Every day must be Close the Gap day - AMA

20 Mar 2014

On Close the Gap Day, the AMA calls on all Australian governments to increase the momentum to close the gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said the health inequities are significant and a long term commitment is needed.

“Our governments must make every day a Close the Gap Day,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Consistent and coordinated action is needed to increase the momentum and build on the early successes of strategies to close the gap across the health spectrum.

“The AMA believes there should be a stronger focus on improving mental health and wellbeing.

“Poor mental health and low social and emotional wellbeing are persistent problems for many Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.  These problems begin early in life and stay with them through adolescence and into adulthood.

“There must also be concerted action to stem the high rates of suicide among young Aboriginal people and Torres Strait islanders, in particular.”

Dr Hambleton said that the COAG Closing the Gap partnership agreements must be renewed as soon as possible for another five years, with the same level of funding as the previous agreements.

The AMA believes that the renewed agreements should put forward an implementation strategy for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, which includes:

  • development of a comprehensive set of measurable targets that need to be achieved over the next 10 years;
  • development and implementation of a service model that will effectively and efficiently achieve those targets;
  • development and implementation of a national workforce strategy for existing and emerging areas of need in service provision;
  • the formulation of a funding and resource model commensurate with health care needs and priorities in ATSI over the next 10 years; and
  • clear, measurable requirements for governments to work together in genuine partnership and with the guidance of ATSI health leaders and Indigenous communities.

The AMA was a key member of the stakeholder advisory group that informed the development of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.


20 March 2014

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