This discussion paper is about exploring how Queensland's healthcare system—and broader society—can achieve health equity with Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Robust conversations are needed to address the current misalignment between demand (what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need and want) and supplier capabilities (what is currently being delivered across the health system).
The purpose of this document is to create a shared understanding about the health equity agenda to drive change across the health system.
- Similar to the 16 socio-economic targets agreed in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (2020), some of the proposed reforms in this paper extend beyond the traditional remit of the health system and demonstrate how the public health sector can take a leadership role in influencing the broader economic and social conditions that affect health and wellbeing.
- A First Nations health equity approach is being adopted to galvanise a renewed and shared agenda to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health outcomes, experiences and access to care across the health system. This agenda aims to build on the foundations of the past to reshape the health system by placing ‘health equity’ at its centre. To be successful, it must be underpinned by representation, leadership and shared decision-making with Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples to change the current power balance and create a health system free from racism and discrimination.
- Health Equity Strategies will be the mechanism to redesign and reorientate local health systems to better listen to and support First Nations peoples. The Health Equity Strategies (HHSs) will replace the existing Closing the Gap Health Plans. Additionally, HHSs have a number of other plans and strategies aimed at improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. This includes (but not limited to) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce action plans, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce action plans, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability Action Plans and Reconciliation Action Plans.