Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

The Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN) has launched a new framework to help close the health and wellness gap for Indigenous people in our community.  

The 2023-2028 First Nations Health and Wellness Framework builds upon previous cultural engagement activities, setting expectations and standards for cultural competency for staff and stakeholders.  The framework also provides guidance on how to incorporate culturally responsive attitudes, values, and behaviours into everyday work.  

HNECC PHN Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nankervis, says they are dedicated to achieving improved access to primary healthcare and better health outcomes for First Nations communities.

“Primary health is a fundamental  cornerstone of wellness and wellbeing for First Nations people which contributes greatly to achieving the nation’s Closing the Gap targets.”

“This Health and Wellness Framework provides an impetus for change and dialogue about achieving  improved health outcomes.” 

The PHN recognises that the cultures of our First Nations peoples and communities are dynamic and have  changed over time because of historical challenges and present circumstances. First Nations communities and  their cultures have survived and endured colonisation, dispossession, interruption of culture and  intergenerational trauma. The cumulative impacts of these traumas have resulted in a vast difference in the  health and well-being of First Nations people compared to other populations in Australia. 

The PHN will focus on four target areas over the next few years, strengthening the work of the PHN in  improving access to primary care. By committing to working together, PHN staff, Primary Care providers,  families and communities, will work to improve the health outcomes for First Nations People. 

“Together, this document represents the combined voices of the PHN, our First Nations staff and our local  communities,” Mr Nankervis said.  

“As our PHN enters its eighth year, it is important for us to develop a revised First Nations Health and Wellness Framework to build on the foundations laid and connections developed, making sure our activities are more culturally responsive and meet the needs and expectations of our local First Nations people and families. ”

Aligning the Framework with the PHN’s core values has guided its vision and purpose. The PHN aims to use  the framework to navigate decisions around how First Nations peoples are supported, improve the delivery of  health services and strengthen connection to communities. 

The PHN thanked Nama Jalu Consulting and the dedicated First Nations PHN staff  for their invaluable contributions and expert insights, which have greatly enriched this framework. 

Top image: PHN CEO Richard Nankervis, Aunty Cheryl Smith and Uncle Ray, Kristy Lee Priestly, PHN First Nations Health Access Manager.