A report showing 1600 Indigenous children have waited an average of more than two years for specialist ear disease care in the Northern Territory shows Federal Indigenous Minister Jenny Macklin has failed to help Aboriginal people on every level, the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion says.
“A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found the average waiting time between referral and service was 14.3 months for audiology services and 24.5 months for ear, nose and throat services.
“Indigenous children are at greater risk of having serious hearing impairments, but they wait for two years to have any hearing loss fixed.
“That is just the average – some would be waiting more and this is just tragic,” Senator Scullion said.
“No wonder Aboriginal children aren’t going to school – they would get frustrated with not hearing classes properly and not being able to take in everything they were meant to be learning.
“The Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory report showed our intervention measures could work and were wanted, but this Labor Government has sat on its hands for four years, and let education and health slip backwards.
“A health check on all children was the first part of the intervention, but still children struggle to get help for a basic necessity of life – being able to hear what is happening in the world around you.
“As the old saying goes, ‘What do you have if you don’t have your health?’ Not much.
“What a sad state of affairs that we found ourselves stuck in the same situation that we were in four years ago,” Senator Scullion said.
Media contact Russel Guse – 0438 685645.
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Indigenous Health has bad diagnosis thanks to Labor.pdf