Under-identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in mainstream health services and national health data sets is a major barrier in achieving health equality. Asking the Question is one step in helping rectify that imbalance.

Why it’s important to ask the question

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians experience significantly worse life expectancy than non-indigenous Australians.

Asking the Question is an initiative for enabling and empowering Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians as part of the Federal Government’s Closing the Gap strategy.

Resources and support are available to provide general practice staff with skills and knowledge in how to ask patients whether they identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. In turn, this enables clinicians to direct those patients to additional services to which they may be entitled.

What to do if a patient identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Medical practitioners can undertake the Medicare Health Assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (MBS item 715) upon receiving consent.

The assessment includes:

  • information collection for patient history
  • an examination
  • overall assessment
  • development of recommendations
  • information on appropriate interventions.

A written record of the report may also be provided to the patient.

See also PIP Indigenous Health Incentive.

Asking the Question resources

More information

Contact Western Victoria PHN’s Indigenous Heath Project Officer Adam Muir

Last modified: 19 March, 2020