Aboriginal Health Services in Australia

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) are an integral part of the Australian health system, putting Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands.

Funded by both State and Australian Governments, ACCHSs are primary health care services initiated and operated by local Aboriginal communities.

They deliver holistic, comprehensive and culturally appropriate health care to the communities that control them, via locally elected Boards of Management.

ACCHSs have been around since the early 1970s and provide around three million episodes of care each year for about 350,000 people. In very remote areas, their services provided around one million episodes of care in 2015-16.

There are currently around 141 ACCHSs in Australia, including 12 in South Australia. Collectively, ACCHSs across Australia employs around 6000 staff, including 3300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, making them the largest employer of Indigenous people in Australia.

Aboriginal clients trust ACCHSs with their health. Studies have shown that Aboriginal controlled health services are 23% better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal clients than mainstream providers, and are more effective at improving Indigenous health.

Services provided by ACCHSs include home and site visits, provision of medical, health and health promotion services, allied health, nursing services, assistance with making appointments and transport, help access child care or dealing with the justice system, drug and alcohol services, and providing help with income support.

The Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA) is the peak body representing ACCHSs in this state.

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is the national peak body representing ACCHSs across Australia on Aboriginal health and wellbeing issues.

NACCHO’s Secretariat in Canberra enables Aboriginal peoples involved in ACCHSs to participate in national health policy development.

For further information about Aboriginal health services across Australia and in South Australia, visit the NACCHO and AHCSA websites.


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