The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed a user guide to ensure health providers provide safe and high-quality health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.

The Commission has identified six actions to help address the inequities in access and care experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve health outcomes. These actions were defined following a comprehensive consultation process. Their implementation will help position the health system to provide all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the culturally safe and clinically responsive health care they need.

This user guide provides practical strategies and examples on how to implement these six actions in health and mental health service organisations. The NSQHS Standards User Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health also outlines the principles and standards for use by Commissioning and Broker agencies including the Primary Health Networks in all future commissioning contracts to ensure that all organisations adhere to the six actions outlined below in the delivery of programs and services.

Table 1: The six actions in the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards that focus specifically on meeting the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Standard Action
Partnering with Consumers Standard 2.13 The health service organisation works in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to meet their healthcare needs
Clinical Governance Standard 1.2 The governing body ensures that the organisation’s safety and quality priorities address the specific health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
1.4 The health service organisation implements and monitors strategies to meet the organisation’s safety and quality priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
1.21 The health service organisation has strategies to improve the cultural awareness and cultural competency of the workforce to meet the needs of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
1.33 The health service organisation demonstrates a welcoming environment that recognises the importance of cultural beliefs and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Comprehensive Care Standard 5.8 The health service organisation has processes to routinely ask patients if they identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, and to record this information in administrative and clinical information systems