Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group consists of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector leaders and representatives from accreditation entities, National Boards, AHPRA and the Chair of AHPRA’s Agency Management Committee.

Co-Chaired by Mr Karl Briscoe, CEO of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association, and Julie Brayshaw, Chair of the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia, this group provides advice on how best to develop the National Scheme’s strategy, and define its role, in ensuring patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Australia’s health system. The group’s agreed vision is: Patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Australia’s health system is the norm, as defined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The group developed the National Scheme’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020-2025, the Statement of Intent and baseline definition of cultural safety for the National Scheme (in partnership with the National Health Leadership Forum).

Communiqués from the group’s meetings are published on the Communiqués page after each of its meetings.

Meet the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group.

Members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group
Members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy

The Strategy Group, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members, developed the Strategy which is endorsed by 43 organisations, academics and individuals, including accreditation authorities who set the education standards for the 183,000 students who are studying to become registered health practitioners, and Ahpra and National Boards who regulate Australia’s 750,000 registered practitioners.

The Strategy focuses on achieving patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Islander Peoples as the norm and the inextricably linked elements of clinical and cultural safety.

Definition of cultural safety for the National Scheme

The Strategy Group, led by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and in partnership with the National Health Leadership Forum, consulted on and finalised a baseline definition of cultural safety for use in the National Scheme. The consultation report is published on the Past consultations page.

Cultural safety definition

Principles

The following principles inform the definition of cultural safety:

  • Prioritising COAG’s goal to deliver healthcare free of racism supported by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023
  • Improved health service provision supported by the Safety and Quality Health Service Standards User Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Provision of a rights-based approach to healthcare supported by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Ongoing commitment to learning, education and training

Definition

Cultural safety is determined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities.

Culturally safe practise is the ongoing critical reflection of health practitioner knowledge, skills, attitudes, practising behaviours and power differentials in delivering safe, accessible and responsive healthcare free of racism.

How to

To ensure culturally safe and respectful practice, health practitioners must:

  • Acknowledge colonisation and systemic racism, social, cultural, behavioural and economic factors which impact individual and community health;
  • Acknowledge and address individual racism, their own biases, assumptions, stereotypes and prejudices and provide care that is holistic, free of bias and racism;
  • Recognise the importance of self-determined decision-making, partnership and collaboration in healthcare which is driven by the individual, family and community;
  • Foster a safe working environment through leadership to support the rights and dignity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and colleagues.

Statement of Intent

The National Scheme Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Statement of Intent is a commitment between the 15 national health practitioner boards (the National Boards), the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), accreditation authorities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector leaders and organisations.

The Statement highlights our intent, and shared vision and values to achieve equity in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait and other Australians to close the gap by 2031.

Reconciliation Action Plan

AHPRA’s first Reconciliation Action Plan is an important document outlining what we, AHPRA, will do to start addressing the imbalance in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians.

It is an important statement of our commitment to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to achieve patient safety for all Australians. Read AHPRA’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

 
 
Page reviewed 16/03/2020