Considering working in medicine?

In 2018 it was reported[i] that over 74,000 Aboriginal people were residing in the Northern Territory, representing almost 30% of the Territory’s population.  Of these residents almost 80% are living in remote or very remote locations and as such have limited access to health care services.  While great care is taken to provide suitable clinical care, available services have not always been seen as culturally appropriate for the people they are working to support.

In recent years the demand to skill Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s in health care roles has risen with a focus on enhancing the quality of clinical services being provided across the country within remote and urban community clinics and hospitals. Recognising the importance of connecting with family, community, country, culture and identity to provide a holistic approach to health and wellbeing a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework was released to guidance the development of this important workforce and thus improve the health outcomes of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

There is a responsibility to skill and upskill the next generation to take on new and emerging roles in preventing not only the impact of a deadly virus such as COVID-19 but also chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, dementia, injury and social or emotional wellbeing affecting First Nations People.  Demand for specialisations in health care includes Indigenous Environmental Health, Family Health, Nutritional Health and Primary Health Care Practice.  

With estimates of a significantly increasing Aboriginal population for the Territory over coming years, prioritising the development and growth of Aboriginal Health Workers in both clinical and non-clinical roles is vital. This includes access and support for appropriate training that meets local needs.

To retain currency of skills, vocational qualifications need to be regularly reviewed for current and future learners. Therefore, current Health Care Worker’s and Practitioner’s across the Northern Territory and nationally have been involved in discussions about the alignment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander qualifications to current job roles and the goals of the National Framework

If you wish to be involved in these reviews and keep up to date with the ever-changing demands of skilling for the NT health sector, please feel free to make contact with our Training Package Development Team at the Industry Skills Advisory Council NT.