Cultural safety leads to improved care and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. The level of cultural safety comes from the delivery of training and ongoing self-reflection by all staff in the health care system.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission ) is committed to ongoing and evolving culturally safe practices, which are developed in consultation with, and determined by, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

To this end, the Commission is keen to understand the type and extent of training in cultural safety being undertaken by health service organisations.
Action 1.21 states  ‘The health service organisation has strategies to improve the cultural awareness and cultural competency of the workforce to meet the needs of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients’.

Workforce training has been identified by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as an effective, safe and positive strategy. Evidence supports this approach.

You are invited to complete this short survey on cultural safety training in your health service organisation.  It should take you no more than 10 minutes to complete.  The information will be used to understand current practice and to develop resources to support future training by health service organisations.

Deidentified survey results will be collated and published on the Commission's website.

Sea urchin design: Ms Tanya Taylor is a Worimi artist (mid-north coast of New South Wales) who is drawn to the underwater world through a deep connection with her saltwater heritage. Tanya’s design is inspired by the patterns found in the sea urchins, corals and sea creatures found in the ocean.
The Commission uses the following definition of cultural safety:

Identifies that health consumers are safest when health professionals have considered power relations, cultural differences and patients’ rights. Part of this process requires health professionals to examine their own realities, beliefs and attitudes. Cultural safety is not defined by the health professional, but is defined by the health consumer’s experience—the individual’s experience of care they are given, ability to access services and to raise concerns. The essential features of cultural safety are:
  a) An understanding of one’s culture

  b) An acknowledgment of difference, and a requirement that caregivers are actively mindful and respectful of difference(s)

  c)  It is informed by the theory of power relations; any attempt to  depoliticise cultural safety is to miss the point

  d) An appreciation of the historical context of colonisation, the practices of racism at individual and institutional levels, and their impact on First Nations people’s living and wellbeing, both in the present and past

  e)  Its presence or absence is determined by the experience of the recipient of care and not defined by the caregiver.1

[1] National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee of the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (2016). Cultural respect framework 2016-2026 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Canberra, AHMAC.
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