Supporting black lives ‘mattering’ with flexible health care

14 September 2020

Black lives ‘mattering’ should mean intrinsically supporting feasible healthcare options for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This requires reimagining outmoded, ‘neo‐colonial’ type models of care with implicit prejudice in hospital emergency departments (EDs). Equitably serving the needs of vulnerable cohorts like First Nations people that currently suffer most from lack of access to suitable healthcare is incumbent on government and society. To ‘close the gap’ for Aboriginal people, flexible treatment options should be designed with and for indigenous communities; developing models of care that will improve Aboriginal patient's attendance and completion of treatment in emergency departments. Flexiclinic, jointly developed by the Aboriginal Liaison Service and St Vincent's Hospital ED has developed such an innovative model. Since its recent inception, it has already shown enormous benefits, both in promoting equitable access and improving the health and welfare of Aboriginal patients who are receiving ongoing and quality care.