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Why do we ask about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin?

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people have poorer health status than other Australians and their life expectancy is significantly less than other Australians.

“Our experience in working with general practices tells us that when practices put in place systems to improve their identification processes, there is a corresponding increase in the numbers of correctly identified patients”, said Aboriginal Health Manager for the PHN, John Manton,

“Over the years we have found that many general practice staff raise concerns about the issue of identification and are reluctant to 'ask the question’ ”

To help practices better understand the whole issue of identification the PHN has produced a simple video. The video not only explains why identification is important but it also shows an interview between a GP and a patient so people can see and hear the types of questions that can be asked in a visit to the doctor.

“The PHN is working with general practices across our region to improve the identification of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status of patients because it will bring a range of benefits’, said Manton.

These include:
  • patients are eligible to access specific services aimed at reducing the disparities in health outcomes, such as: – Indigenous Australian health assessments –called a “715”
  • allied health referrals on Medicare specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people after a health assessment
  • specific medications available on the PBS that are only for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

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