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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
Health and safety issues must be the first priority in any review of services to remote Aboriginal communities, the AMA (WA) said today.
“From good health flows everything else – the ability to work, to care for families and to play a part in the wider community,” AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said.
“The government should immediately have the Health Department conduct a review into the health standards and the health needs at all remote communities. Health must be the most important issue when the government considers the provision of municipal services to these communities.”
Dr Gannon said he had recently written to Premier Colin Barnett asking him to ensure that health and wellbeing for the residents of remote communities remain front and centre of any decision regarding the future of individual communities and the services they receive.
There are obvious health implications associated with the withdrawal of essential municipal services and infrastructure. Delivering vulnerable West Australian citizens into sub-optimal housing or into the evil grip of drug dealers or into alcohol dependency would be adding tragedy to already very difficult lives, Dr Gannon said.
“The AMA (WA) wants to see improvements in living conditions in Aboriginal communities and for service delivery to be normalised, not just being reactive when a crisis is identified. This is in the interests of the health and wellbeing of residents.
“How we provide for the health of Indigenous Australians – wherever they may choose to make their home – has to be equivalent to that received by non-Indigenous Australians,” Dr Gannon said.
“We cannot hold our heads high as a nation until we can be assured that the health services available to all Australians is world class.”
For further details or to speak to Dr Michael Gannon, please contact Robert Reid: 0422 553 877