Cultural competency on the agenda

WA Primary Health Alliance is developing frameworks that aim to increase access to culturally competent and safe primary health care services for those Western Australians most at risk of poor health outcomes.

The Cultural Competency Framework and Aboriginal Cultural Capability Framework will provide an opportunity to reflect on current practice and identify areas for improvement that will result in better health and wellbeing outcomes for priority target groups.

They will have a particular focus on the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People*, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse, Intersex, Queer (LGBTIQ+) communities.

General Manager Strategy and Engagement, Chris Kane, said the organisation had identified the need for a set of consistent behaviours, attitudes and policies across the primary care system to enable agencies and health professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

“To achieve this, we need a mechanism to build capability and measure performance both internally and among the services we fund. This will go a long way to ensuring cultural competency and safety for staff and people accessing those services.”

“Our next steps will be to appoint consultants to support the development of the strategy and to facilitate stakeholder consultation.

“Surveying our staff will also be useful in establishing a baseline level of their understanding of cultural competence and safety, as well as any opportunities and challenges.

The final frameworks will align to and be informed by WA Primary Health Alliance’s Strategic Plan 2020-23, Reconciliation Action Plan, Rainbow Tick Accreditation and will support the future development of a diversity and inclusion strategy.

It is anticipated the Frameworks, implementation plans, and commissioning toolkits will be completed by mid-2022.

*Given the importance of Aboriginal culture, history of dispossession and trauma, current level of disadvantage, and WAPHA’s responsibility to commission culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, an Aboriginal Cultural Capability Framework will be developed to complement the Cultural Competency Framework. This will be developed in consultation with Aboriginal people and communities and will inform our Aboriginal Health Strategy which is currently under development.