Closing the Gap on health inequality
Thursday 17th March 2022
Health equality is a fundamental human right and it is critical that Australia meets this standard for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) believes that Australia’s healthcare system must strive to better meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to protect and support health, wellbeing, culture and Country.
PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, said that progress is being made in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, but there is still a long way to go.
“PSA believes that health equality as a fundamental right for all, and as today is National Close the Gap Day, I reiterate that we must continue to take steps toward achieving health equality for First Nations Peoples. I thank those pharmacists supporting and working towards quality use of medicines with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“PSA calls on the government to consider expanding the Closing the Gap Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Co-payment Program to include PBS medicines supplied under special supply arrangements established under Section 100 of the National Health Act 1953.
“As clinicians, it is critical that we continue to practise cultural humility and strive to challenge unconscious bias in order to move toward culturally safe and responsive models of care.
“Models of care must align with the six domains of the Cultural Respect Framework 2016-2026 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, with the overarching aim to improve the access and responsiveness of the health system in Australia.
“PSA respects the principle of self-determination and acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what is best for themselves, their families and communities.
“We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ connection to family, community, culture and Country is critical to wellbeing and positive self-identity.
“PSA respects the need for Aboriginal-led transformation, and recognises the resilience, strengths and leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations.
“When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are involved in the design of the services they need, success is far more likely to be achieved.
“Sadly, only a small proportion, roughly 0.3%, of registered pharmacists in Australia identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. Through promotion of initiatives like the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Scholarship Scheme, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Assistant Traineeship Scheme and creating opportunities to showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pharmacists at events such as PSA’s annual conference, PSA is dedicated to increasing this degree of representation.
“As the lead organisation for the Integrating Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (IPAC) project, PSA also continues to advocate for models of care which further enables pharmacists to support the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“PSA is proud to have our Reconciliation Action Plan endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, a framework which signifies our commitment to driving reconciliation throughout the organisation. This strategy builds further on current reconciliation initiatives by means of awareness and action,” A/Prof Freeman said.
Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463