Capacity Building for Aboriginal Medical Services and Service Providers

‘To community, for community, by community’

Everywhen’s approach utilises a co-designed model incorporating audit, analysis, and the design of purposeful, place-based strategies, to build capability for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers.

Everywhen uses all sources of information to gain an accurate understanding of the AMS and ACCHO environment, particularly from a funding and service delivery perspective. We work across all operations including infrastructure and systems, governance (clinical and structural) and risk, workforce, service design and funding, program management, community participation and engagement.

Comprehensive analysis and benchmarking results in a clear plan to increase capacity to improve performance and deliver higher quality results to community.

Co-designing strategies that enable high performance

Everywhen was approached by a large QLD based PHN to work with their commissioned Aboriginal service providers around capacity building and strategy development. The intent was to strengthen partnerships and understand the barriers and enablers to effective service delivery. As two of these providers were Aboriginal Medical services, Everywhen utilised their own bespoke diagnostic tool (Capacity health check) to measure health service effectiveness across four primary operational areas.

Our methodology involved a three-step process that enabled clear points of engagement, impact and value across:

  • Audit
  • Analysis
  • Strategy development

An exploratory audit, undertaken in a collaborative manner working closely with providers, helped inform our understanding of the presence and effectiveness of operational variables that supported performance. A gap analysis enabled us to understand current state of operational effectiveness against an optimal future state, and prioritise need accordingly. We then co-designed purpose-built strategies to address identified gaps and enable service providers to understand what needed to be put into place to create greater operational effectiveness.

Key frameworks and National policy documents providing overarching direction and guidance to the governing and operational environment of the Aboriginal health sector include:

  • National and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (and Implementation Plan) 2013-2023 (Department of Health)
  • Cultural Respect Framework 2016–2026 (Department of Health)
  • National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care)
  • Aboriginal Health Performance Framework 2020 (AIHW)

Our strategies acknowledged the fundamental need to ensure AMS’s are supported in their roles to provide safe, accessible, comprehensive and holistic primary health care.

Everywhen understands intergenerational trauma and the need for healing when co-designing enduring solutions for the health sector

We recognise the power and strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultures for healing. Ancient cultural knowledge and practices address trauma, and restore and sustain holistic wellbeing. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people cultural activity and a connectedness to country is where the healing journey begins. Enabling opportunities for trauma-informed healing to take place ensures ancestral memory, cultural narratives and traditional methods are recognised, and the complexities of the whole person, community and culture is embraced and supported.

To all of this, we acknowledged that holistic health care – provided through service providers operating at high levels of excellence – is key to driving economic opportunity and self-determination for Aboriginal communities.

Increasing opportunities for ‘on country’ health and well-being

Everywhen is committed to delivering usable resources to enable assessment to help inform decision making. The specially designed frameworks are best used to provide structure to explain programs and guide direction – better positioning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers for future funding and commissioning opportunities – accessing best practice methods and practices.

Tangible outcomes included:

  1. Employment pathway – focussing on the attraction, recruitment, and retention of quality employees. This framework can be used to become an employer of choice, and ensure a sophisticated structure is embedded within the organisation to develop its most important assets.
  2. Procurement models – provision of procurement models from an organisational and operational perspective provides a more robust procurement process, resulting in improved business and health outcomes.
  3. Service delivery models – creating a better way to deliver services, informed by the end user. Stepped process to understand the guiding principles, develop a vision for what services should look like, review policies and procedures, design the new service delivery model, test model.
  4. Data management models – strategy documentation outlining processes and procedures ensures data takes its place within the organisation to provide evidence and facts that will inform decision making. Having data control enables power to be re-established and used to capitalise on future funding opportunities.
  5. Continuous improvement models – establishing and embedding a feedback loop and continuous improvement structure will ensure real time feedback is delivered accurately and effectively for decisions to then be made on what improvements are required.
  6. Project management models – providing the required structure around programs and projects to ensure good governance and enable benefit realisation.
  7. Risk management models – adapted and tailored to suit each individual program requirment to ensure risks are sufficiently identified, assessed, and managed. Enables quality reporting and risk mitigation to be accomplished.
  8. Leadership development models – including development, quality and attraction and retention. Developing leaders can be established by creating a clear and accessible pathway. This is a critical step in retaining and developing key personnel that will continue to advance the organisation and enable it to continue delivering high quality outcomes to community.
  9. Governance model of health – a guide to inform decisions regarding good and effective governance for health programs.
  10. Identity models – the operation of multi-service providers and the need for co-ordinated funding of services that support the social determinants of health.
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website makes every effort to respect cultural traditions and protocols. First Nations readers are advised content may contain images, voices, videos and names of people who have passed away.

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and First Nations, Traditional Custodians of Australia’s lands and waterways. We also acknowledge the dispossession of First Nations people from their lands, the dispersal and relocation of communities, the erosion of traditional customs and languages, and the removal of children from their families, have resulted in the disconnection of generations of families from their traditional homelands, languages and culture.

We pay our respect to Elders of the past, those of the present and those of the future for they hold the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people