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RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health newsletter

6 December 2018

Message from the Chair, Assoc Prof Peter O'Mara

The last two months have been full of activity as the faculty participated in GP18 and a number of key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health conferences. I want to congratulate the GP18 faculty award winners  Dr Casey Kalsi and Dr Kishan Pandithage, and our Student Bursary winner  Kayla Ramires. I also want to thank those of you who participated in our well-received presentations on ‘Five steps towards excellent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healthcare’ and ‘Ask me anything about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health’.

The faculty also participated in the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) and the National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) conferences this year. Our ongoing sponsorship and support for these events demonstrates our strong partnerships with both organisations. You can read more about our role at the NACCHO conference.

I am delighted that the RACGP is continuing our partnership with NACCHO, working on initiatives to support implementation of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (National Guide), as well as developing resources to help you deliver enhanced preventive healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in all settings.

The project team would like to hear from members with your ideas on how to improve the delivery of the 715 health assessments, including existing resources and case studies and other approaches to improve clinical software. Further information is included in this edition of the newsletter, or you can email the project team directly at aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au with subject line ‘National guide project interest’.

Finally, I am pleased to share with you that the faculty has revised its position statement on ‘Racism in the healthcare sector, which was promoted widely to members via newsGP. I welcome further discussion and action to challenge racism in healthcare, not just to support our patients, but also our medical students, colleagues and practice staff.

I encourage you all to get involved with our policy and advocacy work. If you are interested, please email the faculty team at aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au with subject line ‘Interest in faculty policy and advocacy work’.


Continuing our partnership with NACCHO to enhance preventive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – we want to hear from our members

The RACGP and NACCHO have a strong history of working in partnership and advocating for increased awareness of barriers to quality healthcare faced by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

Following the March launch of the third edition of the National Guide, and associated podcast series, we are continuing our partnership to increase awareness and use of the National Guide, and to support mainstream general practices to deliver culturally targeted and responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

What are we working towards?

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receiving care based on the latest evidence (National Guide)
  • 715 health checks being a useful experience/investment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, contributing to positive health outcomes
  • GPs and practice teams having resources and information available to support provision of culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

We want to your input! 

We’ll be sending out a ten minute survey before the end of the year and would be grateful for your input – stay tuned.

We have a number of other activities planned and we are keen for your involvement.

Read more about the project activities and how you can provide input. 

 

Connect with us

If you want to talk to us in more detail to understand a bit more about the different elements of the project or to bring your ideas (including for a National Guide podcast episode!), please contact Kate Freeman, Project Coordinator on 03 8699 0576 or at aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au

With your feedback, we will:

  • understand the needs of our cohort
  • develop practical templates and resources to support busy practice teams to deliver culturally responsive healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • share the lessons learned from this project with mainstream general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Policy and advocacy news

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health – Review of position statements

RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (the faculty) has position statements on relevant topics and key issues that are prominent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The faculty has recently updated its position statements on ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health’ and ‘Racism in the healthcare sector’.

The faculty’s remaining position statements are now due for review. New positions are also in development to cover the priority issues of social and cultural determinants of health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice and linkages with health. 

The existing position statements are available on our website.  

The faculty invites members to provide comments or advice to keep our position statements current. To get involved in updating the position statements, submissions and other policy work, please contact Giulia Fabris, Policy & Project Officer at aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au with subject line ‘Interest in faculty position statement review and policy work’ or on 03 8699 0362.


Expressions of interest open to join policy working group on health and justice

RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health invites expressions of interest from members who would like to join our policy working group to develop the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice position statement.

Experience and/or strong interest in custodial health and justice policy is preferred, but not essential.

To express interest or ask questions, please contact Giulia Fabris, Policy & Project Officer at aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au with the subject line ‘Expression of interest – policy working group’ or on 03 8699 0362 by Monday 17 December 2018 (closing date for expressions of interest). 

Close the Gap and Closing the Gap – A resource to help you tell the difference

The RACGP is a proud member of the Close the Gap Steering Committee, which is campaigning for health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This year, there has been a lot of talk about the Closing the Gap strategy, which has lead a few people to ask the question: ‘What’s the difference between Close the Gap and Closing the Gap?’

The Close the Gap Steering Committee have developed a resource to help you understand the importance difference, which you can refer to this resource. 

To find out more about the significance of National Close the Gap Day, check out this video of Banok Rind’s presentation to the RACGP on 15 March 2018. The RACGP acknowledges the materials used in this video by Oxfam Australia and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health news

Follow us on shareGP

To keep up to date with RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health news and opportunities, visit us on shareGP

Currently on the space, you can catch up on the National Guide podcasts and read the latest media releases.

When visiting the space, please feel free to add your own comments and posts by using the pencil tool in the top right corner. You can follow this space by selecting the ‘Follow’ button on the top right of your screen.


 

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey for RACGP

From July 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has been visiting selected communities to carry out the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS). The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been improving over the last two decades.

The NATSIHS will be coming to your area if not already. This survey collects information about the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people all over Australia.

The information from the survey will assist both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and the wider community, by informing policies to improve services and health programs. It will also be used to assess current policies to find better ways to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live longer, healthier and happier lives.

More information is available on the ABS website and via NACCHO, which outlines the process for selection, privacy expectations and the procedures for undertaking the survey. 

 

Changes to MBS renal medicine items

The Australian Government has announced three changes to Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) items relating to renal medicine from 1 November 2018.

Refer to the Changes to renal medicine items factsheet for information.


New portal supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in palliative care and at the end of life

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) and Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet have launched the new Palliative Care and End-of-Life resource portal at Parliament House in Canberra for the workforce supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The portal is designed to assist health professionals who provide care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their families and communities. You can access the portal at https://healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/learn/health-system/palliative-care

The portal seeks to support both clinicians and policy-makers in accessing research and projects on palliative and end-of-life care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The aim of this project is to locate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander palliative and end-of-life care resources, curate the resources and make them all available together in the one place for health professionals.

This will make the relevant information easily accessible to the workforce to support knowledge-informed decision-making and best-practice care. A yarning place will also be established in early 2019 to encourage clinicians to share resources, knowledge and experience as well as promote workforce activities such as courses.

The Healing Foundation’s cultural framework

The Healing Foundation has released a report titled ‘Looking where the light is: Creating and restoring safety and healing’ to coincide with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s apology to victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

The report details a cultural framework that aims to address the inaction that followed the 1997 ‘Bringing Them Home Report’, which outlined 54 recommendations to redress the impact of removal policies and tackle ongoing trauma – most recommendations remain unresolved.

Download the report Looking where the light is: Creating and restoring safety and healing 

External news and opportunities

NHMRC targeted call for research into nutrition in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

This targeted call for research follows a public call for research priorities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health conducted in 2016 and consultations in 2017 for the development of NHMRC’s Road Map 3: A strategic framework for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health through research. Improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is considered a major issue for NHMRC.

Applications open from 14 November 2018.


  

Landmark study to examine health benefits of Indigenous connection to country

The health benefits of connections to identity, culture and land for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are to be measured in a study. Researchers will follow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for up to 50 years.

Access the article in The Guardian.

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