This is the 3rd in the AMA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Series. In 2002, the AMA’s first Indigenous Health Report card was released focussing on the underspend in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. In 2003, a second Report card was released showing there had been little change, spending was still below the level that would at least provide some degree of equity.
This, the AMA’s 2004 document, focuses on workforce requirements both in terms of those needed to provide services to Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders and the shortfall in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as health professionals. The Discussion paper again calculates the underspend in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and identifies where the shortfall is (MBS, PBS, Dental, medical consumables) and also recommends the level of investment in primary care infrastructure that would be needed to support the shortfall in workforce.
The Discussion paper calls on the Government to create a number of new training places for health professionals that have conditional scholarships requiring the health professional to work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for a specified period after qualification. The Discussion paper also calls on the government to commit to achieving parity of numbers of Aboriginal individuals and Torres Strait Islanders in all health professions within 10 years.
To achieve this the Discussion paper suggests the number of places in each profession that need to be allocated to Aboriginal individuals and Torres Strait Islanders and the supports necessary to ensure most students complete their training successfully.