A partnership between TAFE Digital and GP Synergy has seen the delivery of a nationally accredited Diploma of Practice Management for Aboriginal Medical Services for employees within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).

Aimed to support First Nations professionals in ACCHO management, TAFE Digital customised the Diploma of Practice Management to follow the needs of practice managers within Aboriginal Medical Services. The diploma hopes to drive positive movement towards equality in the health disparity between First Nations and non-First Nations peoples.

GP Synergy Aboriginal Cultural Education Unit Manager, Anthony Paulson, said the program empowers employees to have confidence within their organisations.

“It provides the ability and the skills … for them to have confidence in the roles they hold as practice managers,” Mr Paulson said.

The diploma provides management and administrative skills that can be implemented across communities and extended to other sectors.

“It’s delivered with Aboriginal people, TAFE has worked really closely with us and the partnership makes everyone feel very special when they’re learning and it’s about making them feel comfortable in that environment.”

In its fifth year, next year the diploma will see the 100th graduate mark.

“We are incredibly honoured to have provided training to some well-known graduates who are happy to share their practice management journey with current trainees,” Mr Paulson said.

Two such graduates are Karl Briscoe and Lisa Orcher, who Mr Paulson said set a “tremendous example” and inspire current students.

Karl Briscoe is the current CEO of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association in Canberra, and Lisa Orcher is CEO at Tobwabba Aboriginal Medical Service in Forster, NSW.

“TAFE Digital staff work very closely with GP Syndicate Aboriginal Cultural Education Unit, all of the staff from that unit have had previous experience in the ACCHO sector and are all Aboriginal people themselves, so they understand the localised cultural issues that may present,” Mr Paulson said.

“What we do try to do is not focus on such localised issues, but bring them back in around how they operate within the context of their services, so reframing the lenses they view those issues through.

“A lot of the communities have a lot of similar issues and strengths so it’s about [the students] using their services and understanding what they can use from their qualifications and skills from the course.”

This year GP Synergy and TAFE NSW Campbelltown’s Aboriginal Unit partnered to deliver the ‘Away from Base’ program which assists participants with financial support for expenses such as travel.

“That was a huge assistance in the delivery that took on the cost, and some of the expenses around travel, meals and accommodation.

“Previously GP Synergy was paying for those services … now that we are partnered strongly and the campus has come on board, it has almost halved the cost of delivery which is a huge saving on our behalf and this can be further administered into the ACCHO sector in other areas,” Mr Paulson said.

For more information on the Diploma of Practice Management, visit: https://gpsynergy.com.au/training-programs/diploma-of-practice-management-for-amss/.

By Rachael Knowles