Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data

The burden of disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is 2.3 times that of non-Indigenous Australians. Mental health and chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, diabetes and kidney disease are areas of particular concern (AIHW 2020).

The health system’s response to this challenge involves a combination of private and public state and territory primary care providers and Indigenous-specific primary care providers. The establishment of PHNs in 2015 provides an opportunity to build connections across the health system to further improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to appropriately targeted care that is effective and culturally appropriate (Department of Health 2016).

The 2020 National Agreement on Closing the Gap (DPMC 2020) is based on the partnership of governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in and sharing decision-making to support better health and wellbeing outcomes for Indigenous Australians (AIHW 2020).

It has been acknowledged that significant numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients are being treated by mainstream practices and there is a recognised need for improvements in the rates of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients (RACGP 2011).

Figure 51 shows, as of July 2021, nationally, of the regular clients aged 15 and over:

  • 1.9% of clients were recorded in their GP record as either Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people,
  • 75.5% of clients were recorded in their GP record as non-Indigenous people, and
  • 22.6% of clients did not have a record of Indigenous status in their GP record.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and other organisations funded under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) do not submit data to this national PIP Eligible Data Set, and therefore are not represented within this report.

Figure 51: Proportion of regular clients with their Indigenous status recorded in their GP record, by PHN, July 2021

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