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Reports indicate that changes are needed to close the gap for Indigenous health

Major changes in health services are needed to redress health disparities

Two recently released reports from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) make it clear that there must be major changes in the way health services for Indigenous Australians are delivered and funded if we are to improve Indigenous health and health care and ensure real returns on the substantial investments that are being made.1,2

These reports show Australia’s level of financial commitment to Indigenous health. In the 2010–11 financial year total spending on Indigenous health was $4.552 billion,1 almost double that spent in 2004–05. This was $7995 for every Indigenous Australian, compared with $5437 for every non-Indigenous Australian;1 over 90% of this funding came from governments. The surest sign that this money was not well invested in prevention, early intervention and community services is that most of it (on average $3266 per person but $4779 per person in remote areas) was spent on services for patients admitted to hospitals, while spending on Medicare services…