$833 M program to improve the prevention, detection, and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund is an Australian Government initiative, administered by the Department of Health and Ageing (the department), designed to improve the prevention, detection, and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to contribute to the Government’s target of closing the gap in life expectancy within a generation.
The current gap in life expectancy is estimated at 11.5 years for males and 9.7 years for females. Chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer) are the major causes of mortality, and 70% of the gap in health outcomes is due to chronic disease.
Reducing the burden of chronic disease requires effective delivery of prevention programs and a comprehensive, well-coordinated primary health care system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund is helping to build a health system that meets the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, providing support to both Indigenous-specific health services and general practices.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund was established in the 2011 Budget and came into operation on 1 July 2011. Following a consultation period from September to October 2011, the Department of Health and Ageing has developed these guidelines to set out the arrangements for the administration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund.
The objective and priorities for the Fund are consistent with those of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package.
The primary objective is to improve the prevention, detection and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to increase life expectancy. The three priority areas targeted are:
- Tackling chronic disease risk factors – to reduce the key risk factors that contribute to chronic disease such as smoking, poor nutrition, obesity and lack of exercise, and deliver prevention programs and community education initiatives to reduce the prevalence of these risk factors in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.
- Primary health care services that can deliver – to improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to best practice chronic disease management and follow-up care by general practices and Indigenous health services.
- Fixing the gaps and improving the patient journey – to build the capacity of the primary health care workforce to increase the use of health services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with, or at risk of developing, chronic disease.
The Total Value of funds available under the Fund is $833.27 million over the four years ending 30 June 2015.
This amount includes funding that has been committed to the existing activities that were consolidated into the Fund as well as additional funding of 2.5% per annum to reflect the growth in the Indigenous population. The Australian Government will continue to provide additional funding of 2.5% per annum to reflect the growth in the Indigenous population thereafter. This will maintain the real per capita funding level for health care provision.
The aim of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund is to improve the prevention, detection, and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to increase life expectancy and contribute to the Government’s target of closing the gap in life expectancy within a generation.
The majority of the funding for this Fund relates to programs from the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package. Implementation of the initiatives from the package will continue in line with the Commonwealth’s Implementation Plan and the Government’s commitments under the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. Consolidation of the funding will provide additional flexibility to respond to changing needs and priorities.
The Government has allocated some $834 million over the next four years to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund.
Activities to be supported under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund include those currently supported under:
- Indigenous Chronic Disease Package:
- National Action to Reduce Indigenous Smoking Rates
- Helping Indigenous Australians Reduce Their Risk of Chronic Disease
- Local Indigenous Community Campaigns to Promote Better Health
- Subsidising PBS Medicine Co-payments
- Supporting Primary Care Providers to Coordinate Chronic Disease Management – Care Coordination and Supplementary Services Measure
- Improving Indigenous Participation in Health Care Through Chronic Disease Self Management
- Increasing Specialist and Allied Health Follow-up Care
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Workforce Education and Training
- Expanding the Outreach and Service Capacity of Indigenous Health Organisations
- Engaging Divisions of General Practice to Improve Indigenous Access to Mainstream Primary Care
- Attracting More People to Work in Indigenous Health
- Clinical Practice Guidelines – Primary Health Care Resource
- Rheumatic Fever Strategy – National Coordination Unit
- Closing the Gap: Improving Eye and Ear Health Services for Indigenous Australians for Better Education and Employment Outcomes – training of Aboriginal Health Workers in ear health and monitoring and screening.
- project activities/items that will be considered eligible;
- any funding caps (minimum and/or maximum limits);
- any restrictions on Start/End dates for activity, for example all projects must be completed within the stated Financial Year/s;
- any restrictions around whether funding will be provided only for new or additional work; and
- any restrictions on when funding must be expended by, for example, all funding will be available from