On April 14, 2023, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) unveiled a groundbreaking statement that underscores the importance of culturally safe care and equitable access to healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Developed in collaboration with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), this statement reflects a significant step towards improving health outcomes for Indigenous communities across Australia.
Recognition of Cultural Safety and Equity:
At the core of PSA's statement is the recognition that culturally safe care and equity in healthcare access are fundamental drivers for enhancing the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This commitment acknowledges the unique health challenges faced by Indigenous communities and emphasises the need for tailored, culturally responsive healthcare solutions.
A Collaborative Approach:
The statement's development was a collaborative effort, with PSA working closely alongside NACCHO. This partnership has already borne fruit, with the successful implementation of onsite pharmacists within their network. This initiative seeks to expand its reach, making this valuable service accessible to more patients in Indigenous communities.
Key Initiatives for Indigenous Health:
PSA's commitment to Indigenous health extends beyond this statement. Through co-design with NACCHO, they have launched several initiatives, including the IPAC trial and the Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course. These programs equip pharmacists with the skills and knowledge required to work effectively within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, ensuring that the care provided is both culturally responsive and safe.
Closing the Health Gap:
Acknowledging the 2022 Closing the Gap Annual Report, which highlighted the urgency of addressing the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, Dr. Fei Sim, PSA National President, emphasised the role of healthcare professionals in this endeavour. The statement reaffirms that equitable access to high-quality healthcare is essential for improving health outcomes among Indigenous populations. All healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, have a responsibility to provide culturally responsive and safe care.
Supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart:
In addition to its commitment to culturally safe care, PSA also reaffirms its support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This statement calls for the enshrinement of a First Nations Voice in the Constitution and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission for agreement-making and truth-telling. PSA stands firmly behind these principles and works closely with Indigenous-led health organisations to equip the pharmacy profession with the skills and tools needed to deliver appropriate care for all Australians.
PSA's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' health care statement represents a significant milestone in the pursuit of equitable healthcare for Indigenous communities in Australia. Through collaboration, commitment, and ongoing support, PSA aims to bridge the healthcare gap and ensure that all Australians, regardless of their background, receive the best possible healthcare. You can read the full statement here (link to statement).
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