You are here: HomeMeetings2014Canberra Minutes
5Role of RCTS program in advancing Indigenous health issues and workforce development
Ms Samantha Palmer, First Assistant Secretary, Indigenous and Rural Health Division
  • Powerpoint presentation (See Appendix 4.) outlined statistics on ATSI population distribution, life expectancy and health outcomes.
  • Handout (see Appendix 5.) outlined the vision, principles and priorities for the Indigenous and Rural Health Division.
  • Discussion focussed on how RCSs can assist with turning principles into action on the ground.
  • Indigenous Australians Health Program has 19 KPIs and embedded Continuous Quality Improvement.
  • It was acknowledged that mental health illness underpins and interacts with many poor health outcomes.
  • The Department is engaging with the sector to determine how to measure the indicator around mental health / develop a measure that doctors can complete when engaging with a patient to arrive at a diagnosis about mental illness.
  • RCS can engage with regional managers and programs and ensure the work of the RCSs fits with the regional programs.
  • There is a strong focus on keeping Indigenous children in school and Indigenous people into work, empowering communities to make decisions about how government money in spent in their community. Need to ensure people are well enough to go to school and work.
  • Healthy lifestyles Teams are in place encouraging Indigenous communities to be active, eat well, give up smoking and improve access to primary care.
  • The “Break the Chain” advertisement focusses on Aboriginal people and has had a massive impact.
  • Aboriginal Medical Services are under increasing pressure to provide clinical placements.
  • There is a broad range of AMS. Services may need additional infrastructure and support to provide training.
  • Students are keen for clinical placements in Aboriginal controlled health organisations. The challenge for RCSs is to maintain relationships to be able to deliver the training.
  • There is a high expectation to increase employment of Indigenous people in private and public health settings. RCSs could work with the government to build the Indigenous workforce, through use of existing infrastructure for training eg: support and career pathways for Aboriginal Health Workers.