Future GPs Call for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health to be an Election Priority

By Petrina Smith
Thursday, 22 August, 2013



The commencement of the National Aboriginal Primary Health Care Summit and the looming election has prompted future doctors and medical students to call on all politicians to make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health a federal election priority.
The call comes from General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA), the Going Places Network (GPN) and General Practice Students Network (GPSN), together representing over 19,000 doctors and medical students.
These networks are calling for better community consultation when developing policy and a firm investment in future health workforce training. This includes but is not limited to strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health curriculum at medical schools and in postgraduate vocational training programs.
Key areas for support include:


  1. Investment in education and support of medical students, pre-vocational doctors and GP registrars to ensure that the emerging  health workforce is competent and motivated to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

  2. Targeted support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students, junior doctors and GP registrars to ensure they are supported through the training continuum.

  3. Integrated cultural awareness programs and placements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout all levels of Australian medical training, regardless of medical career pathway.


“This election period provides an ideal opportunity to reflect upon the gap that still exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health outcomes,” Dr Vergara, Chair of GPRA advised.
“Those vying for election to government should use this opportunity to back their promises with concrete strategies to Close The Gap. These efforts need to be anchored by a commitment to adequately fund primary health care training and programs to ensure that health professionals are both competent and motivated to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” he added.
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