AHCWA welcomes federal Minister’s calls to work closely with PHNs


At a meeting today, the full Board of the Aboriginal Health Council of WA has welcomed Federal Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt’s call for Primary Health Networks to work more closely with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.


Mr Wyatt has appealed to Primary Health Networks (PHNs) across the country to ensure they ‘have the appropriate mix of skills, knowledge, experience and capabilities to deliver the best health outcomes’, and consider whether this could be improved.


Mr Wyatt pointed out that this must be addressed in order to work toward Closing the Gap.


AHCWA Chairperson Michelle Nelson-Cox agreed, and said the peak body had been seeking to work closely with the PHNs in WA.


“We hope that this announcement will bring about greater meaningful engagement with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs), regional bodies and state peaks into the future,” she said.


“The ACCHSs in WA are the largest providers of comprehensive primary health care to Aboriginal people, and evidence clearly shows that they’re the best placed to deliver health care to Aboriginal people.


“As we know from the Closing the Gap reports, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the most disadvantaged group in Australia, particularly regarding their health.”


Ms Nelson-Cox said that as a central part of the WA health system, the ACCHS sector needed a position on the Board of the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), the organisation which runs WA’s three PHN regions.


“We acknowledge the WAPHA Board already has an Aboriginal representative, but the ACCHS sector does not currently have a voice at that table,” she said.


“Aboriginal people, through community controlled services, must have the opportunity to lead the development and implementation of services and programs designed to impact upon them.”


Ms Nelson-Cox said it was also important for ACCHSs, regional bodies and state peaks to be recognised as the preferred providers for any targeted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs.

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