2003 AMA Indigenous Health Report Card - "Time for Action"

17 May 2003

One Year after the release of the AMA's first report card on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health not much has changed.

The 2003 AMA Report Card presents new information about the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Recent data confirm Indigenous people are admitted to hospital at twice the rate of non Indigenous people. This group suffers much higher rates of renal disease, diabetes, injury and poisoning than the rest of the Australian community.

This Report Card updates estimates of the funding needed to ensure all Indigenous people get access to essential health care. While funding has increased, it does not meet the demand for primary health care, prevention and the training of additional health workers.

Government policy is moving in the right direction, but this must urgently translate into expanded services and training.

Broader changes in life opportunities are also needed to ensure that the current health problems are substantially improved.

The AMA has already highlighted major problems of access to primary health care for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Similar developed countries which have made a substantial investment in primary health care have been able to improve the health of their Indigenous peoples.

The AMA remains ready to work with Indigenous communities and all governments.

Progress is possible: concerted action is needed now.

AMA Media Release: AMA 15th National Conference 2003 - Time for action on Indigenous health