The Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum (NTAHF) is a planning structure established to make decisions and provide strategic guidance on key policy and planning issues for Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory. The NTAHF is the partnership vehicle through which the Agreement on Northern Territory Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing 2015-2020 is implemented.

Role Statement

The NTAHF provides high-level guidance and decision-making aimed at ensuring that Aboriginal peoples in the Northern Territory enjoy health and wellbeing outcomes equal to that of the community as a whole. The NTAHF is a forum for joint planning and information sharing, where partners work together in a spirit of partnership and collaboration to:

  1. Increase the effectiveness of the health system, including through:

    a) ensuring appropriate resource allocation

    b) maximising Aboriginal community participation and control as a key element of sustainable, viable, effective and efficient health services

    c) encouraging better service responsiveness to / appropriateness for Aboriginal people

    d) promoting quality, evidence-based care

    e) improving access for Aboriginal people to both mainstream and Aboriginal specific health services

    f) increasing engagement of health services with Aboriginal communities and organisations.

  2. Ensure that the social determinants of health are addressed through high level collaboration and advocacy outside the health system.

Membership

The membership of the NTAHF is:

  1. Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT)
  2. Commonwealth Departments of Health & Prime Minister and Cabinet
  3. Northern Territory Department of Health
  4. Northern Territory PHN

Work Plan 2014-17

The NTAHF’s 2014-2017 work plan identifies the following strategic focus areas:

Primary Health Care

Access to a full range of effective and appropriate primary health care services is a key strategy to improve Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory. Maximising the participation of Aboriginal communities in the delivery of primary health care contributes to more responsive, effective and culturally secure services. This focus area includes supporting access to core functions of primary health care and effective primary health care services, as well as identifying opportunities for establishing community controlled primary health care services.

Hospitals and specialist care

Access to quality, appropriate hospital, specialist and allied health care is critical to making improvements in the health status of Aboriginal Territorians. Areas for attention include coordination and integration between health service providers such that the ‘patient journey’ meets the social, cultural and health care needs of Aboriginal people and their families, and monitoring and addressing institutional barriers to appropriate care.

The social determinants of health

Improving the health of the Aboriginal community requires action across the whole health system, and even beyond it in addressing the social determinants of health including preventive health and health promotion and the possible effects of culture as a determinant of health. The ‘Health in All Policies’ (HiaP) framework provides an approach to collaboration within and beyond the health sector.

Health system strengthening and monitoring

Workforce and information are two key ‘building blocks’ for strengthening health systems. Each has received considerable attention from the NTAHF since its beginnings, and each remains critical to supporting a more effective health system for Aboriginal Territorians. Regular monitoring of Key Performance Indicators is an important strategy for understanding how the health of Aboriginal communities – and the effectiveness of the health system – changes over time. This focus area includes Aboriginal health workforce, information technology, cultural security of the health system, health system monitoring, and planning for the future.

Evaluating NTAHF progress

The NTAHF will maximise its effectiveness by creating an appropriate balance between dealing with health system issues and through members investing in the partnership and processes. This will include establishing the NTAHF as the key forum for high-level information sharing, monitoring and decision-making in relation to Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory.

Contact

The NTAHF can be contacted through secretariat@amsant.org.au.

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“Please be advised that the workshop and outcomes from this report was produced in 2015”

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