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Is our health care system delivering for Aboriginal communities?

5 October 2016
A new study will map existing services in rural and remote NSW

A new study by the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Faculty of Health Sciences will determine which services are available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and where improvements might be made.

A photot of an audiometry nurse checking child's ears

The University of Sydney’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Faculty of Health Sciences have partnered with the NSW Australian Medical Association, local health districts and three Aboriginal health services to determine how well the current health system meets the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The joint research project will provide a full survey of the ear, nose and throat (ENT) services available across NSW, as well as all health services available in three unnamed communities – one remote, one border town and one coastal town.

The two datasets will then be brought together to provide a snapshot of what services are being accessed and where improvements might be made.

The lead academic, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Michelle Lincoln, said: “Prevention and early intervention are always best, but often families in the bush have limited access to screening and assessment.”

“This means that treatment often occurs late in the disease process," she explained. 

“We know that untreated ear problems for example can lead to irreparable damage to hearing. This has obvious flow on effects to learning, success at school and employment."

Our studies will map existing health services against community need and draw some conclusions about how well the health care system is meeting the health care needs of Aboriginal people in rural and remote communities – and importantly, what can be done to improve the system so that people have the best chance of receiving the right care at the right time.
Professor Michelle Lincoln

Aboriginal health services focus of new study – ABC News report

Watch ABC News' report on the University's joint research project into Aboriginal health services in NSW. Read the ABC News Online story.

The project has ethics approval from Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council.

The study formally commenced last week with a stakeholder meeting, and data collection will commence in the coming weeks.

The researchers expect to report on the findings next year.