what is working well so we can best target our investment in, and support of, health programs.

The consultants will work closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and key consumer, primary health care and government organisations, The subsequent implementation of the agreed evaluation design will be a separate, four-year project.”

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said the two projects were part of a wide ranging approach to monitor and examine the IAHP.See NACCHO background below Part 2 and 3

1.A longer term evaluation of comprehensive primary health care will be co-designed with stakeholders over 9 months, by consultants Allen and Clarke.

2.In addition, a health economics analysis will be undertaken by Deakin University.

This project will consider the IAHP’s return on investment and the relative costs of providing comprehensive primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through Indigenous specific and non-Indigenous health care services.

“Improved health results, social returns and broader economic benefits will be assessed,” said Minister Wyatt.

“This economic evaluation will inform future IAHP investments, to improve efficiency and drive better health outcomes.

“Both studies will be supported by an Evaluation Advisory Group comprised of key stakeholders and health experts, to ensure a wide range of perspectives are taken into account.

“This work aligns with the Turnbull Government’s commitment to a more strategic, long-term approach to Indigenous health and Indigenous affairs as a whole.”

Part 2 NACCHO Background : IAHP Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme

The Indigenous Health Division is responsible for the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, which commenced on 1 July 2014.

This Programme consolidated four Indigenous health funding streams: primary health care base funding; child and maternal health activities; Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (Health); and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund.

The following themes comprise the Programme:

  • Primary Health Care Services;
  • Improving Access to Primary Health Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People;
  • Targeted Health Activities;
  • Capital Works; and
  • Governance and System Effectiveness.

The Guidelines for the Programme provide an overview of the arrangements for the administration of, and activities that may be funded under, the Programme.

PDF version: Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme Guideline – PDF 501 KB

Part 3 NACCHO background history February 2016

NACCHO $ Aboriginal Health Funding alert :Federal Goverment’s Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme

1.Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme – Tackling Indigenous Smoking Innovation Grants

The Australian Government has made available $6.3 million over three financial years from June 2016 to June 2018 for innovation grants. These projects will offer innovative and intense activities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reduce smoking prevalence in remote areas, for pregnant women and for young people vulnerable to entrenched cultural norms of smoking.

It is expected that successful grant recipients will work in collaborative partnerships of research organisations and service providers to seek solutions to reduce rates of smoking that have been resistant to reduction. This arrangement will improve the evidence on how to reduce smoking rates in areas or groups of high need and interventions will be evaluated in context to add to existing understanding of what works and what does not work in what circumstances.

This will be a competitive, open process for which various health service providers and research organisations may apply

2.Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme – Service Maintenance Programme

The Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme’s Service Maintenance Programme (SMP) is providing Commonwealth funded Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) a total of up to $2 million (GST exclusive) in grant funding in 2015-16. SMP grants will provide for the priority repair and upgrade of clinics and staff housing facilities run by organisations which aim to improve access to services and improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

3.Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme – Primary Health Care Activity

The Department of Health has released two Invitations to Apply for the continuation of Primary Health Care and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) in selected communities and regions across Australia for two years from 2016-17. IAHP Primary Health Care Activity aims to improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to effective and high quality health care services essential to improving health and life expectancy, and reducing child mortality. New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services Activity aims to improve the health of Indigenous Australians by improving access to antenatal care and maternal and child health services by Indigenous children, their mothers and families.

4.Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme – New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services Activity

The Department of Health has released two Invitations to Apply for the continuation of Primary Health Care and New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) in selected communities and regions across Australia for two years from 2016-17. IAHP Primary Health Care Activity aims to improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to effective and high quality health care services essential to improving health and life expectancy, and reducing child mortality. New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services Activity aims to improve the health of Indigenous Australians by improving access to antenatal care and maternal and child health services by Indigenous children, their mothers and families

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Disability : Can #NDIS Agency Actions Improve #Indigenous Participant Experience ?

 ” Participants by Indigenous and CALD status : The number of NDIS participants who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander is broadly in line with estimates of disability prevalence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represent 3 per cent of the population (ABS 2017a), and estimates of disability prevalence range from between 1.5 to 2 times the prevalence of the non-Indigenous population (ABS 2016a, 2016b; AIHW 2016).

The NDIS data indicate that about 5 per cent of NDIS participants identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

However, some caution is warranted as it is not clear how the rollout schedule has influenced the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants in the scheme and there are some factors that may make it difficult for the NDIS to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are reluctant to identify as people with disability and have only had a limited interaction with the disability service system (FPDN 2016)).

Download the NDIS Summary Report  ndis-costs-overview

Download the full NDIS Report ndis-costs2

Read over 25 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Disability NDIS articles

 ” The NDIA said work was also underway to develop tailored pathways to ensure the NDIA had the right response for all participants, including people with psychosocial disability, children, people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with more complex needs.”

NDIS Agency Takes Action to Improve Participant Experience

Download 9 Page New-pathway-experience-combined

 ” It is [also] anticipated that the capacity for outreach will be significantly diminished due to the NDIS pricing structure. The most marginalised and vulnerable groups (eg homeless, CALD [culturally and linguistically diverse] communities, young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders), and those who are particularly unwell, often need assertive and active outreach to engage.

With a framework based on individual choice and control, consumers who don’t have knowledge of the NDIS, the ability to advocate for themselves or connections with support services (eg people who are homeless or socially isolated) may miss out on the benefits of the NDIS. It is critical that existing services and supports continue to be funded to ensure supports are provided to the most vulnerable groups. (sub. 50, p. 13) “

NACCHO has #NDIS questions for our ACCHO member discussion

1) Are any of your members approved providers of disability services under the NDIS? What services do they provide?

2) What is your members’ experience of accessing the NDIS, both as providers and assisting potential participants? What works, and what needs improving?

3) What accessible and culturally appropriate resources and documents are available for ACCHS and participants seeking to access the NDIS? Have you developed any resources for your members that you would be willing to share with the network? 

4) If insufficient resources exist, would you be willing to lead a network collaboration to develop some?

5) What other assistance can NACCHO and affiliates provide in supporting ACCHS to access NDIS funding?

NACCHO  welcomes your feedback and comments

NACCHO Contact

Paul Gardner NACCHO Policy Officer Ph: (02) 6246 9314 Email

OR  leave comments below

 ” Thin markets need more attention .When creating a new market for disability supports, there is a risk that, in some areas, or for some types of supports, the market (the number of providers or participants) will be too small to support the competitive provision of services (‘thin market’).

Thin markets are not new — they have been, and will continue to be, a persistent feature of the disability support sector.

In the absence of government intervention, there will be greater shortages, less competition, and ultimately poorer outcomes for participants. Participants at most risk are those who:

  •  live in outer regional, remote or very remote areas
  •  have complex, specialised or high intensity needs, or very challenging behaviours
  •  are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  •  are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
  •  have an acute and immediate need (crisis care and accommodation).

NDIS timetable won’t be met, Productivity Commission warns

The federal government will not meet its target of 475,000 national disability insurance scheme participants by 2019-20, and is failing to grow the disability workforce fast enough to meet the looming demand, the Productivity Commission has warned.

From The Guardian

The commission releases its report on the costs of the $22bn NDIS on Thursday, and offers a bleak assessment of its chances of meeting the tight deadlines set out in a series of bilateral agreements between the commonwealth and the states and territories.

About 100,000 people have already been signed up but the government must develop support plans for at least 475,000 by 2019-20.

To meet that deadline, the NDIS – the biggest social reform since Medicare – is being implemented at a dizzying speed. Advocates have long voiced concerns that the pace of the rollout is compromising decision making and leaving people with a disability with inadequate support packages.

Those fears were confirmed by the Productivity Commission’s report, which said the “[National Disability Insurance Agency’s] focus on participant intake has compromised the quality of plans and participant outcomes”.

“Quality plans are critical, not only for participant outcomes but also for sending the right signals to providers about demand for supports and containing long-term costs of the scheme,” the Productivity Commission said.

The report described the pace of change brought by the NDIS as “unprecedented”, and warned meeting the intake targets would require the approval of hundreds of plans a day, and the review of hundreds more.

In the final year of the transition, it would require the approval of 500 plans – each complex and tailored to the needs of the individual – every day.

“The reality is that the current timetable for participant intake will not be met,” the report said. “Governments and the NDIA need to start planning now for a changed timetable, including working through the financial implications.”

The timetable would be pushed out by at least a year, the report warned, or possibly longer, if the rollout continues to fall behind.

The commission also recommended that states and territories increase their funding to the scheme by 4% from 2019-20, rather than 3.5%.

The growth of the disability workforce was found to be “way too slow”. At full operation, the scheme will require 70,000 additional disability support care workers. That means one in every five jobs created now need to be in the disability sector.

The Productivity Commission recommended the looming shortages be addressed by a targeted approach to skilled migration, intervention in thin markets, and independent price monitoring and regulation.

The report also urged for state and territory funding to be restored to disability advocacy groups.

Advocacy groups fight for the rights and interests of people with a disability and their carers, families and providers, a service particularly important during the complex and confusing NDIS transition.

But in NSW alone, 50 groups are facing closure as the state pulls funding and puts the onus on the NDIS and Commonwealth to replace it.

“As advocacy remains important over the transition period, the commission recommends that funding be restored by jurisdictions that have ceased or reduced funding, and data collection and evaluation of disability advocacy be increased,” the report said.

But the overall message of the report was positive. The NDIS, if implemented well, would greatly improve the lives of people with a disability, it found. The support for the scheme was described as “overwhelming” and “extraordinary”.

The costs were broadly in line with what was expected, although that was largely because not all supports were being used by participants.

The report called for greater attention on the pre-planning and planning phases of the NDIS, which help determine what supports an individual is eligible for and for how long.

It comes just a day after the NDIA announced an overhaul of the way it interacts with people with a disability, promising more face-to-face planning conversations, and simpler and clearer communications.

The NDIA chief executive, Robert De Luca, conceded there had been flaws in the early implementation of the scheme, which were being learned from and addressed.

“What we’ve heard through the process is that the phone conversation hasn’t always been as engaging as it could have been in a face-to-face environment,” De Luca told Guardian Australia.

“The capability of the people on the phone wasn’t at the right level to understand the needs of the people that we’re helping.”

 

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health #JobAlerts #Doctors #RMA17 #OTCC2017 This weeks @DanilaDilba @CAACongress @ahmrc @IUIH_

This weeks #Jobalerts

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

1-8 Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin 8 Positions

9. Senior Rural Medical Practitioner – Port Augusta

10.Nhulundu Health Service : General Practitioner : Gladstone QLD

11. TRACHOMA ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS MANAGER

12. Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community NSW  : Medical Practitioner 

13. Miwatj Health NT Tackling Indigenous Smoking Community Worker

14-18 Congress ACCHO Alice Springs

19-20. AHMRC full-time Vacancies

 21 – 22 JOBS AT IUIH Brisbane

23. Poche Centre for Indigenous Health : Research Associate, Breathe Easy Walk Easy Lungs for Life

VIEW Hundreds of past Jobs on the NACCHO Jobalerts

 

How to submit a Indigenous Health #jobalert ? 

NACCHO Affiliate , Member , Government Department or stakeholders

If you have a job vacancy in Indigenous Health 

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media

Tuesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Wednesday

1-8 Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin 8 Positions

1 Aboriginal Health Practitioner (AHP) / Registered Nurse
2 Transport Officer
3 Team Leader, Deadly Choices
4 Manager – Marketing and Communications
5 Team Leader, Mobile Unit
6 Community Support Worker (AOD)
7 Indigenous Outreach Worker (Palmerston)
8 Clinical Psychologist

WEBSITE

9. Senior Rural Medical Practitioner – Port Augusta

 

Established in the early 1970’s, Pika Wiya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation provides culturally appropriate, comprehensive primary health care services, social support and training to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The organisation operates from its premises in Port Augusta and also has clinics at Davenport, Copley and Nepabunna communities. Pika Wiya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation also provides services to the communities of Quorn, Hawker, Marree, Lyndhurst and Beltana.

About the Opportunity

Pika Wiya Aboriginal Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (Pika Wiya) now has a full-time opportunity for a Senior Rural Medical Practitioner to join their team in Port Augusta, SA.

Reporting to the Medical Director, you will be responsible for the provision of high-level primary health care, ensuring continuity care for individuals, and for prevention programs for the population.

This will be done primarily through the Port Augusta clinic (bulk-billing clinic) – servicing a combination of booked and walk in clients – and also by visiting a remote clinic once a month.

To be successful in this position, you will hold an AHPRA recognised medical degree including general or specialist registration and a Medicare Australia Provider Number.

You will also have demonstrated experience working in a medical practice and have the ability to provide high-quality clinical skills in a rural general practice. Additionally, you must have a good knowledge of the Australian health system and the Medicare billing system.

It is crucial to this role that you have a good understanding of Aboriginal community and health and be willing to involve yourself in the community.

About the Benefits

In return for your hard work and dedication, you will be rewarded with an attractive base salary of $225,000 plus super.

You will also be eligible generous salary packaging, up to$16,000 through Maxxia, to increase your take home pay!

Pika Wiya is also willing to negotiate relocation assistance and accommodation subsidies for the right candidate.

Make a real difference to the health and well-being of a vibrant community – Apply Now!

10.Nhulundu Health Service : General Practitioner : Gladstone QLD

 General Practitioner

(Full time positions based in Gladstone)

Nhulundu Wooribah Indigenous Health Organisation Inc. (“Nhulundu”) is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service delivering an integrated, comprehensive primary health care service to the whole Gladstone community.

Services include; bulk billing GP services, chronic disease management program, diabetes education, health promotion programs, mums and bubs clinic, aged care and community support service functions.

The position is responsible for providing best practice comprehensive primary health care. Leadership in the safety and quality of clinical services delivered by the health team. Optimising uptake and income generation across the service through MBS billings

This is an exciting opportunity to join an enthusiastic and committed team and make a direct impact on improved health outcomes in the community.

  • Competitive Salary Package – including salary sacrifice
  • Well Balanced working environment – Hours = Monday – Friday 8.30 – 5.00pm

Key Requirements include

  • Qualified Medical Practitioner, holding unconditional current registration with the Medical Board of Australia
  • Eligible for unrestricted Medicare Provider Number
  • Vocational Registration preferred
  • Knowledge, understanding and sensitivity towards the social, economic and cultural factors affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health; An ability to communicate and empathise with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

You will be supported by a team of dedicated clinic staff including Registered Nurses Aboriginal Health Workers, the Tackling Indigenous Smoking team, Dietician/Diabetes Educator, Medical Receptionist, Practice Manager and visiting Specialists and Allied Health providers

Enquiries and Applications (Resume) can be addressed to:

Karen Clifford – Business Service Manager:

By Email: jobs@nhulundu.com.au

By Phone: 0428 228 851

 

11. TRACHOMA ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS MANAGER

Job no: 0044056
Work type: Fixed Term
Location: Parkville

Indigenous Health Equity Unit
Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population & Global Health
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences

Salary: $99,199 – $107,370 p.a. plus 9.5% superannuation

The Trachoma Environmental Improvements Manager (TEIM) plays an important role to drive activities and provide focus on the “Environmental” element of the World Health Organisation SAFE strategy to eliminate trachoma. The position will: advocate for safe and functional washing facilities (bathrooms) and work to enhance coordination, collaboration and cooperation between key players at the State and Territory, regional and local levels in health including environmental health, housing, infrastructure and education in targeted regions and remote communities in the tri-state border region of NT, SA, and WA.

The Trachoma Environmental Improvements Manager will be based in Alice Springs and work closely with the Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) Trachoma Coordinator who is also based in Alice Springs.

The position requires travel by vehicle or plane to remote areas of NT, South Australia and Western Australia. Travel to Melbourne and other Australian destinations will also be required from time to time.

IEH strongly encourages applications from Indigenous Australians.

Close date: 22 Oct 2017

Position Description and Selection Criteria

Download File 0044056.pdf

For information to assist you with compiling short statements to answer the selection criteria, please go to http://about.unimelb.edu.au/careers/search/info/selection-criteria

 12. Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community NSW  : Medical Practitioner 

 

 

Katungul ACCMS is an Aboriginal Community controlled corporation providing community and health services to Aboriginal Australians located in the South Coast of NSW. Katungul has recently been recognised for its excellence in business in the Eurobodalla and Far South Coast NSW Business Awards.
The role will involve working with a multi disciplinary team of health workers and other staff to provide culturally attuned, integrated health and community services on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.
Applicants will ideally be fully accredited as General Practitioners with experience working in an Aboriginal Medical service. However other General Practitioners  who do not meet this criteria will be considered.
Remuneration and terms of employment will be negotiated with the successful candidate(s).
Enquries should be directed to Chris Heazlewood, Human Resources Manager on 02 44762155 or by email chrish@katungul.org.au

 Download Position description  

MEDICAL PRACTITIONER October 2017

13. Miwatj Health NT Tackling Indigenous Smoking Community Worker

Job No: MHAC19
Location: Ramingining
Employment Status: Part Time
No. of Vacancies: 2
Closing Date: 30 Dec 2020

Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation is the regional Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service in East Arnhem Land, providing comprehensive primary health care services for over 6,000 Indigenous residents of North East Arnhem and public health services for close to 10,000 people across the region.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking Community Worker .5

Are you reliable, self-motivated and hardworking? Do you want to make a difference to Indigenous health? You will work with individuals, clients, families and communities to help quit tobacco use. You will deliver and promote healthier life choices and encourage smoke free behaviour. You will report to the Coordinator TIS on progress and issues. You will need to maintain confidential client information, have the ability to speak and understand Yolngu Matha and have a good understanding of Yolngu kinship and traditional systems.

You must have a current NT Class C Drivers License and a current Ochre Card (or the ability to obtain one).

Click here for Job Description

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are encouraged to apply.

14-18 Congress ACCHO Alice Springs

Thank you for your interest in working with Congress!

CONGRESS HR Website

We have two types of applications for you to consider:

General Application

  • Submit an expression of interest for a position that may become available.
  • This should include a covering letter outlining your job interest(s), an up-to-date resume and three current employment referees.

Applying for a Current Vacancy

  • Applying for a specific advertised vacancy.
  • Before applying for any position general or current please read the section ‘Job App FAQ‘.

TRANSPORT OFFICER

Hourly Rate: $22.78 + 25% casual loading

Location: Alice Springs | Job ID: 3696530| Closing Date: 01 Dec 2017

GENERAL PRACTITIONER – ALICE SPRINGS

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) has over 40 years’ experience providing comprehe …

Location: Alice Springs | Job ID: 3677297| Closing Date: 30 Dec 2017

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST – EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS

Multiple Positions Available

Location: Alice Springs | Job ID: 3683459

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST- CLIENT SERVICE ROLES

Client Service Officer     …

Location: Alice Springs | Job ID: 3672944| Closing Date: 31 Dec 2017

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST- CLINICAL ROLES

Location: Alice Springs | Job ID: 3672893 | Closing Date: 31 Dec 2017

19-20 . AHMRC full-time Vacancies

 

To receive a copy of the Recruitment Information Package for more information and the selection criteria, please contact HR via email or telephone. The selection criteria must be addressed for your application to be considered.

19.Research, Training and Workforce Development Manager

Located at Little Bay at the Aboriginal Health College.

For a position description please email hr@ahmrc.org.au

Applications close: Monday, 23 October 2017.

20.Government Policy and Partnership Manager

Located at our main office in Surry Hills

This is an Identified Position.

For a position description please email hr@ahmrc.org.au

Applications close: Monday, 23 October 2017.

For a confidential conversation please contact Human Resources on (02) 9212 4777 or email gagic@ahmrc.org.au

Pursuant to Section 14(d) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), Australian Aboriginality is a genuine occupational qualification for this position and is identified as an essential pre-requisite for appointment to the role of Chief Executive Officer, under AH&MRC Constitutional Rules.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people are strongly encouraged to apply.

21 – 22 JOBS AT IUIH Brisbane

 

IUIH and its members are constantly looking for healthcare workers, GP’s, allied health professionals, medical and health related students to fill short or long term vacancies within their growing operations.Current job opportunities are listed below:

 

Website HERE

23. Research Associate, Breathe Easy Walk Easy Lungs for Life

Faculty of Health Sciences

Physiotherapy and Poche Centre for Indigenous Health

The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, is situated on the Camperdown campus of the University of Sydney

The primary aim of the Poche Centre is to contribute to the reduction of disparities in Indigenous Health and social justice outcomes through collaboration with health research organisations including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled organisations, other community organisation and government.
A PhD scholarship is available for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander identified person through a NHMRC funded project: Implementing evidence into practice to improve chronic lung disease management in Indigenous Australians: the Breathe Easy, Walk Easy – Lungs for Life (BE WELL) project.

 

While the project title suggests that the PhD topic could be in lung health, there are opportunities for the PhD student to choose a PhD topic within his/her interest, for example, health service delivery, education of Aboriginal Health Workers, models of best practice etc.
The PhD student will be able to work with a very supportive group and could be located either in the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health on the Camperdown Campus or in the Faculty of Health Sciences on the Cumberland Campus of the University of Sydney. In both these locations other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are enrolled in PhD programs and would provide a collaborative and engaging environment.

The PhD scholarship is for a part-time PhD at $27,000 per year (tax free) for 3.5 years or a part-time PhD combined with the part-time Project Manager role, which attracts a substantial full-time salary and a 5 year appointment.

All applications must be submitted via the University of Sydney careers website.  Visit sydney.edu.au/recruitment and search by the reference number 1695/0917 to apply.

Closing: 11:30pm 19 October 2017

The University of Sydney has established the Merit Appointment Scheme to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff employed across the institution. Under this scheme an applicant’s Aboriginality is an essential selection criterion and is authorised under the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.

 

Aboriginal #MentalHealthWeek @GregHuntMP launches 5th National #MentalHealth and #SuicidePrevention Plan

 

” For the first time this plan commits all governments to work together to achieve integration in planning and service delivery at a regional level. Importantly it demands that consumers and carers are central to the way in which services are planned, delivered and evaluated.

Furthermore this plan recognises the tragic impact of suicide on the lives of so many Australians and sets a clear direction for coordinated actions by both levels of government to more effectively address this important public issue.

This plan is also the first to specifically outline an agreed set of actions to address social and emotional wellbeing, mental illness and suicide amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a priority, as well as being the first to elevate the importance of addressing the physical health needs of people who live with mental illness and reducing the stigma and discrimination that accompanies mental illness.”

The Hon Jill HennessyChair, COAG Health Council

” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in mental health services is fundamental to building culturally capable models of care. Governance, planning processes, systems and clinical pathways will be more effective if they include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers at key points in the consumer journey, such as assessment, admission, case conferencing, discharge planning and development of mental health care plans.

Strong ACCHSs are an important component of a culturally responsive mental health service system.

These organisations can play a vital role in:

  1. prevention and early intervention to address risk of developing mental health problems
  2. enabling access to primary and specialist mental health services and allied health
  3. facilitating the transition of consumers across the primary and specialist/acute interface
  4. connecting consumers with the range of community-based social support services
  5. working with mainstream community mental health and hospital services to enhance cultural capability through provision of cultural mentorship, advice and training placements for non-Indigenous staff
  6. working as part of multi-agency and multidisciplinary teams aimed at delivering shared care arrangements.

Building a culturally competent service system also requires a well-supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workforce.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workers require opportunities and support to attain advanced qualifications and recruitment and retention processes that maximise opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and workforces should be complemented by mainstream services and clinicians that are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

From Page 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

Download 84 page Plan PDF HERE

 Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan

Health Minister Greg Hunt Press Release 14 October

Around four million Australians who experience a mental health condition will benefit from a strengthened mental health system under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

The Plan, which was endorsed in August by all health ministers at Council of Australian Governments Health Council, has been released as Mental Health Week comes to a close

The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring people with mental health challenges get the support and treatment they need and this Plan will see a more coordinated national approach to mental health from all governments and stakeholders.

More than 2,800 Australians take their lives each year and the Plan will provide an additional focus of suicide prevention.

Evidence-based approaches and strategies to prevent suicide will be implemented through a community-wide approach, including more effective follow-up support for people who have attempted to take their own lives.

The Turnbull Government recently committed $47 million for more frontline services for suicide prevention.

Last week as part of our over $4 billion annual investment in mental health we launched the Head to Health website, which is a one-stop shop for services and resources delivered by some of Australia’s most trusted mental health service providers.

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay : Australia’s new digital #mentalhealth gateway now live

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay 2/2 @KenWyattMP Minister Scullion : Download Building a Better Understanding of Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

And yesterday the Turnbull Government announced a wide ranging package of reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable for Australians, including better access for mental health services without a waiting period.

A particular focus of the Plan is addressing eating disorders. These can have a catastrophic impact on both individuals and their families. It will be a personal priority as we frame further policy in the future.

The Plan includes eight nationally agreed priority areas and 32 coordinated actions for the next five years with a view to achieving an integrated mental health system.

What will we do?

From Page 3o + Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

Action 10 Governments will work with PHNs and LHNs to implement integrated planning and service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at the regional level. This will include:

  1. engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the co-design of all aspects of regional planning and service delivery
  2. collaborating with service providers regionally to improve referral pathways between GPs, ACCHSs, social and emotional wellbeing services, alcohol and other drug services and mental health services, including improving opportunities for screening of mental and physical wellbeing at all points; connect culturally informed suicide prevention and postvention services locally and identify programs and services that support survivors of the Stolen Generation
  3. developing mechanisms and agreements that enable shared patient information, with informed consent, as a key enabler of care coordination and service integration
  4. clarifying roles and responsibilities across the health and community support service sectors
  5. ensuring that there is strong presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership on local mental health service and related area service governance structures.

Action 11 Governments will establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Subcommittee of MHDAPC, as identified in the Governance section of this Fifth Plan, that will set future directions for planning and investment and:

  1. provide advice to support the development of a nationally agreed approach to suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for inclusion in the National Suicide Prevention Implementation Strategy
  2. provide advice on models for co-located or flexible service arrangements that promote social and emotional wellbeing incorporating factors, including a person’s connection to country, spirituality, ancestry, kinship and community
  3. identify innovative strategies, such as the use of care navigators and single care plans, to improve service integration, support continuity of care across health service settings and connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with community-based social support (non-health) services
  4. provide advice on suitable governance for services and the most appropriate distribution of roles and responsibilities, recognising that the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to self-determination lies at the heart of community control in the provision of health services
  5. oversee the development, dissemination and promotion in community, hospital and custodial settings of a resource that articulates a model of culturally competent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health care across the health care continuum and brings together (a) the holistic concept of social and emotional wellbeing and (b) mainstream notions of stepped care, trauma-informed care and recovery-oriented practice
  6. provide advice on workforce development initiatives that can grow and support an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workforce, incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff into multidisciplinary teams and improve access to cultural healers
  7. provide advice on models of service delivery that embed cultural capability into all aspects of clinical care and implement the Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016–2026 in mental health services
  8. provide advice on culturally appropriate digital service delivery and strategies to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to register for My Health Record and to understand the benefits of shared data.

Action 12 Governments will improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to, and experience with, mental health and wellbeing services in collaboration with ACCHSs and other service providers by:

12.1. developing and distributing a compendium of resources that includes (a) best-practice examples of effective Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health care, (b) culturally safe and appropriate education materials and resources to support self-management of mental illness and enhance mental health literacy and (c) culturally appropriate clinical tools and resources to facilitate effective assessment and to improve service experiences and outcomes

12.2. increasing knowledge of social and emotional wellbeing concepts, improving the cultural competence and capability of mainstream providers and promoting the use of culturally appropriate assessment and care planning tools and guidelines

12.3. recognising and promoting the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and supporting implementation of the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration (Appendix B)

12.4. training all staff delivering mental health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly those in forensic settings, in trauma-informed care that incorporates historical, cultural and contemporary experiences of trauma.

Action 13 Governments will strengthen the evidence base needed to improve mental health services and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through:

13.1. establishing a clearinghouse of resources, tools and program evaluations for all settings to support the development of culturally safe models of service delivery, including the use of cultural healing and trauma-informed care

13.2. ensuring that all mental health services work to improve the quality of identification of Indigenous peoples in their information systems through the use of appropriate standards and business processes

13.3. ensuring that future investments are properly evaluated to inform what works

13.4. reviewing existing datasets across all settings for improved data collection on the mental health and wellbeing of, and the prevalence of mental illness in, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

13.5. utilising available health services data and enhancing those collections to improve services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

How will we know things are different?

What will be different for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers and carers?

  • Both your clinical and social and emotional wellbeing needs, and the needs of your community, will be addressed when care is planned and delivered.
  • Your care will be coordinated, and you will be supported to navigate the health system.
  • You will receive culturally appropriate care.
  • Services will actively follow up with you if you are at a higher risk of suicide, including after a suicide attempt.
  • If you are at risk of suicide, you will have timely access to support and be clear about which services in your area are responsible for providing you with care and support.

Press Release Continued

A key priority area is strengthening regional integration of mental health services to support more effective treatments for those in need.

In partnership with consumers and carers, Primary Health Networks and Local Hospital Networks will plan and design mental health services to meet specific local needs.

An implementation plan has been developed to guide and monitor implementation efforts of governments.

Improving the mental health system and outcomes for people with mental illness can only be done in partnership with the community, sector and all governments.

For people looking for mental health and suicide prevention support, I encourage them to visit the newly launched Head to Health website.

NACCHO Aboriginal Healthy Futures #closethegap #socialdeterminants @pmc_gov_au Debate : Where to from here?

 

” Federal Indigenous affairs bureaucrats have released a draft of their new evaluation framework, eight months after the Commonwealth committed $40 million over four years to evaluate policies in the portfolio and put a highly regarded university professor in the driving seat.

The draft sets out processes to look more objectively at national policies to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and contribute to Closing the Gap, which have been led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for the past few years.”This is intended to align with the role of the Productivity Commission in overseeing the development and implementation of a whole of government evaluation strategy of policies and programs that effect Indigenous Australians,”

PM&C sets high standards for Indigenous affairs evaluation see PART 1 Below

 ”  It’s been widely known for fifty years that the health of Aboriginal people lags far behind that of other Australians. Despite that and the expenditure of billions of taxpayers’ dollars, serious gaps persist between Indigenous versus non-Indigenous health and wellbeing.

There is compelling evidence that social factors are potent determinants of the health of populations. In the simplest of terms these are (a) social disadvantage, and (b) the relationship of Indigenous Australians to mainstream society. Associated with these are basic issues already mentioned; these include education, housing standards, employment and socio-economic status. These must be addressed if health disadvantages are to be overcome. Until this happens the poor health outcomes of Indigenous Australians will persist.

It’s easy to identify medical problems, perhaps because they can be classified and measured. It is tempting then to decide that these problems are ‘medical’ and, therefore, should respond to ‘medical’ interventions or approaches in isolation. This is dangerously misleading.

It’s time for clinicians to realise and publicly acknowledge that most of the important issues which determine the health status of Indigenous people have ‘non-medical’ roots and need vigorous ‘non-medical’ approaches in order to be corrected.

 MICHAEL GRACEY. Aboriginal health: An embarrassing decades-long saga See Part 2 Below

Part 1

Around the same time as the new evaluation funding was announced, Malcolm Turnbull sought out indigenous health expert Ian Anderson to take over as deputy secretary leading the PM&C indigenous affairs group, which is also the only group within the central department overseen by an associate secretary, Andrew Tongue.

FROM The Mandarin

Anderson’s first major task was a review of the Closing the Gap target framework, which focuses attention on particular indicators of disadvantage. A few months into the job he set out some of his thoughts in a public speech at a special event marking 50 years since the referendum that effectively created this area of federal policy.

The framework notes good evaluation is “planned from the start, and provides feedback along the way” (referencing the audit office’s 2014 better practice guide to public sector governance).

“Good evaluation is systematic, defensible, credible and unbiased. It is respectful of diverse voices and world-views.

“Evaluation is distinct from but related to monitoring and performance reviews. Evaluation may use data gathered in monitoring as one source of evidence, while information obtained through monitoring and performance reviews may help inform evaluation priorities.”

The credibility of future evaluations depends on demonstrating their independence. To this end, the framework says a new external advisory committee, membership so far unknown, will “support transparency and ensure the conduct and prioritisation of evaluations is independent and impartial” by overseeing how the new framework is applied, checking the annual evaluation plan and with “ongoing advice, quality assurance and review”.

A “commitment to transparency” is also included. The committee will publish “all high priority evaluations” and reviews of them. Others will be randomly reviewed and summarised in an annual report.

“At the three year mark an independent meta-review of IAG evaluations will be undertaken to assess the extent to which the Framework has achieved its aims for greater capability, integration and use of robust evaluation evidence against the standards described under each of the best practice principles.”

All the actual evaluation reports will be published as well, at least in summary form, including “where ethical confidentiality concerns or commercial in confidence requirements” apply. Indigenous communities that have participated in evaluations will get to see the results too and additional “knowledge translation” efforts are proposed:

“Evaluation findings will be of interest to communities and service providers implementing programs as well as government decision-makers. Evaluation activities under the Framework will be designed to support service providers in gaining feedback about innovative approaches to program implementation and practical strategies for achieving positive outcomes across a range of community settings.”

The draft framework says it aims to:

  • generate high quality evidence that is used to inform decision making,
  • strengthen Indigenous leadership in evaluation,
  • build capability by fostering a collaborative culture of evaluative thinking and continuous learning across the IAG and more broadly across communities and organisations, and
  • place collaboration and ethical ways of doing high quality evaluation at the forefront of evaluation practice in order to inform decision making.

Higher quality evaluation that is “ethical, inclusive and focused on improving outcomes” is more likely to have impact, the draft points out. “It aims to pursue consistent standards of evaluation of Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) programs but not impose a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of evaluation.”

The guide calls for best-practice evaluation to be “integrated into the cycles of policy and community decision-making” in a way that is “collaborative, timely and culturally inclusive.”

“Our approach to evaluation, as outlined in this Framework, reflects a strong commitment to working with Indigenous Australians.

“Our collaborative efforts centre on recognising the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and cultures.

“Fostering leadership and bringing the diverse perspectives of Indigenous Australians into evaluation processes helps ensure the relevance, credibility and usefulness of evaluation findings. In evaluation, this means we value the involvement of Indigenous Australian evaluators in conducting all forms of evaluation, particularly using participatory methods that grow our mutual understanding.”

Indigenous Advancement Strategy evaluations will look at how well programs meet three criteria:

Do they build on strengths to make a positive contribution to the lives of current and future generations of Indigenous Australians?

Are they designed and delivered in collaboration with Indigenous Australians, ensuring diverse voices are heard and respected?

Do they demonstrate cultural respect towards Indigenous Australians?

Four elements of good evaluation

The draft framework lists four elements of good evaluations — they are robust, relevant, credible and appropriate, which is to say they are “fit for purpose” and done in a timely fashion — and explains in detail how each of these ideals is to be achieved in Indigenous affairs through higher standards.

“Evaluation needs to be integrated into the feedback cycles of policy, program design and evidence-informed decision-making,” explains a chapter on relevance. “Evaluation feedback cycles can provide insights to service providers and communities to enhance the evidence available to support positive change. This can occur at many points in the cycle.”

While not being too prescriptive, the framework aims to set a high standard for the evidence that is used to judge the impact of programs.

“A range of evaluation methodologies can be used to undertake impact evaluation. Evaluations under the Framework will range in scope, scale, and in the kinds of questions they ask. Measuring long-term impact is challenging but important. We need to identify markers of progress that are linked by evidence to the desired outcomes.

“The transferability of evaluation findings are critical to ensure relevant and useful knowledge is generated under the Framework. High quality impact evaluations use appropriate methods and draw upon a range of data sources both qualitative and quantitative.

“Evaluation design should utilise methodologies that produce rigorous evidence and make full use of participatory methods. Use of participatory approaches to evaluation is one example of demonstrating the core values of the Framework in practice.”

Perhaps the moves to take a more academic approach at the federal level will allow for more open discussion of what works, in a portfolio where this year the minister has seen fit to publicly attack researchers in the field, and blast the independent audit office for doing its job instead of helping him attack the opposition.

Part 2 :  Aboriginal health: An embarrassing decades-long saga

It’s been widely known for fifty years that the health of Aboriginal people lags far behind that of other Australians. Despite that and the expenditure of billions of taxpayers’ dollars, serious gaps persist between Indigenous versus non-Indigenous health and wellbeing.

Recognition of an Aboriginal Health Problem

When these inequities were recognised in the 1960s the very high rates of Aboriginal childhood malnutrition and infections and high death rates of infants and young children brought home the unpalatable fact that Australia had a so-called ‘Third World’ health problem. This is a feature of poverty-stricken nations. This was clearly unacceptable in our otherwise affluent and healthy country. There was a public outcry which stirred the federal government into attempts to remedy this embarrassing state of affairs.

In 1979 the Commonwealth Parliamentary Committee on Aboriginal Affairs found that . . .

‘the appalling state of Aboriginal health’ . . . ‘can be largely attributed to the unsatisfactory environmental conditions in which Aboriginals live, to their low socio-economic status in the Australian community, and to the failure of health authorities to give sufficient attention to the special needs of Aboriginals and to take proper account of their social and cultural beliefs and practices’ . . .

The Committee criticised governments for their lack of recognition of these factors and commented on the need for Aboriginal people to be much more closely involved in all stages of planning and delivering their own health care. Notwithstanding some improvements in Indigenous health which occurred over the almost forty years that followed, many of that Committee’s findings and criticisms are still valid.

Efforts to Improve Indigenous Health

In 1981 a $50 million Aboriginal Health Improvement Program was launched with the aim of upgrading environmental health standards, such as better housing and community and family hygiene conditions. Government funds were allocated and State and Territory health departments implemented strategies and programs and deployed clinical and allied staff in order to achieve better Indigenous health.

An important objective was to provide more accessible services for Indigenous people. Some positive health gains followed; for example, better pregnancy outcomes, fewer maternal deaths, fewer infant and young child infections, suppression of vaccine-preventable illnesses through immunisation, and lower infant death rates.

This should have helped Indigenous youngsters to negotiate the rough ride through early life that would otherwise have been their lot. However, health and disease statistics for Indigenous Australians generally stayed well behind those of other citizens in the years that followed.

Strategies to ‘Close the Gap’

The persisting poor standards of Indigenous health prompted the Federal Government in 2008 to ‘Close the Gap’ for Indigenous Australians in a range of health outcomes and other facets of life and wellbeing so that they and other Australians would have ‘equal life chances’. The then Prime Minister Rudd anticipated within a decade halving the widening gap in literacy, numeracy and employment opportunities for Indigenous people. The Statement of Intent also anticipated better opportunities for Indigenous children so that within a decade . . . “the appalling gap in infant mortality rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children would be halved and, within a generation, the equally appalling 17-year life gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous when it comes to overall life expectancy” . . .  would be gone.

These aspirations seemed commendable and were well received by the public. However, their feasibility was questioned soon after they were announced. The target of closing the gap in life expectancy was said to be “probably unattainable” and the capacity to extinguish the risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease) and related deaths was considered publicly by a renowned medical expert to be “implausible” in the 22-year timetable set out by the government. This is pertinent because those chronic diseases are the main contributor to the discrepancy in Indigenous versus non-Indigenous deaths. Those reservations were well founded.

Obstructions to Closing the Gap

Indigenous Australians now have very high rates of chronic diseases, as already mentioned. These are aggravated by smoking- and drug-related disorders. These conditions are long-term and have permanent complications, such as visual loss or blindness, or severe limitations on mobility. These cannot be reversed and, therefore, restrict prospects for longevity. In many Aboriginal communities a third or half of adults 35 years or over have one or more of these problems. Nationally, these diseases and accidental or intentional injuries, including suicide and homicide, are several times more prevalent in Indigenous Australians than in the total Australian population.

This well-documented and widespread heavy burden of illnesses, disabilities and related excess premature deaths among Indigenous Australians makes it virtually impossible to remove, within a generation, the inequalities between this pattern and the better outcomes which prevail in the rest of the population. This is made more difficult because some of these problems are trans-generational and can have their origins during intra-uterine development.

There are practical impediments in bringing better health to the Indigenous population. Inadequate access and maldistribution of facilities, personnel and services can be serious drawbacks, particularly in rural and remote areas. Of course, improving access to services does not necessarily lead to their appropriate utilisation.

And compliance with treatments and follow-up supervision and medications can be problematic. Similarly, altering health knowledge and modifying risky personal lifestyles are difficult among many people whether they are Indigenous or not. There have also been serious problems with management and governance of clinical services for Indigenous people whether they are Indigenous-specific or mainstream services.

This has tended to weaken their impact on health service delivery and waste limited financial and other resources. Collectively, all of these factors have diluted the much-needed positive outcomes of efforts to close the gaps in Aboriginal health standards and statistics.

Indigenous Health: the current situation

Some indicators of the current situation are revealing: death rates of Indigenous children under five years are more than double the national rates; their low birth weight rate is about double the overall national rate; hospitalisation rates are almost three times the national rates; hospital admission rates for potentially preventable conditions are almost four times higher; deaths from complications of diabetes at 35 to 55 years are approximately twenty times higher; and dementia rates are about five time higher than in non-Indigenous Australians and the  condition starts earlier in life. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimated that among Indigenous Australians born from 2010 to 2012 life expectancy would be about nine to ten years shorter than for other Australians. These indicators of health status, illness patterns and life expectancy are disgraceful and require urgent attention.

Where to from here?

 The targets set to be met by the Close the Gap Strategy are reported publicly each year. Regrettably, the goals are falling short in many of the government’s nominated areas. These include several of the health-related areas which have been mentioned.
Tellingly, the targets are not being met in many other facets of Indigenous life which have significant impacts on physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing.

These include, for example, early childhood schooling rates, closing the gaps in literacy and numeracy for older Indigenous schoolchildren, achieving equity in employment rates and the economic benefits which should follow, having Indigenous people housed in adequate and hygienic living conditions, and being more engaged with the wider Australian community in various day-to-day activities. These failures have been publicly acknowledged by successive Prime Ministers including Abbott and Turnbull.
In the health arena itself there is a need for closer cooperation and collaboration between the three main sectors which provide curative and health promotion activities for Indigenous people. These sectors are: (a) mainstream services provided by governments; (b) Indigenous-specific services from Aboriginal or Indigenous Health or Medical Services; and (c) privately funded clinical and allied services. There is often overlapping of these sectors and, sometimes, issues of territoriality which detract from their effectiveness and, potentially, add to the financial costs involved.
As mentioned by that Parliamentary Committee as far back as 1979, there is a pressing need for more Indigenous involvement and responsibility for decision-making and delivery of their own health services. Although this is improving slowly, there is a long way to go before those people who need the services have the power to help control their own future health. This is particularly so in remote areas where local communities and their committees are often sidelined from this important function.

Social Dimensions which affect Health

There is compelling evidence that social factors are potent determinants of the health of populations.

In the simplest of terms these are (a) social disadvantage, and (b) the relationship of Indigenous Australians to mainstream society. Associated with these are basic issues already mentioned; these include education, housing standards, employment and socio-economic status.

These must be addressed if health disadvantages are to be overcome. Until this happens the poor health outcomes of Indigenous Australians will persist.

It’s easy to identify medical problems, perhaps because they can be classified and measured. It is tempting then to decide that these problems are ‘medical’ and, therefore, should respond to ‘medical’ interventions or approaches in isolation. This is dangerously misleading. It’s time for clinicians to realise and publicly acknowledge that most of the important issues which determine the health status of Indigenous people have ‘non-medical’ roots and need vigorous ‘non-medical’ approaches in order to be corrected. This means, of course, that non-medical sectors of governments must accept more responsibility and become more actively involved in issues which ultimately determine the health of populations which they are expected to serve. This will require a major shift in thinking within Federal and State governments and bureaucracies and wider acceptance among the Australian community.

The challenges are daunting but the need is urgent. Surely it is within our collective capabilities to turn around this sad and long-standing saga into a success story.

Michael Gracey AO is a paediatrician who has worked with Indigenous children, their families and communities for more than forty years. He was Australia’s first Professor of Aboriginal Health and for many years was Principal Medical Adviser on Aboriginal Health to the Western Australian Department of Health. He is a former President of the International Paediatric Association.

Aboriginal Maternity Health Program : #CATSINaM17 @IUIH_ Million-dollar boost for groundbreaking #Indigenous maternity program

“It is informed by Indigenous knowledge and community control with a redesigned health service to provide 24/7 continuity of midwifery care and birthing in an Indigenous birth centre,

“With Indigenous leadership and a team with expertise in Indigenous health and research we can translate what we know works in other settings, and other countries, into practice here in Australia.”

Institute for Urban Indigenous Health CEO Adrian Carson said a key component of the project was the Indigenous control and governance of services.

A maternity program designed to achieve better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their babies has received a $1.1 million grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The project, led by The University of Queensland’s Professor Sue Kildea and researchers from the University of Sydney and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, will implement Birthing on Country on a number of sites with a view to an Australia-wide roll out.

The NHMRC grant will help determine the sustainability of a Birthing on Country service model in each community, along with the impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, their communities and health services.

“The Birthing On Country program has a strong emphasis on culturally and clinically safe care, strengthened support for families, growing a culturally capable workforce and the Indigenous maternal and infant workforce,” Professor Kildea said.

“This program focuses on the year before and the year after birth, as the most important time in life.

“It also allows us to review the effect on three of the most costly health outcomes across the lifespan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: preterm birth, low birth weight and hospital admissions in the first year of life.”

Professor Kildea said the project team was calling on all Australian governments and health organisations to work with them to implement Birthing On Country programs.

“After two decades of research, including consultation with Indigenous elders and communities, we can now enact State and Federal health policy and put into practice national and international evidence of the safety, benefits and cost-effectiveness of culturally safe care,” she said.

“With Indigenous leadership and a team with a wealth of cross-disciplinary expertise in Indigenous and health services, we can translate what we know works in other settings and other countries into practice here in Australia.”

The project, entitled ‘Building on Our Strengths (BOOSt): Developing and Evaluating Birthing On Country Primary Maternity Units’, also includes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane, the Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation, the Australian College of Midwives, the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, and the Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery Charitable Fund.

The NHMRC grant builds on previous funding from the Ian Potter Foundation in Melbourne, the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, ATSICHS Brisbane, the Mater Health Service, Queensland Health and an earlier NHMRC grant.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Our ACCHO Members #Deadly good news stories #NT #NSW #QLD #WA #SA #VIC #TAS

 1. National : 2017 NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM Registrations : Only 21 days to go

2.1 Congress Alice Springs Breast Cancer Awareness Month #Deadly Choices

2.2 CONGRESS IS NOW VACCINATING AGAINST THE MENINGOCOCCAL OUTBREAK

3. Vic : VACCHO, VAHS ,BADAC and Quit Victoria proud to partner with the Ballarat Carnival to provide a healthy and smoke free environment

4. NSW : Armajun Aboriginal Health Service Indigenous students at Guyra Central School are looking good in new glasses.

5. WA : AHCWA : Mental Health Week has an Aboriginal focus for the first time 

6. QLD : Deadly Choices /Deadly Roos ambassador, Greg Inglis making healthy choices

7. SA : Major auction Art Fair to raise funds for dialysis centre in Ernabella SA.

8. TAS : FIAAI ‘No Smokes No Limits’ Public Health Campaign Launched

9. View hundreds of ACCHO Deadly Good News Stories over past 5 years

How to submit a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ? 

 Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media    

Mobile 0401 331 251

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Thursday

 1.1 National : 2017 NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM Registrations : Only 21 days to go

On Tuesday 10 October there was only 21  days to go and due to high demand  the conference AGM is nearly booked out

This is an opportunity to show case grass roots best practice at the Aboriginal Community Controlled service delivery level.

In doing so honouring the theme of this year’s NACCHO Members’ Conference ‘Our Health Counts: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’.

NACCHO Conference Website

2.1 Congress Alice Springs Breast Cancer Awareness Month #Deadly Choices

October is breast cancer awareness month and provides an opportunity to focus on breast cancer and the impact the disease has on our mob.

Congress is offering the first 200 eligible* Aboriginal women that have a women’s health check or cervical screen at any Congress Clinic, or a mammogram at Breast Screening NT an exclusive Deadly Choices Breast Cancer Shirt.

To find out if you’re eligible and to book an appointment, call (08) 89514 400 or your local Congress clinic today.
*To be eligible you must an Aboriginal congress client and due for a mammogram, cervical or women’s health check during the promotion period. Pink ribbon shirts are strictly limited and will be substituted for available health check initiative deadly choices shirts when stock runs out.

2.2 CONGRESS IS NOW VACCINATING AGAINST THE MENINGOCOCCAL OUTBREAK

Congress encourages all Aboriginal people aged between 12 months and 19 years to attend your nearest Congress clinic to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

While meningococcal disease is rare, it can be life threatening.

No appointment is needed.

3. Vic : VACCHO, VAHS ,BADAC and Quit Victoria proud to partner with the Ballarat Carnival to provide a healthy and smoke free environment

“The Vic NAIDOC Committee and the Ballarat Carnival Committee are proud to announce that this year’s Carnival will be completely Smoke Free!

VACCHO, VAHS and Quit Victoria are proud to partner with the Carnival to provide a healthy and smoke free environment for the whole Community.

We believe in creating a space where everyone can breathe fresh air and celebrate coming together for such a brilliant event. Call the Aboriginal Quitline (13 QUIT – 13 78 48) for tips and support on how you can go smoke free too.

P.s. Look out for Deadly Dan, the No Smokes Man at the Carnival on Saturday. He’ll be stoked to hear the news!”

#vicnaidoc #alwaysproudball2017 #smokefree #smokefreezone #vaccho #vahs #quitvictoria #BADAC

Sponsors

On behalf of Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative and the Carnival Committee, we would like to say a HUGE thank you to the following organisations for their generous support. Without you, the carnival would not be possible.

Victorian Naidoc
Wadawurrung – Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation
VicHealth
Ballarat Council
FedUni Aboriginal Education Centre
Victorian Aboriginal Health Service
Aboriginal Victoria
Department of Health & Human Services, Victoria
@victorian aboriginal justice agreement
Oxfam
Ballarat Koorie Engagement Action Group – KEAG
Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc
Woolworths
Central Highlands Water
AFL Victoria
AFL Goldfields
Netball Victoria
Quit Victoria
Pitcha Makin Fellas
AIME
Basketball Ballarat
Lake Wendouree Football Netball Club
The North Ballarat Sports Club
Hands On Health Australia
RMIT University
Victoria University, Melbourne Australia

We are really looking forward to delivering the 2017 carnival with you!

4. NSW : Armajun Aboriginal Health Service Indigenous students at Guyra Central School are looking good in new glasses.

Thanks to a visit from the Brien Holden Vision Institute eye clinic, Ethan Harris and Nioka Levy no longer need to sit at the front of the class.

From HERE

A number of students had their eyes examined by a visiting optometrist.

The eye doctor attended the school for eye checks in late August.

The clinic is part of Armajun Aboriginal Health Service.

It’s ran and organised by Aboriginal Education officer Alecia Blair and Guyra Central School health officer Nellie Blair.Some eye problems are more common in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than they are with non-Indigenous people.

Read all NACCHO 44 Aboriginal Eye Health stories here

5. WA : AHCWA : Mental Health Week has an Aboriginal focus for the first time 

Aboriginal Health Council of WA chairwoman Michelle Nelson-Cox said it was an “absolute tragedy” that suicide was one of the leading causes of death among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“The death of even one of our young people to suicide is not acceptable,” she said.

AHCWA believes there needs to be a greater focus on increasing and improving access to culturally appropriate and locally responsive suicide prevention programs for Aboriginal youth in WA.

WA Mental Health Week has an Aboriginal focus for the first time this year, with a complementary theme recognising the importance of country.

Indigenous Australians are twice as likely to take their own lives as non-indigenous Australians, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of Death 2016 report released last month.

Suicide was the fifth-leading cause of death for indigenous Australians, compared to the 15th for non-indigenous Australians, with suicide deaths accounting for a greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths (5.5 per cent), compared to non-indigenous Australians (1.7 per cent).

In its 50th year, WA Mental Health Week has added a complementary Aboriginal theme to its main theme — “connect with country, community and you for strong social and emotional wellbeing”.

Goldfields elder Trevor Donaldson said he was especially concerned about the high rate of youth suicide among Aboriginal people.

He said he felt many of the services previously offered had done nothing to help.

“I think the government should be held accountable for every one of those deaths because they deliver so little, ” he said.

“Aboriginal youth have nothing here in the Goldfields. The system is failing our youth, education is failing our youth.

“And I feel frustrated because I know what is going to happen — there is going to be another tragedy and ministers from left, right and centre will be coming here to supposedly deal with it and nothing will change.”

Suicide was the second leading cause of death after transport accidents among the Goldfields’ 15-24-year-olds, according to a 2015 Goldfields Health Profile by the Planning and Evaluation Unit.

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay : Australia’s new digital #mentalhealth gateway now live

6. QLD : Deadly Choices /Deadly Roos ambassador, Greg Inglis making healthy choices

WATCH HERE

Hear what Deadly Roos ambassador, Greg Inglis has to say about the Deadly Roos and making healthy choices. #DeadlyChoices #DeadlyRoos #RISE Ken Wyatt

See NACCHO Background story

“Deadly Choices is what I like to call a ‘jewel in the crown’ of Indigenous health, achieving some stunning results since it kicked off in South East Queensland four years ago.

The Deadly Kangaroos is an expansion of this program, using the star power of the ambassadors and the excitement of this year’s World Cup to reach more even communities.

Our national rugby league stars need to be in peak physical condition to play at the top of their game and we appreciate the players’ support to start discussions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about ways to improve their health “

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said legendary Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous players would become ambassadors for the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’s Deadly Choices program, to extend its reach across Australia.

The launch in Canberra was attended by the NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke (pictured on right )

Members of the elite Australian Kangaroos Rugby League 2017 World Cup squad will headline the expansion of a successful grassroots campaign to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Deadly Choices is a community-based health lifestyle campaign launched in 2013.

There is particular focus on young people and the importance of exercise, education, school attendance, quitting smoking and regular preventive health checks.

Through media campaigns, sports carnivals and community events it has prompted:

    • Almost 19,000 annual health checkups in South East Queensland
    • Active patient numbers to triple to over 330,000
    • 1,155 smoke-free household pledges
    • More than 3,300 smoker interventions

“Experience shows that sport and sporting legends can help communities kick major goals in health awareness and foster real change,” the Minister said.

“I encourage everyone to support Australia in the World Cup in October, just as the Kangaroos are supporting better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and all Australians.”

The ambassadors will make appearances at game day events as the Australian team travels through the ACT, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and regional Queensland for the World Cup.

“Key ambassadors for the Deadly Kangaroos are Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis,” the Minister said. “Also, the best three players from the national men’s and women’s teams at the Arthur Beetson Deadly Choices Murri Rugby League carnival will also be chosen as community ambassadors to promote positive health messages.

“Merchandise, including a special Deadly Kangaroos World Cup jersey, has been produced as an incentive for people to have a health check.

“The messages will also be promoted through television, radio, social media and at coaching clinics and Aboriginal community controlled health services.”

The Australian Government is contributing $235,000 to help support the Deadly Kangaroos campaign

The Rugby League World Cup runs from 26 October – 2 December 2017.

7. SA : Major auction Art Fair to raise funds for dialysis centre in Ernabella SA.

The Purple Hose is hosting major auction Art Fair to raise funds for dialysis centre in Ernabella SA.

An increasing number of Anangu are forced to leave their homes and families for renal dialysis treatment. Purple House is holding this major auction to raise funds to secure a Pukatja Dialysis Centre in Ernabella, South Australia.

Works of art have been donated by artists from all of the seven art centres from the APY Art Centre Collective. Works available include paintings, ceramics, work on paper, wood carving, photography and printmaking. Don’t miss this opportunity to add to your collection while making a lasting difference to communities in the APY Lands.

Details

8. TAS : FIAAI ‘No Smokes No Limits’ Public Health Campaign Launched

Flinders Island Aboriginal Association’s Tackling Smoking Program has recently launched their latest ‘No Smokes No Limits’ public health campaign with billboards being revealed across Tasmania. These billboards feature motocross imagery and Aboriginal ambassadors Jay and Josh Woolley from WSM Freestyle.

As part of this campaign, smokers are encouraged to contact their local health service, general practice or the Quitline for assistance in giving up the habit. This campaign seeks to denormalise smoking, and is in stark contrast to some of the messaging typically associated with extreme sports that are often sponsored by energy drinks or other consumables associated with poor health outcomes.

FIAAI CEO Maxine Roughley said “This program especially targets young people who are our future and we are proud to be supporting such an important health issue.”

FIAAI will be looking to expand this campaign to buses and other mediums in the future, with billboards currently being found in several parts of the state including Hobart, Launceston, East Devonport, Burnie and others. FIAAI will also be presenting at the upcoming Oceania Tobacco Control Conference (October 17-19) regarding this campaign.

The FIAAI Tackling Smoking Team can be contacted on 6334 5721 for more information.

-ENDS

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Smoking : @our_ANU Report : #Indigenous smoking deaths on the rise despite people butting out

We have seen significant declines in smoking among Indigenous Australian adults over the past two decades that will bring major health benefits over time,

But we’re seeing tobacco’s lethal legacy from when smoking prevalence was at its peak.

We need a continued comprehensive approach to tobacco control, and the incorporation of Indigenous leadership, long-term investment and the provision of culturally appropriate materials and activities is critical to further reducing smoking,”

Dr Ray Lovett from the ANU Research School of Population Health.

Please note Dr Lovett will be speaking at the NACCHO Conference 31 Oct -2 Nov

Topic: Mayi Kuwayu: a national study of culture and wellbeing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Speaker: Dr Ray Lovett See NACCHO Conference Website

Smoking-related deaths among Indigenous Australians are likely to continue to rise and peak over the next decade despite big reductions in smoking over the past 20 years, a new study led by The Australian National University (ANU) has found.

Cigarette smoking is a leading contributor to the burden of morbidity and mortality among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereafter respectfully referred to as Indigenous) Australians1, the total Australian population2, and in developed countries worldwide.3

The health impacts of smoking vary by smoking duration and intensity, but it is well established that smoking causes a range of health conditions.3 Although there have been marked smoking reductions in Australia4,5, the prevalence of smoking among Indigenous adults remains high, estimated at 41.4%, compared with 14.5% in the total Australian adult population.5

Smoking behaviour is influenced by factors including social, cultural and environmental factors, and tobacco control effectiveness.6 Indigenous tobacco use is also tightly tied to Australia’s history of colonisation; for example, tobacco was often used as a form of payment, and was issued as part of rations on mission stations.7

Dramatic decreases in smoking prevalence in the total Australian population suggest that the smoking epidemic is in its final stages.3,6 However, the stage of the tobacco epidemic among the Indigenous Australian population is less clear.

Understanding the stage of the epidemic provides insight into probable trends in smoking-attributable mortality, thereby enabling accurate communication of the likely impacts of smoking4, and informing relevant programs and policies.

This paper provides a perspective on the current stage of the smoking epidemic among Indigenous Australians based on an existing model of smoking epidemic stages3, and describes the expected short- and long-term implications for the wellbeing of the Indigenous population, and for programs and policies.

Stages of the smoking epidemic

Lopez proposed a four-stage model of cigarette consumption and mortality in 1994, characterising features of the smoking epidemic3; the model was updated in 2012.4 The proportion of the adult population that regularly smokes – and variation by characteristics such as age and sex – provides an indication of the extent to which smoking has been adopted.3 Smoking-attributable mortality, which can be crudely approximated by lung cancer deaths, provides insight into the health consequences of smoking at each stage of the epidemic.3,4 Central to the model is the long delay between smoking and its associated cancer mortality; even when the prevalence of smoking begins to decline, smoking-attributed mortality continues to increase, reflecting the smoking behaviours of up to three decades earlier.3,4

In short, Stage 1 of the tobacco epidemic marks the initial population uptake of smoking, with no evidence of smoking-attributable mortality. In Stage 2, the prevalence of smoking increases rapidly to its peak, alongside low but increasing smoking-attributable mortality. By Stage 3, awareness of the health hazards of smoking is common, and conditions are favourable for implementing tobacco control measures; while the prevalence of smoking remains stable or begins to decrease, smoking-attributable mortality rises rapidly. Stage 4 is represented by decreasing smoking prevalence and associated mortality to their lower limits, in a context of widespread awareness of tobacco harms and tobacco control measures

This research paper is published in the Public Health Research & Practice journal 

VIEW HERE

Read over 114 NACCHO Smoking articles published over 5 years

Lead researcher Dr Ray Lovett said the study found the lag between smoking and the onset of smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer means the number of smoking deaths was likely to keep climbing.

“On the positive side, we’ve seen a 43 per cent reduction in cardiovascular disease deaths, mainly from heart attacks, over the past 20 years among Indigenous people, in large part due to people quitting smoking.”

Smoking rates among Indigenous Australians have dropped from more than half the population in 1994 to two in five adults today. This is still two and a half times higher than the rest of the Australian population.

Dr Lovett said the substantial progress in reducing smoking rates, particularly in the past decade, was a clear sign that further reductions and improvements to Indigenous health could be achieved.

Co-researcher Dr Katie Thurber said the team analysed the available national health and death data from the past 20 years to conduct the study.

“The available data do not provide the full picture of smoking and its impacts for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, so it’s important to understand these limitations and work towards improving data in the future,” said Dr Thurber from the ANU Research School of Population Health.

“Despite these challenges, we’ve managed to produce the first comprehensive assessment of the tobacco epidemic among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.”

The research paper is published in the Public Health Research & Practice journal and this issue of the journal celebrates 50 years since the 1967 referendum, when Australians voted to amend the Constitution to allow the Commonwealth to create laws for Indigenous people and include them in the Census.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay : Australia’s new digital #mentalhealth gateway now live

 ” Today we are launching our new digital mental health gateway – Head to Health.

Head to Health is an essential tool for the one in five working age Australians who will experience a mental illness each year.

The website helps people take control of their mental health in a way they are most comfortable with and can complement face-to-face therapies.

Evidence shows that for many people, digital interventions can be as effective as face-to-face services.

Head to Health provides a one-stop shop for services and resources delivered by some of Australia’s most trusted mental health service providers.

They include free or low-cost apps, online support communities, online courses and phone services.

Head to Health provides a place where people can access support and information before they reach crisis.

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health launching www.headtohealth.gov.au

See full press release from Minister Part 3 below

 ” For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the strength of personal identity is often connected to culture, country and family.

Like all of us, however, you can have problems with everyday things like money, jobs and housing that can impact your social and emotional wellbeing. On top of that, you might have to deal with racism, discrimination, bullying, gender-phobia, and social inequality ”

READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE

 ” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing combines mental, physical, cultural, and spiritual health of not only the individual, but the whole community. For this reason, the term “social and emotional wellbeing” is generally preferred and better understood than terms like “mental health” and “mental illness”.

Addressing social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples requires the recognition of human rights, the strength of family, and the recognition of cultural diversity – including language, kinship, traditional lifestyles, and geographical locations (urban, rural, and remote).”

READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE  

Part 1 NACCHO BACKGROUND

Read over 160 NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health Articles published over 5 yrs

Read over 115 NACCHO Suicide Prevention Articles published over 5 yrs Including

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : #ATSISPEP report and the hope of a new era in Indigenous suicide prevention

Our NACCHO CEO Pat Turner as a contributor to the report attended the launch pictured here with Senator Patrick Dodson and co-author Prof. Pat Dudgeon

After almost two years of work, ATSISPEP released a final report in Canberra on the 10th of November 2016.

Download the final #ATSISPEP report here

atispep-report-final-web-pdf-nov-10

Part 2 Mental Health Australia campaign

We need to see tackling stigma around mental health as a way to improve the health of the nation, improve our productivity, improve our community engagement, and improve our quality of life.”

“Yes we’ve come a long way to challenge and change perceptions, and paved the way for many to tell their story, but there is still great stigma associated with mental illness.”

“This year, my #mentalhealthpromise is to challenge Australia to look at mental health through a different light. Let’s look at the positives we can achieve as a community by reducing stigma and changing our approach to improving someone’s health.”

Mental Health Australia CEO Mr Frank Quinlan

Today World Mental Health Day – Tuesday 10 October – and Mental Health Australia is calling on the nation to further reduce stigma and promise to see mental health in a positive light.

‘Do you see what I see?’ challenges perceptions on mental illness aiming to reduce stigma.

‘Do you see what I see?’ promotes a positive approach to tackling an issue that affects one in five Australians.

‘Do you see what I see?’ aims to put a new light on the conversation… from dark to bright. Incorporating the successful #MentalHealthPromise initiative, which last year saw both the

Prime Minister and Opposition Leader make a mental health promise to the nation, ‘Do you see what I see?’ will also feature a series of photos from across Australia, shedding light and colour on an issue which is still cloaked in darkness.

“We’ve all seen it before… The stock black and white photo of someone sitting with their head in their hands signifying mental illness. That’s stigma… and stigma is still the number one barrier to people seeking help. Help that can prevent and treat,” said Mental Health Australia CEO Mr Frank Quinlan.

“We have to see things differently, and see the positive outcomes of tackling this issue if we are to see real benefits and reductions in the rate of mental illness affecting the nation.”

“We need to see mental health, and mental wealth through our own eyes, through the eyes of a family member or close friend and through the eyes of those in our community who don’t have that support around them.”

‘What will your #MentalHealthPromise be?

Making and sharing a mental health promise is easy and takes just a few minutes at www.1010.org.au

Part 3 The Hon. Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health press release Continued

Australia’s new digital mental health gateway now live

As part of our over $4 billion annual investment in mental health, the Turnbull Government is today launching our new digital mental health gateway – Head to Health.

Head to Health provides a place where people can access support and information before they reach crisis.

And it will continue to grow with additional services, a telephone support service to support website users, and further support for health professionals to meet the needs of their patients.

I encourage not only people seeking help and support, but anyone wanting to learn more on how to maintain good mental health wellbeing, to visit the website at: www.headtohealth.gov.au.

The Turnbull Government supports the need for a long term shift in mental health care towards early intervention, and the Head to Health gateway will help with this.

We have recently announced $43 million in funding for national suicide prevention leadership and support activity to organisations across Australia such as R U OK?, Suicide Prevention Australia and Mindframe.

This year we are investing $92.6 million in the headspace program to improve access for young people aged 12–25 years who have, or are at risk of, mental illness.

In addition, we have provided $52.6 million to beyondblue, which will partner with headspace and Early Childhood Australia to provide tools for teachers to support kids with mental health concerns and provide resources to help students deal with challenges.

Digital mental health services are an important part of national mental health reform and have been identified in the recently endorsed Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Building a digital mental health gateway was a key part of the Government’s response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programs and Services.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Pharmacy NEWS Download : With recent reforms ACCHO Pharmacists are playing a key role in closing the gap

‘There are a lot of different activities happening from ACCHO to ACCHO. The approach needs to be flexible and responsive to communities’ needs, as well as integrated into the holistic care models ACCHOs use, but the detail on what has the biggest health impact is unknown.

Current ACCHO pharmacist have shown an opportunity to bring players together and make medicines a team sport – this includes the pharmacist working the allied health, GPs, nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers (AWH) and a range of local community pharmacies, hospitals, PHNs and more to get the best results for their clients and community as a whole.’

Director of Medicines Policy and Program for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Mike Stephens Pictured centre below

Pharmacists working in Aboriginal health Services (AHS), with the support of recent government reforms, are playing a key role in closing the gap and helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander patients navigate Australia’s complex health system.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, when the overwhelming majority of Australians voted to include Indigenous Australians in the Census and allow the Commonwealth to make laws for them.

Next year marks the tenth anniversary of the Closing the Gap program, established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2008 with the aim of eliminating the gap in health, education and employment disadvantages between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

In acknowledging of these important milestones, this year’s annual Closing the gap Prime Minister’s Report said : ‘While we celebrate the successes we cannot shy away from the stark reality that we are not seeing sufficient national progress on the Closing the Gap targets/ While many successes are being achieved locally, as a nation, we are only on track to meet one of the seven Closing the Gap targets this year.’

Download the 7 Page report HERE

Closing the Gap Pharmacists and Aboriginal Health

The health-related targets of halving the gap in child mortality and closing the gap in life expectancy are not on track.

Some of the targets will expire in 2018, so governments have’ agreed to work together with Indigenous leaders and communities, establishing opportunities for collaboration and partnerships.”

According to PSA CEO Dr Lance Emerson, ‘Aboriginal Australians are four times more likely to be hospitalised for chronic conditions compared with non-Indigenous Australians- and the life expectancy of Aboriginal people in this country is 10 years lower than non-Aboriginal people- and in fact below that of many developing countries such as Bangladesh’.

‘This reality is disgraceful in a rich country such as Australia, ‘Dr Emerson said. ‘Health professionals need to be doing all they can to work toward deeper understanding and meeting the needs of Aboriginal people, to support reconciliation and self-determination- and Aboriginal peoples ‘community control of services provided for Aboriginal people’.

The Government has implemented several programs to provide timely and affordable access to PBS medicines and Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) (listed opposite). However, the review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Interim Report noted in June that ’although they are related, these programs operate independently with differing eligibility criteria applied for each. This raises difficulties for both consumers in terms of access and for pharmacists and other health professionals with respect to administration.

‘In considering how pharmacy options may contribute to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Panel has questioned whether currently arrangements are sufficient and how might they be improved.

Integrating pharmacists

The Federal Government has committed to implementing reforms and investigating new funding models to help pharmacists continue to improve health outcomes of Indigenous patients.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #PSA17SYD Minister Hunt announces Aboriginal Health Services will be able to employ a pharmacist if a link with a community pharmacy is not available

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #PSA17Syd Part 2 of 2 Health Minister asks pharmacists to help Close the Gap

In his opening speech at PSA17 in Sydney in July, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced a trial, funded through the Pharmacy Trial Program (PTP), to support AHSs to integrate pharmacists into their services.

The trial has strong stakeholder support amid growing evidence that pharmacists employed by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) can help increase patients’ life expectancy and health outcomes.

As a country, we will not have fully succeeded unless and until Indigenous health outcomes are the same as non-Indigenous health outcomes, ‘Mr Hunt said. ‘That’s our very simple shared goal.

‘We will work immediately to have Indigenous specific medication reviews available and we will fund and support that as part of tranche 1 to make sure they are culturally specific.

‘We want in these Aboriginal Health Services to ensure there’s a pharmacy presence. The first line there is to see if we can have a direct link and an offer to community pharmacists to participate, but where that’s not possible, the breakthrough agreement… is that the Aboriginal Health Services will be able to directly employ a pharmacist.’

This announcement follows the Review’s Interim Report recommendation to trial the ability for AHS’s to employ pharmacists and operate a pharmacy because ‘the current inability of an AHS to operate a community pharmacy poses a significant risk to patient health in some rural and remote areas.

The Panel presented the option that: ‘All levels of government should ensure that any existing rules that prevent an AHS from owning and operating a community pharmacy located at the AHS are removed.’ The Panel suggested that as a transition step, these changes should first be trialled in the Northern Territory.

PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said having a culturally responsive pharmacist integrated within an AHS builds better relationships between patients and staff, leading to improved results in chronic disease management and QUM.

‘Integrating a non-dispensing pharmacist in an AHS has the potential to improve medication adherence, reduce chronic disease, reduce medication misadventure and decrease preventable medication related hospital admissions to deliver significant savings to the health system’, Dr Jackson said.

Director of Medicines Policy and Program for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Mike Stephens welcomes the announcement of the trial.

‘We know from recent studies, including systematic reviews, that pharmacists delivering services within a practice setting can have a significant impact on health outcomes,’ Mr Stephens said. ‘While there is some level of role translatability between ACCHO and non-ACCHO sectors, we really dont’ know where the “sweet spots” are in terms of health outcomes, community demand and value for money when embedding pharmacists in ACCHOs.

‘There are a lot of different activities happening from ACCHO to ACCHO. The approach needs to be flexible and responsive to communities’ needs, as well as integrated into the holistic care models ACCHOs use, but the detail on what has the biggest health impact is unknown.

‘Current ACCHO pharmacist have shown an opportunity to bring players together and make medicines a team sport – this includes the pharmacist working the allied health, GPs, nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers (AWH) and a range of local community pharmacies, hospitals, PHNs and more to get the best results for their clients and community as a whole.’

Mr Stephens said some ACCHOs are also hiring intern pharmacist and pharmacy technicians, allowing pharmacists to focus more on clinical, education and practice-based activities that work well in a general practice setting.

These pioneers are also promoting the newer roles of pharmacists. I see a lot of pharmacists focusing on systems based activities like clinical governance, DUEs and audits, as well as working across teams in and outside of the organisation, such as improving transitional care with local hospitals.’

Mr Stephens said there had been ‘a lot of interest’ in the trial from NACCHO’s Members Services.

‘Research has shown that access and acceptability of pharmacy services could be improved.

Feedback from ACCHOs indicates the benefits of embedding pharmacists can be diverse, but may include improvements in clinical governance and prescribing practices, internal and external workflow, MMR uptake and relationships with community pharmacies’.

Sharing ideas

In recognition of the growing number of pharmacists working in ACCHOs, PSA and NACCHO launched the ACCHO Special Interest Group (SIG) at PSA17.

Dr Jackson said pharmacists working in ACCHOs had specific needs and skills and developing a SIG to support them will help drive the growth of this career path.

‘In many cases, pharmacists working in these positions are providing innovative and diverse services that have the potential to be informative and relevant to the evolution of pharmacy services and inter-professional care,’ Dr Jackson said.

The ACCHO SIG will allow PSA and NACCHO to foster collaboration, inform relevant policy and consult with ACCHO pharmacists about their needs. The ACCHO SIG will also support pharmacist participating in the Aboriginal health organisations trial.

Mr Stephens, who convened the ACCHO SIG, said the key aim was to share resources and ideas and give each other support in a relatively niche area.

‘I have learnt a lot from each of the participants and their input has definitely shaped my clinical practice and policy output. I hope the SIG can evolve organically as needs and issues develop.’

Mr Stephens said optimising medicines use for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been an ongoing challenge.

‘Despite some great programs, policy and resources, Aboriginal PBS utilisation is still only about two thirds of non-Indigenous Australians’use. Most pharmacists would have heard of Closing the Gap prescriptions but how is that delivering outcomes ? How could it be improved ? We have responded to this question and more in a recent submission to the Review of Indigenous Pharmacy Programs. There is a real sense of goodwill from many industry players in this area at the moment.’

Mr Stephens said that, in addition to the SIG, a more informal network has been set up for any pharmacist or other health professional with an interest or expertise in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medicine issues. NACCHO shares a monthly medicines bulletin with the network, including practical resources and links.

Mr Stephens describes his previous workplace, Danila Dilba Aboriginal Health Service in Darwin, as a dynamic multidisciplinary environment.

‘It opened my eyes to the details of how a large holistic health service works, and how general practice and other primary care services fit into that. I did everything from HMRs to pharmacy accounts, board briefings to Drug Use Evaluations (DUE) and clinical governance, GP education and much more. The team vibe was great and I had a lot of fun with colleagues from different disciplines and backgrounds.

‘The challenge was the complexity and nuances of community relationships and systems, and learning where your skills will work best. Engagement is critical and I saw some programs struggle because clients and employees were not driving the change.’ Mr Stephens is a strong believer in lifelong learning and found PSA’s Guide to providing pharmacy services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people invaluable.

‘It has a lot of detail but is applicable for pretty much all pharmacists across Australia, and it has some great case studies. It was developed by a range of organisations and people with lots of experience.

‘There’s never been time to upskill and get involved, with PSA’s support modules for Aboriginal Health Services Pharmacists, the ACCHO SIG and the network. NACCHO can also provide support for pharmacists looking to get involved.’

PSA provides CPD, training, practice support tools and recommended external resources to support AHS pharmacists. This includes an essential guide as well as guidance on networking and advancing within this career pathway.

Building rapport

Vanessa Bickerton MPS, a hospital pharmacist from Perth, previously worked at Wirraka Maya Health Service in South Hedland in the Pilbara region, 1600 kilometres north of Perth. She said it was a challenging but uniquely satisfying role.

‘Though it took some time to establish relationships and build rapport with patients, the pharmacy service was integral to the organisations,’ Ms Bickerton said.

As part of diverse team of doctors, nurses, AHWs, pharmacists and other allied health professionals worked closely with patients in communities that sometimes had limited access to medical care.

‘This included supply to even more remote nursing stations, such as Marble Bar, Nullagine and Yandeyarra- where due to geographical challenges the Royal Flying Doctor Service only visits once or twice a week,’ Ms Bickerton said.

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