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Medical Health Aged Care

To close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity, support Indigenous GPs: RACGP

Royal Australian College of GPs 3 mins read

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has reiterated its commitment to achieve equity of health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians following the release of the 2024 Close the Gap report.   

Close the Gap is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led campaign which aims to achieve health equality by 2030. It is Australia's largest-ever public campaign to end Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality.

The RACGP is a member of the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee, along with Australia’s peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health bodies.

The latest Close the Gap Campaign Report explores themes that speak to economic, social, political and cultural determinants of health – Progressing Voice, Treaty, and Truth; Leadership and Governance; and Building our Economies – through exemplary case studies, including the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA).

RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health faculty chair Dr Karen Nicholls said true partnership is essential to achieve equity in health and life outcomes and the cultural wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“Our College is firmly committed to the objectives of the Uluru Statement from the Heart – Voice, Treaty, and Truth,” she said.

“The Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association’s work to grow our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical specialist workforce, which is rightly highlighted in the Close the Gap report. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up only 0.3% of Australia’s medical specialists, and 0.6% of all medical practitioners, yet we are 3.8% of Australian’s population. While AIDA’s recognition in the report is in the non-GP specialist trainee support area, I’m incredibly proud of the success our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs in training have achieved, but there is more to do.

“That’s where our partnership with the Indigenous General Practice Trainee Network, or IGPTN, is really valuable for the culturally responsive education and support they provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs in training. IGPTN is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led and governed, which is its strength and in line with what we know helps to achieve equity in health. Our partnership with the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association is also based on a shared recognition of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors in the health workforce.

“We also recognise the importance of delivering culturally safe healthcare to achieve equity of health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by 2030.

“We want to do everything we can to support the growth of the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healthcare must be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led, and our community-controlled organisations should be supported to deliver services.

“In February, the Productivity Commission reported on targets for the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. While there’s been progress on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies with a healthy birthweight, Australia is still not on track to close the gap in life expectancy or a significant and sustained reduction in suicide towards zero.

“While the referendum result last year was disappointing, it doesn’t change the underlying principles or evidence. When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a say in the policies and practices that affect them, the outcomes are better, resources are better-used, and we move closer to closing the gap in health equity.”

~ENDS


About us:

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

Visit www.racgp.org.au. To unsubscribe from RACGP media releases, click here.


Contact details:

John Ronan
Media Adviser

Ally Francis
Media Adviser

Stuart Winthrope
Media Officer

Contact: 03 8699 0992media@racgp.org.au

Follow us on Twitter: @RACGP and Facebook.

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