Purro Birik - 12

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Purro Birik - (Healthy Spirit)



5.5 Workforce Development Issues


Workforce development issues were raised consistently throughout the consultations. The main issues were that:


  • mainstream health services often fail to acknowledgment the skills and knowledge of Koori health workers, resulting in second rate outcomes;

  • burnout is a major issue for Koori health workers, due to poor access to debriefing, lack of supervision, isolation from other similar workers, and lack of role clarification;

  • some Koori communities lack confidence in Koori health workers as a result of inadequate training and inappropriate handling of confidential information;

  • there are limited opportunities to recruit young Koori community members into social, emotional and cultural wellbeing work - this adds to the difficulty in engaging young people to be more health conscious and to address youth health issues; and

  • community expectation in some instances places Koori health workers in the position of trying to respond to community needs beyond their resource capacity. This often leads to burnout.


5.6 Capability of Koori Health Services


This grouping of issues raised in consultations relates to services that are not provided as well as they could be, due to funding, organisational or training constraints.


Inevitably, poorer health outcomes for communities are a consequence of services having limited capacities for: early intervention; health promotion and prevention strategies; support and respite for carers, siblings and/or children of people in distress; access to culturally sensitive supported accommodation; and support for people experiencing grief and loss. A number of the consultations identified an urgent need to address the capability of Koori health services to provide these type of services more effectively.


Also raised in the context of issues that influence service capability were: case load size; workers not being replaced when they take leave (which is particularly significant in small services); lack of resources for ongoing education and training of Koori health workers in social, emotional and cultural wellbeing issues; and the shortage of Koori clinically trained mental health workers.


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