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Ahpra and the National Boards will implement a culturally safe notification process as part of their commitment to eliminate racism from healthcare.

The process will involve a minimum of two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, practitioners from each of the relevant professions and community members making decisions about matters concerning culturally safe healthcare and racism in line with the legislation governing health practitioners in Australia.

The Indigenous experts will make decisions with other Board representatives about any notification involving Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples. In the most serious matters, this will include decisions about whether to refer a practitioner to an independent Tribunal.

The arrangement comes after Ahpra, the National Boards and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group advocated to enshrine cultural safety as a guiding principle and objective for the National Scheme, which was adopted as a legislative amendment to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law in October.

The creation of a culturally safe notification process is considered to be a major milestone in the implementation of the National Scheme, and Ahpra and the National Boards have said they will continue to work closely with Indigenous health leaders to implement the five-year strategy.

Ahpra has also publicly committed to ensuring that cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples receiving healthcare is the norm but, as an agency, acknowledges that it still has much to learn, change and to take action on.

On the new culturally safe notification process, Optometry Australia CEO Skye Cappuccio said: ‘The delivery of culturally safe care is an essential requirement for the optometry profession and other healthcare services in Australia, and this newly implemented process further reinforces this.

‘Achieving cultural safety in healthcare requires a continual and dedicated effort from healthcare services to gain a deep understanding of the unique needs and practices of First Nations communities, and incorporating this knowledge into the delivery of care.

‘This is why we partnered with Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) to offer their Cultural Responsive Training to all our members, and to support the optometry profession to provide readily accessible, culturally safe and responsive care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This allocation will expire at the end of June, so we urge all members to complete this valuable training as soon as possible.’

To find out more about the new culturally safe notification process, visit the National Indigenous Times here.

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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Optometry Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.