National Close the Gap Day - 21 March 2019
The Close the Gap Campaign aims to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality by 2030.
The Close the Gap Campaign launched in 2006, when Tom Calma, the then Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, released his report highlighting the appalling gap in life expectancy and health standards in Australia.
He then called on a number of Aboriginal, health and human rights organisations to join together in a coalition to form the Close the Gap Campaign.
In 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Brendan Nelson signed the Close the Gap Statement of Intent, committing future federal governments to work towards closing the gap.
The RACGP is a member of the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee.
What is the aim?
Most Australians enjoy one of the highest life expectancies of any country in the world – but this is not true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Campaign aims to close this health gap and achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a generation.
Close the Gap is a multi-decade commitment that spans policy cycles, funding agreements and governments. The Campaign Steering Committee places great significance on securing multi-party support for its aims.
What is the difference between Close the Gap and Closing the Gap?
To help you better understand the difference between the Close the Gap Campaign and the Government Strategy Closing the Gap, the Close the Gap Steering Committee developed a new resource. You can access this here.
Close the Gap: 10 Year Review
2018 marked the 10 year anniversary of the Closing the Gap Strategy. The Campaign released A ten-year Review of the Closing the Gap Strategy and Recommendations for Reset.
The report represents a comprehensive review on the last 10 years of Closing the Gap efforts, critical reflection on why Australian governments have not yet succeeded in closing the health gap to date and clear recommendations to re-direct efforts towards achieving our goal of health equality.
Read the Campaign’s report here.
What is the Campaign asking for?
The right to access health care in the location of choice
- The outcomes are better when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are in control of their own health.
- Community-controlled health services are holistic, appropriate and accessible.
- Primary health care and prevention must be culturally safe to avoid hospital admissions and premature deaths.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be able to access the care they need, provided by a doctor they trust, close to where they live.
- Long-term primary health care service delivery strategies must be informed by the evidence base supporting where services are needed most.
A healthcare system that responds to health needs
- Mainstream health services need to do more to be culturally safe, accessible and responsive.
- All health care workers need the right training to deliver culturally safe health care.
- More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are needed in the health workforce.
- Institutional racism across the health system must be identified, measured and ameliorated.
Good housing for good health
- Overcrowded, unsafe and inadequate housing creates health problems.
- Healthy housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will help to close the gap in life expectancy and health outcomes.
- Consistent investment in safe and affordable housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is needed by all Australian governments.
Join the RACGP in demanding Indigenous health equality by signing the petition to Close the Gap.
SIGN THE PETITION TO CLOSE THE GAP
What can you do to help Close the Gap?
The profession of general practice plays an important role in tackling Close the Gap outcomes, primarily through the delivery of high quality preventative, culturally responsive healthcare.
By virtue of your role in delivering comprehensive, whole person, patient centred care, general practitioners are well positioned to respond to the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
Additionally, they can positively influence local environments through the use of advocacy and leadership skills, whether that be in the practice, community, health service, outreach clinic, hospital or political setting.
National Close the Gap Day
National Close the Gap Day (NCTGD) is a national day of action to pledge support for achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health equality by 2030.
National Close the Gap Day is an opportunity to bring people together, to raise awareness and take meaningful action in support of achieving change.
On National Close the Gap Day, the RACGP encourages you to run a national Close the Gap Day activity or support a local Close the Gap event.
For registration, resources and information, visit the ANTaR website.