Engaging Medicare Locals to improve Indigenous Access to mainstream primary care
- Engaging Medicare Locals to improve Indigenous Access to mainstream primary care fact sheet (PDF 86KB)
What the Australian Government is doingThe Government is funding local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outreach Workers (Outreach Workers) within the Medicare Locals network. Outreach Workers will encourage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access primary health care services and to ensure follow up treatment is accessed. This may include assisting people to travel to and from appointments.
Indigenous Health Project Officer positions are also being funded to provide leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues within the Medicare Locals network, including increased awareness and understanding of the various Closing the Gap initiatives relevant to mainstream primary care.
How this will work
- Outreach Workers will be drawn from local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. They are not expected to have existing qualifications, but will be provided with training opportunities. Outreach Workers will be directly supported by Indigenous Health Project Officers and the Medicare Local.
- Indigenous Health Project Officers will work in Medicare Locals to:
- improve the capacity of mainstream primary care providers to deliver culturally sensitive services (through cultural awareness training, quality improvement, health promotion and education);
- help the community, mainstream primary care providers and Aboriginal Community Controlled health sectors to work together; and
- support Outreach Workers.
- Funding is also provided for an Indigenous Health Project Officer position in the Australian Medicare Local Alliance to lead and coordinate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health activities at the national level.
How this will help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will have better access to culturally sensitive mainstream primary care services.
- General practice will be seen as a valid, trustworthy and accessible first point of call for the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
- General practitioners and other mainstream primary care providers will be supported in managing specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs/issues at the local level.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians will benefit from increased collaboration between mainstream primary care and Aboriginal Community Controlled health services.
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