Closing the Gap: Outreach workers for Lismore and Grafton
February 19, 2010
Page MP Janelle Saffin says the Federal Government’s efforts to close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation will be helped by two outreach worker placements in her electorate.
Ms Saffin said two of 83 new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander outreach workers nationally will join the Lismore-based Northern Rivers General Practice Network and Grafton’s Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation by the end of June.
“These organisations are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Indigenous people in the region, and these outreach workers will help increase community engagement with primary health care services,” Ms Saffin said.
“The Federal Government’s $805.5 million Indigenous Chronic Disease Package includes $42 million to fund a total of 160 such positions to build the capacity of the Indigenous health workforce over four years.
“We are putting resources on the ground to improve the prevention, early detection and management of chronic diseases which account for about two-thirds of premature deaths among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These include cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases.”
Outreach staff will work to increase the uptake of Indigenous health checks and identify Indigenous people who would benefit from improved access to health services.
They will also assist Indigenous people to access other health services, including follow-up care, specialist services and pharmacies.
The workers will have access to nationally accredited basic level training through the vocational education and training sector. They can choose to develop career paths in the health sector by undertaking more advanced training as health workers or enrolled nurses.