A practical resource to support health services deliver better and more appropriate health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was launched today by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) at the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) meeting in Alice Springs.
The National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards User Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (user guide) provides guidance and case studies to assist health services to meet six new actions included in the NSQHS Standards (second edition) that specifically address the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The development of the six actions was led by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee, together with the Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. They cover areas that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and health service representatives believe can have the biggest impact on improving the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Embedding these actions in the Standards means that all acute health services will, from 1 January 2019, need to demonstrate that they are being addressed to pass their assessments.
Commission Chair, Professor Villis Marshall AC, said the user guide gives clear directions on meeting the new requirements for addressing the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, identifying priorities and monitoring and reporting on outcomes.
“Key actions defined in the second edition of the Standards include working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and promoting their representation in governance structures. These are critical to the effectiveness of healthcare services to these communities,” said Professor Marshall.
“Other important actions are creating a welcoming environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, inviting people to identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and improving the cultural competency of the workforce.
“The NSQHS Standards are designed to protect the public from harm and improve the quality of health service provision to all Australians. The actions included in the second edition designed to protect all Australians will, along with those specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, make a difference to the quality of healthcare provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.”
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What are the NSQHS Standards?
The National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards were developed by the Commission in collaboration with The Australian Government, states and territories, the private sector, clinical experts, patients and carers. The primary aims of the NSQHS Standards are to protect the public from harm and to improve the quality of health service provision. They provide a quality-assurance mechanism that tests whether relevant systems are in place to ensure expected standards of safety and quality are met. The second edition of the NSQHS Standards comprises eight Standards, with the reduction achieved through reducing duplication while also covering a number of areas not included in the first edition. They are available at: www.safetyandquality.gov.au
About the Commission
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is an Australian Government agency that leads and coordinates national improvements in the safety and quality of health care. The Commission works in partnership with the Australian Government, state and territory governments and the private sector to achieve a safe and high-quality, sustainable health system. In doing so, the Commission also works closely with patients, carers, clinicians, managers, policymakers and healthcare organisations.