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Mar 18 2021

Closing The Gap 2021

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples life expectancy is 10 years less than non-Indigenous Australians. Today, National Close the Gap Day provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians the opportunity to support the work that aims to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by 2032.

Our organisation has a strong commitment to partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across our region to improve their access to health and wellbeing services. One of the ways that we do this is through supporting primary health care providers to provide culturally safe care. There is a strong link between cultural safety and health access, both at an individual health practitioner level and at an organisational level. The voice of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is important, and helps us to shape how our services are designed so that they are culturally appropriate, and can improve equitable access. We also provide RACGP accredited Aboriginal cultural awareness training to primary health care providers. This training was specifically developed for our region, and the interactive sessions allow participants to learn, ask questions and explore culture, and improve their understanding of the importance of cultural safety in accessing healthcare.

We fund the Integrated Team Care (Closing the Gap) program across our region. This program was established to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have complex chronic diseases to access healthcare services through a care coordinator. Since the commencement of this program Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced improved pathways and service linkages resulting in improved access to health care and quality of life.

We are proud of all our programs but particularly those that allow us to increase cultural competency and understanding. These initiatives provide us with the opportunity to collaborate with organisations who share our values in improving accessibility to healthcare. Through this, we have been able to identify and develop many services and programs that will assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on their journey to better health outcomes.

If you would like to find out more about how we work with health care providers in our region to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or arrange a visit from our Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Mitchell Beggs-Mowczan, please contact us on 4708 8100.

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Photo of Lizz Reay

Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.

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