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Date posted: 13 July 2012
The primary health care peak body, Australian Medicare Local Alliance, is encouraging Australia's Indigenous population to sign up for quality chronic disease management in general practice to receive the health care they need.
AML Alliance Chair, Dr Arn Sprogis, says it is excellent news that more people are identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and that this is key to progress on closing the gap on health inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
‘For the health sector, particularly in general practice, the more general practitioners, practice nurses and allied health professionals are aware of the Indigenous status of patients the greater the opportunity to ensure Indigenous Australians can be made aware of their health rights locally.'
‘To achieve this, the Practice incentives program (PIP) - Indigenous health incentive has been designed to get general practices to register for the incentive program and from there, encourage their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to register to claim the benefits that can be offered through the program,' he said.
‘While there is still room to improve these incentives, since this program started 2,600 general practices across the country have registered, which is nearly 45% of practices nationwide.'
‘Over 100,000 eligible patients are currently benefiting from funding directed towards various Indigenous health programs and over 1.5 million prescriptions have been dispensed from pharmacies and four of the top five scripts have been for treating cardiovascular disease and diabetes.'
‘Adding to the efforts to improve access to mainstream health services, Medicare Locals across the country are doing a mix of employing and funding a health workforce which currently consists of more than 260 Indigenous outreach workers, Indigenous health project officers and care coordinators.'
Source: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)