RAAF swoops in to help on Indigenous health

Minister Nash has welcomed a new partnership between the peak body of Aboriginal health services, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, and the Royal Australian Air Force.

Page last updated: 17 March 2015

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17 March 2015

Minister Nash has welcomed a new partnership between the peak body of Aboriginal health services, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, and the Royal Australian Air Force.

The RAAF and NACCHO have signed an MOU which will form the basis for agreed projects. It is likely the RAAF will fly medical specialists into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and cover all costs, to enhance primary health care outcomes in these communities.

“I applaud this joint effort between the RAAF and NACCHO, which will help improve health outcomes in indigenous people,” Minister Nash said.

“Having medical specialists flown into remote communities by the air force is an innovative way to improve health outcomes for indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as providing new experiences for the medical specialists themselves.

“The RAAF will deploy into unique environments to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on projects which are chosen through this partnership, rather than having Canberra bureaucrats decide what’s best for local communities.

“One initial area of focus is increasing access to dentists, particularly in remote communities.

“This is an impressive example of innovation and cooperation to improve the health of Indigenous Australians,” Minister Nash said.

The Minister also welcomed the Healthy Futures Aboriginal Community Controlled Report Card, compiled by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report card, commissioned by NACCHO, analyses the activities of 112 Aboriginal community controlled health services in providing quality primary health care to Indigenous clients. It assessed staffing, clients, episodes of care, and data on national key performance indicators for chronic disease prevention and management, and maternal and child health.

“I congratulate NACCHO on commissioning this report card as it works towards better health services for Indigenous Australians,” Minister Nash said.

“The report card found improvements in a number of areas.

“The number of babies whose birthweight was recorded increased to more than 50 percent in December 2013; the number of clients with type 2 diabetes who had a Medicare-recognised Team Care Arrangement also increased; there were slightly improved results for type 2 diabetes patients; and a slight drop in the rate of overweight and obesity in over 15 year olds.

“This is positive progress and in the longer term, will benefit many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Minister Nash said.

Media contact: Les White, les.white@health.gov.au 0409 805 122

A photo of Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash and NACCHO Chairman Matthew Cooke holding the memorandum of understanding is available. Please contact HealthCommunications@health.gov.au to obtain a copy.

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