The Aboriginal Health Council of WA said the Federal Government’s new plan to provide better care for people with chronic illnesses amounted to trialing the Aboriginal Medical Service model in non-Aboriginal communities.
A meeting on Thursday of CEOs from WA’s Aboriginal Medical Services welcomed the $20 million Health Care Homes trial, which will start on 1 July 2017.
The trial will include about 65,000 Australians over 2 years and will ensure that people with chronic diseases will have their healthcare coordinated through one GP or medical service, rather than multiple GPs.
The most prominent chronic health conditions to be treated will be diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental health, eye disease, respiratory conditions and arthritis.
AHCWA Chairperson Michelle Nelson-Cox said Aboriginal people were more likely than the general population to suffer from these chronic health conditions.
“About a third of Aboriginal people suffer from three or more long term conditions,” she said.
“They often struggle to navigate what is a complex system to get the care they need, and we are very hopeful that this trial will simplify the system and allow people to stay on Country more and travel to hospital less if at all.”
Ms Nelson-Cox said the new model was essentially adapted from the model of service which Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services have been providing for forty years around Australia.
“An Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service is a primary health care service initiated and operated by the local Aboriginal community to deliver holistic, comprehensive and culturally appropriate health care to the community under locally elected Board of Management,” she said.
“The model of service delivery is founded upon integrated primary health care, and is recognised in best-practice evidence as being key to reducing the numbers of people who end up in the hospital system, which is notoriously expensive and inefficient.”