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More Indigenous Australians accessing targeted health services

Posted on: 26 October, 2011
Issue: Vol 11 No 4, October 2011 – December 2011
Related to Health services Social and emotional wellbeing Policies Substance use

There was a significant increase in the use of services targeted at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2009-10 compared with the previous year, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). These Commonwealth-funded services, the majority of which are community controlled, include primary health care services (such as access to doctors, nurses and medical specialists), stand-alone substance use rehabilitation and treatment services, and Bringing Them Home and Link Up counselling services.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services report, 2009-10: OATSIH Services Reporting-key results, shows primary health care services targeted at Indigenous Australians provided 2.4 million episodes of care in 2009-10. More than three-quarters of clients (78% or 357,000) were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; this is a similar estimated proportion to the previous year.

Substance use services provided treatment and assistance to around 26,300 clients in 2009-10 – an increase of 14% compared with 2008-09. In 2009-10, Bringing Them Home and Link Up counselling services provided counselling to about 10,700 clients-an increase of about 27% compared with 2008-09.

Indigenous staff made up over half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health centre workforce in primary health care and substance use (57% and 59% respectively), while the majority of Bringing Them Home and Link Up counselling services had at least one Indigenous counsellor (89%).

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