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Indigenous child health checks: the view from the city

Justin J Coleman, Geoffrey K Spurling, Deborah A Askew and Noel E Hayman
Med J Aust 2011; 194 (10): 535-536.

To the Editor: The Medicare item for annual child health checks (CHCs) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders involves taking a comprehensive health-related history from the antenatal period onwards, recording growth parameters, performing a medical examination, identifying new diagnoses and commencing management, which may include advice, referral, vaccinations and treatment. The CHC has had little evaluation as a primary health care tool in the urban setting; indeed, outside remote regions, it has barely been taken out of the toolbox. Although 76% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in urban or regional areas,1 we are unaware of any published research on CHCs outside remote areas. We therefore aimed to evaluate the role of the CHC for 0–14-year-olds at Inala Indigenous Health Service, an urban primary care service in a suburb of Brisbane.

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  • Justin J Coleman1,2
  • Geoffrey K Spurling1,2
  • Deborah A Askew1,2
  • Noel E Hayman2,3

  • 1 Discipline of General Practice, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Inala Indigenous Health Service, Queensland Health, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 3 School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.


  • 1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Population distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006. Canberra: ABS, 2007. (ABS Cat. No. 4705.0.) http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/ ProductsbyCatalogue/14E7A4A075D53A6CCA2569450007E4 6C?OpenDocument (accessed Feb 2011).
  • 2. Primary Health Care Research and Information Service. Divisions Information Online System: Indicator calculator. Indicator DGPP Access 2: The number of health checks and health assessments provided to patients of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin by general practitioners within the Division (compared to the estimated ATSI population in the area who could benefit from the health check). http://www.phcris.org.au/dios/displayReport 0809.php?pageDst=view (accessed Feb 2011).
  • 3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Department of Health and Ageing. Progress of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Child Health Check Initiative: final report on results from the Child Health Check and follow-up data collections. Canberra: AIHW, 2009. (AIHW Cat. No. IHW 28.)
  • 4. Russell L. Indigenous health checks; a failed policy in need of scrutiny. Sydney: Menzies Centre for Health Policy, 2010.
  • 5. Adams M. Mr Rudd today is the day to sign [media release]. 10 Dec 2007. Canberra: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, 2007. http://www.naccho.org.au/Files/Documents/Media_Release_re_International_Human_Rights_Day_10122007.pdf (accessed Apr 2011).

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