Aboriginal Health

Aboriginal Health

Many Aboriginal people in Tasmania enjoy good health and wellbeing but as a group, Aboriginal people in Tasmania are more likely to experience poor health than the general population.

Aboriginal people in Tasmania survived near-extinction in the 1800s. With survival came loss of land, loss of freedom to practice ancient culture and traditional lifestyles, marginalisation from Australian society and trauma across generations.

These impacts continue to affect the social, economic, physical and psychological health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people today.

For this reason, Aboriginal people in Tasmania are a priority group for our efforts in protecting and improving population health.

We work closely with Aboriginal communities and health and human service providers to achieve this.

Cultural Respect Framework – Have Your Say

We know some Aboriginal people have difficulty accessing culturally-safe mainstream health services, and we know this affects the health of some Aboriginal people.

The Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016–2026 commits the Australian Government and all states and territories to providing health services respectful of Aboriginal people and their cultures.

We are developing an implementation plan for Tasmania, outlining how healthcare workers can make sure the way they plan and provide services is respectful of Aboriginal people.

Community consultation is underway. If you’d like a say in what goes in the Tasmanian Cultural Respect Framework Implementation Plan or have a story to tell about your experience as an Aboriginal person accessing mainstream health services in Tasmania call 1800 671 738.

The consultation closes 22 December 2017.

We are planning focus groups in the north, north-west and south of Tasmania in November 2017. Details are coming soon. To register your interest call 1800 671 738.

About the Cultural Respect Project

Aboriginal cultures are central to how Aboriginal people view individual, family and community health and wellbeing. Having respect for culture and traditions is vital to helping Aboriginal people access services.

Providing culturally respectful services will help:

  • ensure Aboriginal people access the health services they need when they need them and feel comfortable doing so
  • close the gap in health outcomes between the general population and Tasmanian Aboriginal people
  • health services retain accreditation into the future by meeting Standard 1 and Standard 2 of Version 2 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards
  • improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health services.

Tasmania’s implementation plan for the Cultural Respect Framework will cover six focus areas:

  1. Whole of organisation approach and commitment.
  2. Communication.
  3. Workforce development and training.
  4. Consumer participation and engagement.
  5. Stakeholder partnership and collaboration.
  6. Data, planning research and evaluation.

We have set up a working group to develop the implementation plan that representatives from:

  • the Tasmanian Aboriginal community
  • across DHHS
  • the Tasmanian Health Service
  • the Australian Government Department of Health
  • Primary Health Tasmania.

Improving Aboriginal cultural awareness in the workplace

The DHHS Aboriginal Cultural Awareness e-learning module is freely available for staff working in Tasmanian Government health and human services and the non-government /community sector health and human services.

This module helps improve Aboriginal cultural awareness in services and organisations.

It was developed in partnership with Aboriginal people in Tasmania.

Access DHHS Aboriginal Cultural Awareness E-learning Module

For community sector and non-government organisations:

  1. Visit https://dhhs.sproutlabs.com.au
  2. Create a username and password (if you don’t already have one)
  3. Go to ‘Students & Volunteers’
  4. Scroll to ‘Aboriginal Cultural Awareness 2017’.

For DHHS and THS staff:

  1. Visit THEO at https://theo.dhhs.tas.gov.au/login/index.php
  2. Login with your current THS/DHHS network username and password
  3. Go to ‘DHHS | Public Health Services’
  4. Choose ‘Aboriginal Cultural Awareness’.

Related Information

Resetting the relationship with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community

In 2016, the Department of Premier and Cabinet developed the Reset Agenda, identifying five priorities to reset the relationship with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. Many of these have a direct influence on Aboriginal health.

Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship

TAZREACH Tasmanian Clinical Education Network: Aboriginal Health Services Tasmania – virtual tours

October 2017