The Liberal National Government will provide $350,000 to produce an Australian-first online cultural safety training course for nurses and midwives delivering frontline care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM made the announcement at a national roundtable in Sydney on developing and rapidly expanding the Aboriginal health workforce.
“Everyone using health services in Australia should feel valued and respected throughout their consultation and aftercare,” Minister Wyatt said.
“Our Government, through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program, will fund the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives to develop the online cultural safety training course this year.
“The innovative use of established web technology will enable all nurses and midwives to learn about culturally safe care where they live and work, and at a time which suits them.”
The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) is the peak body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery professionals across Australia.
“The online training program will be adapted for Australia from a successful model developed by Indigenous leaders in Canada,” said Minister Wyatt.
“Providing culturally safe services is critical to Closing the Gap in health equality. We welcome CATSINaM’s initiative to share experiences and to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to strengthen the capacity of health professionals to deliver culturally safe services for our people.”
CATSINaM CEO Janine Mohamed said the funding would help realise a project the organisation had been working on with the Government and other partners for the past five years.
“This training will not only support all nurses and midwives to meet the standards of their Codes of Practice, it will also embed cultural safety in the health system, improving healthcare and helping Close the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes,” Ms Mohamed said.
The inclusion of cultural safety as one of the Codes of Professional Standards for nurses and midwives is driving an increase in demand for cultural safety training.
“The importance of cultural safety training is recognised across the health sector,” Minister Wyatt said. “There is also potential for this initiative to build the cultural understanding of health professions beyond the fields of nursing and midwifery.
“The training will align with the objectives of the Cultural Respect Framework 2016-2026 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health to include local culture in the design, delivery and evaluation of services.”
Provision of cultural safety training also supports strategies under the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, to prevent and address systemic racism and discrimination in the health system.
The Liberal National Government is providing $3.9 billion to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next four years.