The PHN worked in partnership with six North Coast Aboriginal medical services to deliver the agreement, aimed at improving First Nations people’s health across the region.
NSW primary health network Healthy North Coast has partnered with six north coast Aboriginal medical services to deliver better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the region.
The Healthy North Coast Aboriginal Partnership Agreement was announced at Galambila Aboriginal Health Service by board chairs and CEOs from Aboriginal Health Services, Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation and Healthy North Coast.
Payden Samuelsson, Bullinah Aboriginal Health Service’s CEO, and Stephen Blunden, CEO of Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service, agreed that the partnership recognised that the responsibility of improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health outcomes was shared across all primary care organisations.
“It is important that responsibility for improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is shared across the health system. That’s what this partnership will help to foster,” said Mr Samuelsson.
“As primary healthcare organisations, we have a shared responsibility to deliver better outcomes for our Aboriginal communities and address the disparities that currently exist,” said Mr Blunden.
The agreement was designed to progress the federal government’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2021-2031, which established new national policy to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health outcomes over the next 10 years.
Monika Wheeler, Healthy North Coast’s CEO, said the partnership demonstrated the PHN’s commitment by collaborating with First Nations health experts.
“Better Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health outcomes will be achieved when Aboriginal people control them,” Ms Wheeler said.
“This agreement confirms Healthy North Coast’s commitment to be proactively seeking, and listening to the advice and guidance of aboriginal community controlled health organisations when it comes to commissioning in Aboriginal health.”
The partnership has already led to the establishment of a Healthy North Coast preferred provider model, with a number of other initiatives planned for next year, including:
- A joint North Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Needs Assessment – inclusive of data analysis, community consultation and shared priority setting (by December 2024).
- An Aboriginal-specific mental health, suicide prevention and alcohol and other drug community-controlled service model (by June 2024).
- A collaborative integrated team care service model (by June 2024).
The new agreement complements existing arrangements in place with the Mid North Coast and Northern NSW Local Health Districts to support integrated care across the primary health and acute care system.
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