Cultural safety in healthcare regulation
The NSW Health Professional Councils, Health Professional Councils Authority and regulatory system exist for the benefit and protection of the NSW community. We acknowledge that Aboriginal people have, and continue to, suffer disproportionate levels of disadvantage, including in health outcomes.
The significant impact of colonisation on Aboriginal people, families, and communities, directly contributes to the health disparities experienced by many Aboriginal people. Racism, at individual and institutional levels, remains one of the main drivers of poorer health outcomes for Aboriginal people. As health regulators, we acknowledge that Aboriginal people experience barriers to accessing culturally safe healthcare and that this can result in substandard care.
The Councils and HPCA have a unique role to play in supporting improved experiences for Aboriginal patients, practitioners, and communities. This is what we aim to achieve through our joint NSW Health Professional Councils and Health Professional Councils Authority Aboriginal Cultural Safety Strategy.
Definition of cultural safety
We use the definition of cultural safety set out in the National Scheme’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020-2025, which was developed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and National Boards:
"Cultural safety is determined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities.
Culturally safe practice is the ongoing critical reflection of health practitioner knowledge, skills, attitudes, practising behaviours and power differentials in delivering safe, accessible and responsive healthcare free of racism."
The NSW Health Professional Councils and HPCA Aboriginal Cultural Safety Strategy
The joint NSW Health Professional Councils and HPCA Aboriginal Cultural Safety Strategy aims to improve the experiences of Aboriginal people who interact with the NSW healthcare and regulatory system through:
- Strengthening cultural safety within the NSW regulatory system.
- Increasing the participation of Aboriginal people on Councils, in the HPCA workforce, and in the NSW regulatory system.
- Collaborating with our stakeholders to promote best practice in cultural safety, led by the expertise and experiences of Aboriginal people.
The Strategy was developed by the Councils and HPCA Aboriginal Cultural Safety Working Group. The group is comprised of members of the Councils, community members, and representatives from the Ministry of Health's Centre for Aboriginal Health. The Group comprises 50% Aboriginal membership and the Strategy is informed by their generously shared expertise, lived experience and knowledge.