The gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people is a well-documented priority area for both National and State Governments. Within Queensland Health there are many excellent cultural capability programs that provide a wide range of resources for each Hospital and Health Service (HHS) to improve services. As the front door to the hospital, Emergency Departments (EDs) are central to how a health service is perceived and can ‘set the scene’ for the entire health journey.
Through a grassroots approach, a multidisciplinary group of like-minded clinicians formed the Cairns ED Cultural Safety Working Group (CSWG), and have collaborated to achieve remarkable improvements in the cultural safety of the Cairns Hospital ED.
The TECS initiative has attempted to capture the key messages of the Cairns CSWG in a resource pack, which creates a starting place for other EDs to begin their journey of change. Utilising these resources effectively requires the establishment of a core group of passionate clinicians The essence of what has been achieved in Cairns is strongly focused on being able to identify and respond to local issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and staff as they occur.
The recommendations developed for TECS include examples of specific actions that a local ED team could choose to undertake, and align with the following three domains.
- demonstrating Respect based on Increased Understanding
- building Relationships
- understanding Reciprocity and Creating Opportunities
The intention is to establish a network of ED specific cultural safety groups under the Queensland Emergency Department Strategic Advisory Panel (QEDSAP) to provide an ongoing avenue through which local members can share ideas and collaborate at a state-wide level.