Ensuring your practice is culturally appropriate

6 February 2019

Ensuring your practice is culturally appropriate


Do you find it hard to ask your patients about their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status?  The information in this article may help your practice team to appropriately and confidently ask for this information.

Our latest CESPHN Polar Benchmark Review indicates that many of our practices are still reluctant to record this information. Our average score across the whole of the CESPHN region in December was around 79.07 per cent. 

According to the RACGP 5th Edition Standards Core Standard 7.1 E Our practice routinely records the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status of our patients in their patient health record. You must document the patient’s Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status in patient health records”.

In many General Practices, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status is collected at the front desk as a patient is filling out the new patient demographic details form, or when you routinely update patient demographics. Sometimes the question is left blank and not followed up. The RACGP 5th Edition Standard notes “It is good practice to record this information in the patient health record if it is relevant to their patient care.” Therefore, it may be more appropriate to collect this information during a consultation.

If you or your practice team need support on how to appropriately discuss this with your patients, you may find the following links useful:

If your practice would like to improve care and access for your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients, please contact the Practice Support team for many useful resources and recommendations or to develop quality improvement activities for your practice contact the PCMN team: d.scandol@cesphn or c.scardilli@cesphn.com.au.

Please note that the Indigenous Health Incentive will not be changing in May 2019.