National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSHWA) position paper on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (A&TSI) health workers being fundamental to achieving health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the right to access culturally safe, high quality health care and services. A&TSI health workers and health practitioners have a key role in the provision of culturally safe and comprehensive primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- More work is required with NATSIHWA’s partners and stakeholders to ensure that A&TSI Health Workers and health practitioners are recognised, well-supported, effectively utilised and retained. This must include national scale workforce development reforms with appropriate regional and local service level implementation strategies.
- A&TSI health workers and health practitioners apply a culturally safe, comprehensive primary health care approach to the work they undertake across the continuum of care. Their skills include unique insights from their clinical and non-clinical primary health care practice, their lived experiences in the community and their cultural intellect supported by their knowledge of cultural beliefs, practices and protocols.
- While &TSI health workers' importance is well-established, there is not yet universal appreciation or valuing of A&TSI health workers and health practitioners in Australia’s health system and there has been varying success in integrating their roles into health services and within multi-disciplinary models of care.