The Australian Greens say a new report on Aboriginal health highlights the importance of increasing accessibility of primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“The AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2010-11 shows the gap in life expectancy will not be closed until Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have better access to high quality primary health care,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues said today.
“The AMA report delivers a frank assessment, identifying the failure of governments to include Indigenous people as full partners in the planning and implementation of primary health care services.
“This is a significant barrier to closing the gap in life expectancy and health disadvantage.
“The AMA makes the point that the reforms to our health care system have paid little regard to the health of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
“The Greens agree that the success of the primary health care system reforms should be judged on how well it delivers better health to everyone in our community, particularly the most disadvantaged.
“There remains a disappointing lack of clarity within Government about what a high quality accessible primary health care system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should look like.
“The Greens believe the way forward is through greater community control – building on the demonstrated successes of Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHS). It is crucial that the Commonwealth takeover of primary health care funding does not disadvantage these existing services.
“Priority should be given to funding Aboriginal community controlled primary care services.
“A long-term national capacity building plan for ACCHS is needed, including a workforce development strategy which includes better access to training and career pathways for Aboriginal health workers,” Senator Siewert concluded.