RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health was on hand yesterday at the NACCHO (National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation) Annual Conference and AGM in Canberra to reinforce the partnership between the two organisations.
First published innewsGP. Reproduced with permission of the RACGP.
The National guide is currently being updated for its third edition
That partnership is demonstrated in the co-development of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (the National guide), which is currently being updated for its third edition.
The guide is designed as a practical resource for all health professionals delivering primary care to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
‘The National guide has been extremely well received by the Aboriginal community controlled health sector,’ Assoc Prof Sophia Couzos, NACCHO National guide Project Lead, told newsGP. ‘Everyone has been pleased with the issues addressed in the National guide.’
Those issues include lifestyle, child and young people’s health, rheumatic heart disease, eye health, hearing loss, sexual health and blood-borne viruses, antenatal care, mental health, cardiovascular disease prevention, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, prevention and early detection of cancer, and preventive health for older people.
‘The National guide is a clinical tool in terms of prevention, but also a tool for education for healthcare providers, Assoc Prof Couzos said. ‘People also plan to use it as a policy tool and to inform programs supporting best practice.’
According to Lauren Trask, NACCHO National Guide Implementation Officer, the publication remains consistent with the national policy platform around quality improvement initiatives.
‘The National guide provides linkage with the Quality Improvement module in the fifth edition of the RACGP’s Standards for general practices,’ she told newsGP. ‘It also has exciting and challenging new chapters, and reinforces the environmental and social determinants of health for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander patients.’
The updated third edition of the National guide is scheduled for release in February 2018, with RACGP and NACCHO hosting a series of workshops across the country to support its implementation.
Efforts to Close the Gap were bolstered today with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), formalising the partnership between the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).
The MoU was signed by RACGP President Dr Frank R Jones and NACCHO Chairperson Mr Matthew Cooke at the launch of the RACGP’s Reconciliation Action Plan today at the RACGP National Office in Melbourne.
RACGP President, Dr Frank R Jones said the organisations have a proud history of partnership and have long advocated for increased awareness of barriers to quality healthcare faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
“The signing of this MoU is particularly timely in the wake of last week’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage (OID) report which alarmingly revealed a widening gap in certain areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing, most notably mental health,” said Dr Frank Jones.
“The signing of this document signifies our unwavering commitment to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ensuring these populations enjoy optimal physical, social, emotional and cultural wellbeing.
“The RACGP has worked in partnership with NACCHO for many years, lobbying for increased investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and collaborating on key resources for GPs to ensure they are equipped to provide clinically and culturally appropriate care.”
The MoU confirms the collaborative and respectful relationship between the two organisations, who will continue to work together advocating for appropriate resourcing of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector and equality in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
NACCHO Chairperson Matthew Cooke said the signing of the MoU acknowledged the broad support for the Aboriginal community controlled health sector.
“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services are making the biggest inroads in closing the persistent health gap between Aboriginal and other Australians,” Mr Cooke said.
“This MOU formalises the long term collaboration between our two organisations in advocating for better health for Aboriginal people.
“We look forward to continued work with the RACGP and continuing progress in improving the health of our communities.”
The RACGP and NACCHO are committed to achieving Close the Gap campaign goals and are proud of the daily work carried out by members to improve health outcomes for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
“GPs are in a key position to make a difference. We are the first point of contact in the health care system, gate keepers to other health services, and advocates for our patients. However, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that 15% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had wanted to go to a doctor in the previous 12 months but had not gone.”
At the RACGP Convocation last year a proposal that the RACGP should look at moving towards compulsory cultural awareness education as part of the QI & CPD requirements was passed.
It will now go to the RACGP Council for consideration.
The statistics about the health disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non-Indigenous Australians don’t need to be reiterated here.
Close the gap
We all know that Aboriginal people die 10-12 years younger than their non-Indigenous counterparts. In spite of their poorer health status Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive lower standards of care when they present to health services.
Aboriginal people presenting to hospital with cardiac chest pain are 40% less likely to receive revascularisation procedures in stroke care, Indigenous patients were less likely to receive timely allied health assessment and were three times more likely to die or to be dependent at discharge.
Though there are many reasons for these disparities in care, it is clear that health services have an important role in improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
GPs are in a key position to make a difference. We are the first point of contact in the health care system, gate keepers to other health services, and advocates for our patients. However, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that 15% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had wanted to go to a doctor in the previous 12 months but had not gone.
It is clear from both the published evidence and from what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are telling us that one of the reasons they don’t present to doctors is that too often non-Indigenous health practitioners don’t understand what is important to their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients – their history, cultural world-view and lived experience of being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
Often we are not recognising that our patients are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, despite the fact that the immunisation requirements, screening and preventive health recommendations and management strategies, including access to medications, are all clinical decisions which depend on this.
The evidence shows that education in cultural awareness, which encompasses an awareness of how history and culture impact on health and on trust in health services, are essential for providing high quality care.
Many Australian trained GPs will have developed an awareness of an Indigenous Australian history during this their schooling and their medical school training. Some however, will have studied medicine in other countries or studied at a time when Indigenous health was not part of the medical school teaching.
Though GP vocational training now includes some teaching about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, there are many GPs in practice today who will not have undertaken this learning.
In any case, like most areas of learning, cultural competency is not something that can be learned in one workshop. Cultural competence requires life-long learning and reflection. The best way of providing the opportunity for all GPs to gain and maintain these skills, is through QI & CPD.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation training has been compulsory in the RACGP program for two triennia now without much controversy.
Statistics from Europe indicate an incidence of cardiac arrest in the community to be 37.72 per 100,000 person years (the figure for the US being 54.99). On this basis, a quick back of the envelope calculation would indicate that a GP with 2000 patients on their books would have two to three patients each triennium who have a cardiac arrest. In most circumstances the GP would not be in attendance at the time.
In contrast, you are far more likely as a GP to treat an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander patient and to make a difference to their health outcomes.
We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise 2.5% of the population, and BEACH data shows us that if we ask each of our patients we increase the number of patients we identify from 1.0% to 2.1%.
Evidence from the Kanyini vascular collaboration shows that when Aboriginal people engage with culturally appropriate services they trust, there is good opportunity for high quality cardiovascular prevention.
Inala at Queensland Health and the Majellan General Practice in Brisbane are just two examples of how primary health care services and general practices can make changes that improve their accessibility to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
GPs have a proud history of doing what is necessary to improve the health of the communities in which they work. Providing access for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to culturally safe, effective medical care is just another example of this.
The RACGP is embarking on a conversation with its members and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to determine best ways forward, for we all know that GPs are at the forefront of improving the health of Australia’s first peoples.
RACGP PRESS RELEASE CLOSE THE GAP
Government must not become complacent if Close the Gap progress to continue
12 February 2014
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) welcomes the release of the Prime Minister’s sixth Closing the Gap report highlighting positive progress made towards meeting the Close the Gap targets but urges the Government to not become complacent.
The report, launched at today’s Close the Gap Parliamentary event aims to provide insight into the key determinants of health, education, employment and community safety in meeting the Close the Gap objectives.
RACGP Chair of the National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Associate Professor Brad Murphy, said figures released in the report suggest positive progress has been made in some Close the Gap objectives including child mortality, however there is still considerable progress to be made in other areas such as improving life expectancy.
“The Federal Government’s leadership in the delivery of measures to meet the Close the Gap targets is essential if real progress is to be made.
“The empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities must occur alongside a coordinated strategic, policy driven response,” said A/Prof Murphy.
The RACGP believes general practice and primary healthcare is in the optimum position to improve life expectancy, identified within the report as a key objective in need of urgent progression.
“No outcome acts in isolation.
“We know the benefit general practice holds in the provision of preventive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; however life expectancy is affected by a range of factors beyond addressing health risks including education and employment status.
“The health and social care sector employs 15% of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce1, the highest rate of any sector.
“An investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, including to the Community Controlled sector, not only works towards curbing health disparities, but is also an investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment,” said A/Prof Murphy.
The RACGP is a member of the Close the Gap Steering Committee which today released its 2014 progress and priorities report providing both the Close the Gap campaign and Australian Governments with a blueprint for closing the health equality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by 2030.
“Achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality is an ambitious yet achievable task and these two reports reflect a shared commitment to the improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ lives,” said A/Prof Murphy.
The RACGP is committed to supporting all Close the Gap efforts and is proud of the daily work of many of its members to improve health outcomes for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
NACCHO needs to improve how we connect, inform and engage into the Ifuture.
Pictured above : Dr Aleeta Fejo – the first home-grown Northern Territory Aboriginal Fellow of the RACGP and a traditional owner and elder of Larrikia people whose family attended the Academic session to celebrate this personal and community achievement.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is proud to award nine RACGP Fellowships of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent in the past year with four attending the Academic session at GP13 in Darwin.
The RACGP Fellowship is the admission to the specialty of general practice – which for many new Fellows is a career highlight, provides important recognition from the RACGP and peers and represents excellence in general practice.
Associate Professor Brad Murphy, Chair of the RACGP National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health said that for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, obtaining their Fellowship is more than a qualification; it is a step towards Closing the Gap for their entire community.
“It is well documented that health in Aboriginal and Torres Islander communities is considerably worse than in urban populations.”
“There are many cultural boundaries that affect the accessibility of healthcare in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and having a dedicated GP that is well-known and trusted within the wider community goes a long way to improving health outcomes.”
“The RACGP’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Fellows have faced the additional pressure of racial adversity in reaching this momentous achievement and should be commended for their dedication to improving the health outcomes for their direct communities and all Australians,” said A/Prof Murphy.
The RACGP Fellows of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent awarded Fellowship of the RACGP at the GP13 Academic session are:
Dr Aleeta Fejo – the first home-grown Northern Territory Aboriginal Fellow of the RACGP and a traditional owner and elder of Larrikia people whose family attended the Academic session to celebrate this personal and community achievement.
Dr Olivia O’Donoghue – the grand-daughter of Aunty Lowitja O’Donoghue and one of the first recipients of the Puggy Hunter Scholarships in 2002.
Dr Tammy Kimpton – the current President of the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association.
Dr Katherine Engelke – the 2012 recipient of the RACGP General Practice Registrar of the Year award.
The RACGP is committed to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and will continue to support the pathway of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working towards or in a career in general practice.
Are you interested in working in Aboriginal health?
NACCHO is the national authority in comprehensive Aboriginal primary health care currently has a wide range of job opportunities in the pipeline.
The community gets to keep their doctor and the doctor receives the support they need to achieve Fellowship .The community is the real winner.
Doctors working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS’s) will now be eligible to undertake vocational training towards fellowship of the RACGP & ACRRM via an extension to the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS).
There will be ten training positions available nationally for commencement in February 2014.
The RVTS extension is an Australian Government initiative designed to deliver structured distance education and supervision to doctors already providing medical services within ACCHS’s.
The program is supported by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).
Doctors will receive training over a 3 to 4 year period, while they continue to work in their health service.
Training will be delivered by distance education and remote supervision and will be specifically tailored to doctors working in indigenous communities.
The extension will deliver support to ACCHS’s doctors so that they don’t have to move to another community to access mainstream general practice training. “The community gets to keep their doctor and the doctor receives the support they need to achieve Fellowship” says RVTS Chief Executive Officer, Dr Pat Giddings. “The community is the real winner”.
For further information please contact Dr Pat Giddings 0408 573 933 or Denise Burnett (NACCHO) 0417 983 581
The daughter of a prominent WA Aboriginal family is the pride of her generation, becoming the first Yawuru Karajarri doctor in Broome.
Kim Isaacs finished 12 years of hard toil on Friday when she passed the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Fellowship exams.
The 34-year-old will work at the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service, where she completed her GP training. Dr Isaacs said her family had a strong history in medicine. “I am the first western medicine doctor but my grandfather was a traditional healer,” she said.
Dr Isaacs started her medical degree at the University of WA at a time when there were few indigenous doctors nationally.
“Whether to do medical school was a hard decision to make as I had just finished my bachelor of commerce degree, I was broke and I had a job lined up,” she said.
“The poor health statistics of our mob and the small workforce of indigenous health professionals was enough to convince me I wanted to help make a difference, so I signed up.”
Dr Isaacs said she was passionate about child health.
“Our mob trust us, we work at a grassroots level and know what the health issues are facing our community,” she said.
Pictured Sarah Paterson (left) and Aislinn Martin (right) presenting the first copy of RACGP Standards to NACCHO CEO Lisa Briggs here in Canberra
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) are proud to launch the
New Interpretive guide to the RACGP Standards set to assist Aboriginal community controlled health services Interpretive guide to the RACGP Standards for general practice (4th edition) for Aboriginal community controlled health services (‘Interpretive guide’).
A companion document to the RACGP’s current Standards for General Practices (4th edition) (‘the Standards’), the Interpretive guide aims to assist Aboriginal community controlled health services to meet the requirements for accreditation against the RACGP standards and to apply quality measures to their everyday practice.
The RACGP and NACCHO acknowledge the efforts made by the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), across Australia, to obtain RACGP accreditation, an important step towards achieving the best possible health outcomes for patients.
The Interpretive guide explains the Standards in a meaningful way for Aboriginal community controlled health services by taking into account their context, culture and service delivery models.
Associate Professor Brad Murphy, Chair of the RACGP National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, acknowledges that Aboriginal community controlled health services are committed to achieving RACGP and other forms of accreditation, and this new resource aims to assist in identifying the relevance of the Standards to their own health services and communities.
“Thanks to the highly effective collaboration that took place between the RACGP and NACCHO, as well as its state and territory affiliates, we are proud to jointly launch a significant piece of work that will contribute to ongoing quality and safety improvements in the health services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” A/Prof Murphy said.
By applying the Standards to individual practices, GPs, Aboriginal Health Workers and their practice teams ensure the provision of high quality, safe and contemporary primary healthcare is delivered to all Australians.
“Achieving accreditation demonstrates that a practice has been assessed as having reached defined standards of excellence in safety and quality in primary healthcare. This should be a matter of great pride to the practice itself, its patients and the community,” said A/Prof Murphy.
Justin Mohamed the Chair of NACCHO on behalf of all the 150 members throughout Australia thanked the RACGP for the highly effective collaboration that has taken place between the two peak bodies to produce such an important resource
Both the Interpretive guide and Standards are available to all College stakeholders
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is Australia’s largest professional general practice organisation and represents urban and rural general practitioners. We represent over 21,500 members working in or towards a career in general practice and are proud that over 19,300 Australian-registered general practitioners have chosen to be a member of the College. There are over 125 million general practice consultations taking place annually in Australia. Visit
http://www.racgp.org.au. The RACGP recognises the traditional custodians of land and sea, on whose lands we work and live. We wish to pay our respects to all Traditional Owners and Elders past, present and future.
The Standing Strong Together Award is presented by the RACGP National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health to any Fellow or member of the RACGP and any Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person who, in the opinion of the Awards Committee, have collaborated to produce substantial outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
Nominations are open to all Fellows and members of the RACGP and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
The award is a grant of $5000 to be used for the purposes of providing an educational opportunity for the recipients or to continue their work.
The RACGP will fund the cost of the winners’ return economy class airfare and one night’s accommodation to attend the Academic Session, Fellowship and Awards Ceremony.
The 2012 Standing Strong Together Award was presented to the Jimmy Little Foundation at the RACGP Academic Session, Fellowship and Awards ceremony held on 24 October 2012 at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, Queensland. The CEO of the Jimmy Little Foundation was present and received the award on behalf of the Foundation and its late founder Jimmy Little.