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2004 AMA Indigenous Health Report Card - "Healing Hands: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Requirements"

This Report Card focuses on Indigenous health workforce requirements to provide necessary services to Indigenous people, and also in terms of the shortfall in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as health professionals. The AMA recommends increases in funding for primary care infrastructure, and also measures to increase training places for health professionals to work in Indigenous health. This Report Card includes a number of Good News Stories about relevant projects or initiatives that are having a significant impact on Indigenous people’s health. 

17 May 2004

AMA Discussion Paper 2004 - Healing Hands - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Requirements

This is the 3rd in the AMA's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Series. In 2002, the AMA's first Indigenous Health Report card was released focussing on the underspend in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. In 2003, a second Report card was released showing there had been little change, spending was still below the level that would at least provide some degree of equity.

This, the AMA's 2004 document, focuses on workforce requirements both in terms of those needed to provide services to Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders and the shortfall in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as health professionals.

The Discussion paper again calculates the underspend in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and identifies where the shortfall is (MBS, PBS, Dental, medical consumables) and also recommends the level of investment in primary care infrastructure that would be needed to support the shortfall in workforce.

The Discussion paper calls on the Government to create a number of new training places for health professionals that have conditional scholarships requiring the health professional to work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for a specified period after qualification.

The Discussion paper also calls on the government to commit to achieving parity of numbers of Aboriginal individuals and Torres Strait Islanders in all health professions within 10 years. To achieve this the Discussion paper suggests the number of places in each profession that need to be allocated to Aboriginal individuals and Torres Strait Islanders and the supports necessary to ensure most students complete their training successfully.

This Discussion paper is based on a report the AMA commissioned from Access Economics. The full report is attached below and can be downloaded.

We also attach a sheet of the Good News. This sheet summarizes 5 research projects that have had significant impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. This is good evidence that with the necessary investment Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health will improve over quite a short time frame.

AMA Media Release: AMA Indigenous Health Report calls for more Indigenous health workers and an extra $452.5 million a year in targeted funding.


Published: 17 May 2004