The Australian Medical Association Limited and state AMA entities comply with the Privacy Act 1988. Please refer to the AMA Privacy Policy to understand our commitment to you and information on how we store and protect your data.

×

Search

×

AMA 15th National Conference 2003 - Time for action on Indigenous health

The AMA's report card on Indigenous Health, released today by AMA President, Dr Kerryn Phelps, confirms that the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders continues to lag well behind the health of other Australians.

31 May 2003

The AMA's report card on Indigenous Health, released today by AMA President, Dr Kerryn Phelps, confirms that the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders continues to lag well behind the health of other Australians.

Dr Phelps said Australia's Indigenous populations have poor health outcomes that rank with third world countries.

"Our Indigenous people are admitted to hospital at twice the rate of non-Indigenous people, and they suffer much higher rates of renal disease, diabetes, injury and poisoning than the rest of the community," Dr Phelps said.

"Australia's track record on Indigenous health outcomes is a cause for shame.

"The solutions are achievable if they are funded and the Government is committed to better outcomes.

"While funding has increased, it does not meet the demand for primary health care, prevention, and the training of additional health workers.

"Government policy is moving in the right direction, but this must urgently translate into expanded services and training...quickly.

In addition to the report card, Dr Phelps released a document containing funding estimates by Professor John Deeble, Expenditures on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

"Professor Deeble's figures show that, despite increases in funding for Indigenous health services, an injection of an additional $250 million per annum is needed. Most of this money should go to providing properly staffed primary health care services," Dr Phelps said.

"Preventative health programs call for a further $50 million in funding - bringing the total to $300 million.

Dr Phelps said a healthy environment and better education and employment opportunities would help tackle some of the Indigenous health problems.

"The AMA calls for a minimum of 150 tertiary education places to be set aside immediately for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This would enable 30 places for Indigenous students in Medicine, 40 in nursing, 20 in allied and public health and 50 for graduate Aboriginal health workers. These should be made available every year," Dr Phelps said.

CONTACT: John Flannery (0419) 494 761

Judith Tokley (0408) 824 306


Published: 31 May 2003