The Queensland Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability Framework 2010 – 2033 provides Queensland Health with the foundation and guidance to deliver sustainable health gains for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.
The framework guides the Queensland government to achieve the fundamental changes to education, policies, planning and practices so that these services are responsive to the cultural needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders; so that staff have the knowledge and skills to deliver care in culturally capable ways; and work environments are at all times culturally respectful and supportive for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
- The standard of health of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is considerably poor by comparison with other Queenslanders. Although improvements have been made in recent years, the gap in life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples compared with the rest of the population remains significantly high.
- Many causes of ill health and premature death are preventable, yet a number of barriers continue to restrict Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s access to an equitable, quality health system. Some of these barriers are structural in terms of poor linkages and coordination across the system, some are socio-economic, some are about the availability and distribution of services and some are clearly cultural. These cultural barriers may include health service provider attitudes and practice, communication issues, mistrust of the system, poor cultural understanding and racism.
- Key outcomes for capacity building include recruitment and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in leadership and management roles, and cultural support mechanisms are provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
The framework aims to assist with delivering more timely care, in particular better prevention and early intervention. It will, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, enable improved trust, participation in health care and self-management, and ultimately, play a pivotal role in improving health outcomes and life expectancy. The commitment to closing the gap forces Queensland Health to reflect on the past and say very clearly – they can and must change the way they do business. Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health is everyone’s business. Queensland Health will act in the spirit of reconciliation, recognising the past, in order to step together, side by side, into the future.