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Consultation Draft - Working with patients from migrant and refugee backgrounds

The Migrant Women’s Health Partnership (MRWHP) brings together consultation groups, with the goal of developing a policy framework and specific strategies to improve the health outcomes for women from migrant communities.

In response to Australia’s cultural diversity and changing demographics, the MRWHP has been tasked with designing strategies to support health care systems, and to ensure women from migrant communities have equal access to health services.

The Partnership (launched in November 2016) consists of several collaborative Working Groups that draw on representatives from health care and community services. These representatives include clinicians, health educators, community agencies, government, interpreters and standards setting organisations. 

The Consultation Draft for the Competency Standards Framework, Culturally responsive clinical practice: Working with patients from migrant and refugee backgrounds has been now been released. Comment and submissions are invited. 

Why is there a problem?

There is a need to address evidence of inequality. Although women can have varying health history before settlement, there is a significant decrease in the average health of all migrant women in the years after arriving in Australia.  

Migrant woman generally arrive in Australia with good health, which contrasts to the experience of refugee woman. Prior to arriving in Australia, refugees may be suffering from the impacts of traumatic events, loss, hardship, or a lack of access to health care.   

The overall decline in the health of migrant women in the years after migration, shows there is opportunity to improve access to health care and  health outcomes. This positive impact flows-on to the wider community . 

NAATI CEO, Mark Painting, is contributing on the Effective Communication and Interpreting Standards Sub-Working Group. This group supports the Partnership in developing good practice minimum standards for effective communication with patients and consumers from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Feedback on the Consultation Draft

Feedback is welcomed from communities, networks and interested parties, on all sections of the consultation draft; working with interpreters, the wider framework, the explanatory notes and the glossary. 

Guidelines for providing feedback are on the first page of the attached document, and the deadline for the consultation is Tuesday 15 May 2018.

Which standards apply to interpreters?

The standards that specifically relate to effective communication and working with interpreters are:

  1. Standard 3;
  2. Standard 4;
  3. Standard 7;
  4. Standard 8 (Specifically 8.4 and 8.5); and
  5. Standard 11.
  6. The Annex: Practice points when working with interpreters, forms an integral part of the framework. Once the framework is finalised, the standards and Annex will form a stand-alone document for clinicians working with interpreters.

All standards are accompanied by explanatory notes.

Links and more information

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Download the Consultation Draft Document

Migrant Women's Health Partnership

By Jenna Gray 


Published: 28/03/2018