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Abbott backs Indigenous health deal

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 22 November 2003


Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has overseen the signing of a memorandum of understanding between general practitioners and Aboriginal health authorities at a forum in Brisbane this morning.

It is hoped the new partnership will address the inequities in the delivery of primary health care to Indigenous communities.

The head of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, Henry Councillor, says the memorandum is a huge step forward in getting Aboriginal people to go to their GP.

"Hopefully in the next 12 months there will be evidence on the ground," he said.

Mr Abbott agrees change is needed.

"Mainstream medical services have not been sufficiently culturally sensitive in many cases," he said.

The Minister was also in town to promote the Government's new Medicare Plus policy.

It is the first time the $2.4 billion Medicare overhaul has been taken to doctors, and the chairman of the National Divisions of General Practice, Dr Rob Walters, says it is looking promising.

"This package has been much more favourably received by doctors in general," Dr Walters said.

The Government wants the package passed by the Senate next week.


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