Implementing Indigenous community control in health care: lessons from Canada

Josee Lavoie, Judith Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective. Over past decades, Australian and Canadian Indigenous primary healthcare policies have focused on supporting community controlled Indigenous health organisations. After more than 20 years of sustained effort, over 89% of eligible communities in Canada are currently engaged in the planning, management and provision of community controlled health services. In Australia, policy commitment to community control has also been in place for more than 25 years, but implementation has been complicated by unrealistic timelines, underdeveloped change management processes, inflexible funding agreements and distrust. This paper discusses the lessons from the Canadian experience to inform the continuing efforts to achieve the implementation of community control in Australia. Methods. We reviewed Canadian policy and evaluation grey literature documents, and assessed lessons and recommendations for relevance to the Australian context. Results. Our analysis yielded three broad lessons. First, implementing community control takes time. It took Canada 20 years to achieve 89% implementation. To succeed, Australia will need to make a firm long term commitment to this objective. Second, implementing community control is complex. Communities require adequate resources to support change management. And third, accountability frameworks must be tailored to the Indigenous primary health care context to be meaningful. Conclusions. We conclude that although the Canadian experience is based on a different context, the processes and tools created to implement community control in Canada can help inform the Australian context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-458
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Health Review
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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