The NSW Government has today advised ACON that it will invest up to $3.5 million in the development of a Health Centre that provides health care, support and referral services to LGBTIQ+ people in NSW.
ACON will start work with an initial Grant of up to $500,000 to complete more detailed feasibility and planning work for the Centre. Following this work, further funding of up to $3 million will be provided to see the establishment of a multidisciplinary Health Centre, providing much needed services to LGBTIQ+ people and their families across the State.
The Health Centre will be the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Through the Centre, ACON will seek to partner with research bodies to strengthen evidence around effective health service provision and interventions that assist LGBTIQ+ people to take control of their health, and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
The NSW Government has also committed to the development of an LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy, scheduled for completion by December 2019.
In welcoming this commitment, ACON Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Parkhill said: “ACON is very appreciative of this cautious, but important commitment. We commit ourselves to ensuring we consult with our communities, potential other partners and stakeholders to ensure we can establish the Centre.
“Our vision for this Health Centre is that LGBTIQ+ people feel safe, understood and included as they seek health care. Through the establishment of a multi-disciplinary, community driven health service, we know we can make a meaningful contribution to addressing the significant gaps in health service delivery for LGBTIQ+ people and their families.
“When LGBTIQ+ people try to access health care in NSW, our data is not collected in the health system. Often, our specific needs are not well understood by health professionals. We have been advocating for change, and while supportive policy statements have been made, often these are not being translated into action, and comparatively little research funding is allocated to developing the evidence for the most effective health treatments.
“The huge disparity in mental health rates, among many other areas of health, has not changed in over a decade – and in fact we have some data to suggest this situation is worsening.
“Through the Centre, we aim to directly improve access to care that is appropriate, inclusive and responds to the particular drivers of poorer health outcomes for our communities. That’s why this commitment is important, and we look forward to working with our communities, potential partners and a range of other stakeholders, to see this Centre up and running,” Mr Parkhill said.
“ACON also welcomes a commitment from the NSW Government that the Ministry of Health will work with us, and a range of others in our communities, to develop a comprehensive and inclusive LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy by the end of the year, a critical step towards improving our communities’ health and wellbeing into the future.
“We sincerely thank the Minister for Health, the Hon Brad Hazzard MP for his support of the Health Centre, and also Alex Greenwich MP for his strong advocacy and work with ACON on the Health Centre for some time.
“LGBTIQ+ people deserve a Health Centre that understands and responds to their needs – we look forward to developing a service that will fill a significant gap in the current NSW health system,” Mr Parkhill said.
For more information please contact: David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications
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