Ahead of the 2020-2021 State Budget, Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) submitted recommendations to the State Government on necessary strategic priorites and funding commitments to ensure Aboriginal people and their communities have every opportunity to attain optimal health and wellbeing. AHCWA supports initiatives that will establish and support a culturally secure sustainable health system, challenge systemic racism, facilitate genuine system wide partnerships with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), strengthen the ACCHS workforce, and recognise and address social determinants of health.
- The absence of culturally appropriate care can have direct impacts on an Aboriginal person’s decision to access or accept services, and whether to self-discharge against medical advice. To address this, the Sustainable Health Review Final Report recommends the need for reform of the Western Australian health system, particularly with respect to the delivery of health services to Aboriginal people and their communities.
- This submission emphasises the integral role of ACCHS as leaders in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people and for delivering a quality, culturally secure and equitable health service system.
- AHCWA acknowledges that there are essential health services ACCHS are unable to deliver, for example hospital care, and therefore it is extremely important that the state-wide health service system works in partnership and co-design with ACCHS to achieve better health outcomes for Aboriginal people.
- The evidence that Aboriginal Community Controlled models of service deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal people is well established. Where Aboriginal people and communities lead, define, design, control and deliver services and programs to their communities, improved health and social and emotional wellbeing outcomes are experienced by the community.
- Mandatory cultural safety training for staff in mainstream services, embedding cultural secure practices, involving ACCHS in patient care planning, and listening to and communicating with communities are key factors for establishing a culturally aware and secure sustainable health system across the state. This model would help to address institutional racism, facilitate change, and embed culturally secure practice as standard across the health service system.
AHCWA and its Member ACCHS are committed to the vision that Aboriginal people in Western Australia enjoy the same level of health and wellbeing as all Western Australians. The prerequisites of Aboriginal leadership, self-determination and cultural security are integral to achieving this objective.