Turnbull Government to support chronic disease management for Indigenous Australians

The Australian Government’s Healthier Medicare package will better support Aboriginal Medical Services to tackle the growing prevalence of complex chronic conditions amongst Indigenous Australians through coordinated care.

Page last updated: 31 March 2016

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Joint Media Release


The Hon. Sussan Ley MP
Minister for Health
Minister for Aged Care
Minister for Sport

The Hon. Senator Fiona Nash
Minister for Rural Health


31 March 2016

The Turnbull Government’s Healthier Medicare package will better support Aboriginal Medical Services to tackle the growing prevalence of complex chronic conditions amongst Indigenous Australians through coordinated care.

The creation of Health Care Homes is a key recommendation of our clinician-led Primary Health Care Advisory Group’s (PHCAG) Better Outcome for People with Chronic and Complex Conditions’ report, released today, which found:
      “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are three times more likely than the general population to have diabetes and are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”
This is in addition to broader figures showing:
    • One in three Indigenous Australians report three or more chronic conditions; and
    • More than half (56%) of avoidable hospital admissions for Indigenous Australia are for chronic disease – nearly 10 percentage points higher than the general population (48%).
The creation of a Health Care Home model will build on innovative initiatives already in place in primary care services across Australia including, for example, in rural and remote practices and community controlled health services.

This includes enrolment with a local Aboriginal Medical Service or GP to have an individual health care plan tailored directly to an individual’s needs; health care co-ordination across the full spectrum of the health care system; and support to better manage chronic and complex conditions to avoid unnecessary complications and hospitalisations.

Chronic disease accounts for around three quarters of the gap in mortality rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, with circulatory disease being the leading cause of death amongst Indigenous Australians, at one and a half the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.

While there have been improvements in circulatory and respiratory disease mortality rates for Indigenous Australians, there is still work to be done to improve the care of Indigenous Australian across all chronic disease, particularly in the areas of diabetes and cancer.

This is essential for many Indigenous communities in disadvantaged areas where navigating the health system can be difficult and health literacy may be low.

The Turnbull Government has recognised the centrality of culture in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the importance of strong collaboration across all health care providers.

The reforms announced today are a further demonstration of the Turnbull Government’s commitment to health improvements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

ENDS

Media contacts:
Troy Bilsborough 0427 063 150 or Stephen Block 0428 213 264, Minister Ley’s Office
Les White 0409 805 122, Minister Nash’s Office
Or email news@health.gov.au to contact the Dept of Health media team

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