Why a National Framework?
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples access specialist medical services 40% less often than non-Aboriginal Australians. There are some places in Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have a good level of access to specialists however it is not consistent. Inconsistent availability and access to specialist medical services across Australia is just one of the barriers contributing to the poorer health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
As the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework puts it, “[o]n a per person basis, average health expenditure for Indigenous Australians in 2013–14 was 1.38 times that for non-Indigenous Australians. However, Indigenous Australians are currently experiencing a burden of disease and illness 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.”
The low use of specialist services is a contributing factor to the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.
Health is a human right, a national system is needed to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to specialist care at the same rate as non-Indigenous Australian.