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Turning good intentions into culturally safe practice

Aug. 02, 2021

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As part of continuing efforts to Close the Gap in health and life expectancy among Indigenous Australians, Brisbane North PHN is supporting a new initiative that will bring additional Indigenous health expertise into the organisation.

To improve uptake of mainstream healthcare services across Brisbane by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Peter Boney (pictured) from the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) will work from the PHN’s offices one day per week for the next few months.

Mr Boney is a Kwiambal and Ngoorabul man from North West NSW, who moved to Queensland more than thirty years ago. He now works as an IUIH program manager with responsibility for aspects of the Integrated Team Care Program. He says one of his priorities is to provide a training program that will help general practices and other healthcare providers turn their good intentions for their Indigenous patients into culturally safe practices.

“The training has been developed with the RACGP,” Mr Boney said, “and aims to help practices and the healthcare system become more culturally safe for Indigenous patients.

“This isn’t something that is just achieved through visualisations or artwork. It’s actually about working with the staff to better understand and build better relationships with their Indigenous patients,” he said.

“Our training is divided up into two major sections. The first part covers colonisation and the effects of this on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“This is sometimes quite confronting for practice staff, and quite emotional. You have all kinds of reactions to that part of the training.

“The second part involves working through certain Medicare items that staff can use to care for their Indigenous patients.

“We have people come along to the training who are specialised in programs that offer mainstream clinics a wrap-around service free of charge – including support, education and training – for coordinated care programs available to people with chronic conditions, and for IUIH Connect Plus.

“We also have our head of pharmacy come in to talk about PBS co-payments and the recent changes to that program.

“So practice staff walk away from the second part of the training with deeper knowledge of services they can use free of charge to help their Indigenous patients to achieve better health,” he said.

Mr Boney is supporting working with healthcare providers across both the Brisbane North and South catchments and said IUIH can also help them to develop an action plan to implement any service changes needed following the training.

Completion of this training meets the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) Indigenous Health Incentive requirement. It has been approved by the RACGP QI&CPD Program in the 2020-22 triennium for 10 Category 2 points (Activity: 190447).

The next session is scheduled for 6 November 2021 at the Everton Park Hotel, 101 Flockton Street, Everton Park. View the event details online or to register, email itc@iuih.org.au.

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