First Aboriginal Health Service in Melbourne to open in 16 years

First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing located in Thomastown is set to be the first new Aboriginal Health Service to open in Melbourne for over sixteen years on November 1st . The clinic will open to meet the unmet demand for culturally safe Aboriginal health care to Melbourne’s Indigenous population. The service grew from Access Services for Koories, an organisation with a ten-year history of increasing access to primary care for First Peoples in the north west of Melbourne. It is evident that Victorian First Peoples are currently missing out on quality primary health care services. National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care reports that Victorian First Peoples have the lowest rates of preventative health assessments completed in comparison to any other state or territory (AIHW, 2017).

The National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people highlight chronic disease management as an area of concern that First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing aims to change. Chronic disease management itself contributes to 80% of the gap in life expectancy between Australian First Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians aged 35 to 74 years. Evidence shown in the AIHW report shows that less than half of people with diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes have had a GP management plan of Team Care arrangement completed in the last 24 months.

Stevie-lee Ryan, an Aboriginal Health Practitioner with over 6 years of experience in the Aboriginal Health sector states "it’s important for Aboriginal people to have more options to access health care and First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing are providing that necessary access to the demand of the community.'

Accessibility for the 24,062 Australian First Peoples living in urban Melbourne is limited. Just 2 Aboriginal medical services that provide primary health care are available for First Peoples to access – a ratio of over 12,000 persons to each clinic. First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing opens in a desperate time for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to address these issues of access and availability to culturally-safe primary health care services. The staff at First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing share a vision – to create a network of compact decentralised primary health care facilities for Australian First Peoples. For media enquiries contact Erin Manderson: 03 9070 8181

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