National Close the Gap Day is a chance to show solidarity with First Peoples by highlighting how our health service is investing into health solutions and engaging in meaningful partnerships to improve both health and happiness of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers.
Acting PA Hospital Executive Director, Dr Brian Bell, said the real challenge is to make meaningful change in the health service given Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have some of the poorest health outcomes of any group of people around the world.
“PAH continues to invest in health programs to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients but we acknowledge some of those significant barriers such as poor outpatient attendance and higher rates of ‘discharge against medical advice’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Our Metro South Health Closing the Gap Plan addresses many of these specific challenges and we will continue to strive to develop high quality health services that are respectful and capable of meeting the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s,” he said.
PAH aims to understand the problems within and across the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient’s journey and target the barriers as well as the enablers to accessing continuity of care.
“An exemplar of this is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander Renal Improvement project which is closing the gap in renal outcomes state-wide by developing strategies at every step of the patient journey,” he said.
“The team are intervening early for detection and management of Chronic Kidney Disease in the community, referral to specialist services, renal replacement therapy, up to end of life care.
“Funding received last year has advanced the work of this team which includes an Aboriginal Nurse Navigator, Indigenous Renal Health Worker, Nephrologist, Pharmacist and Social Worker who are all key members of this amazing partnership working with Metro South's Integrated Nephrology & Transplant Services Team,” he said.
The 2017 report on indigenous health in Queensland showed that Closing the Gap by 2033 will be an ambitious goal.
“If we continue to invest in targeted heath improvement projects, embed cultural understanding into our everyday practices and ensure a welcoming environment for all cultures, we will have made essential steps towards closing the gap of disadvantage.”