A Blueprint for action: Pathways into the health workforce for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

A Blueprint for action: Pathways into the health workforce for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people Report

  • Author(s): National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council,
  • Published: 2008
  • Publisher: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing

Abstract: This paper provides Australian, State and Territory governments with strategic advice and strategies from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council (NATSIHC). It focuses on: • maximising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the health workforce, by promoting and improving pathways between school, vocational education and training (VET) and higher education and • retaining and building the capacity of the existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce by addressing ongoing support and career development needs. While 2.3% of the Australian population are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, only 1.6% of the national health workforce is made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.2 Health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are poor and, in many instances, continue to deteriorate.3 An accessible and competent health workforce is vital for ensuring that the health system has the capacity to provide culturally safe services that meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and improve their health outcomes. A key way to achieve this is to increase the number and capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people entering into and working in the health workforce. Key reasons for investing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce reform include: • a more effective return on investment from increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the health workforce than if current incremental approaches are continued • the economic benefits of tapping a previously untapped labour market by maximising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce participation • potential administrative savings accrued by aligning health and education sector priorities and strategies • benefits of higher quality data tracking systems and, critically • equity of health outcomes. Consistent issues that arise in the literature and in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and education stakeholders are: • excellence in student support services • culturally safe learning environments • reforming the system and • leadership. Excellence in student support services will ensure strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders. It includes: • connected support services between institutions • family and community engagement • the importance of mentors and role models and • strengthening financial and accommodation support.

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Suggested Citation
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council,, 2008, A Blueprint for action: Pathways into the health workforce for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Report, viewed 12 June 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=5495.

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