Be the difference
A guide for physicians
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples access specialist medical services 40% less often than non-Indigenous 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.
Get involved in implementing the Framework in your professional practice and work environment by taking practical steps relevant to your needs:
- Read the Medical Specialist Access Framework.
- Browse case studies and consider which ones are relevant to your current work practice.
- Search our tools and resources to help your practice and work environment. Is your work environment culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
- Cultural competency is a lifelong journey – complete the RACP Continuing Professional Development module on Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Cultural Competence.
- Reach out to your local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) in your area to discuss its patients’ experience of accessing your specialty or hospital/place of practice.
- Contact your local Department of Health’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit, Medical Outreach – Indigenous Chronic Disease Program fund holder, and ACCHO affiliate to consider a strategic approach to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples access to specialists in your state or territory.
- Talk to and seek advice from fellow specialists who have experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
“[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.
– Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework
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.
Email us for more information, to provide feedback or to discuss your use of the Framework at firstname.lastname@example.org