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An Exploration of Contemporary Issues of Lack of Culturally Diversity ad Health Gap in Australian HealthCare


This essay explores the cultural safety and competence in health issues present in Australia and New Zealand. To achieve this, the essay presents an analysis of the recent media materials on the current cultural safety and competence in health issues. The essay further links the contemporary issues as presented in the discussed media materials in Australia and New Zealand with those discussed in the course outline and other readings. The report also provided an in-depth explanation of the socio-ethical factors required to produce a culturally safe practice in the health sector.


Culturally safe health service delivery is fundamental in promoting personal empowerment hence, should, therefore, enhance more meaningful and productive pathways to self-determination amongst all individuals. A cultural safety approach is an important aspect in the field of health and care and requires medical practitioners to keep a conscious mind on it. In the present world, cultural safety has been recommended to the health sector in order to provide a method that delivers appropriate or safe cultural care to all persons in need of health services. In regard to a cultural safety approach, culture goes beyond the presumed cultural norms (that is the lifestyle, the world view, learned belief and values guide behaviors) in preference for a way that sees culture as a complex sociopolitical construct that is understood in respect to the experience, history, social position, and gender.

Once the cultural approach is recognized as such, medical practitioners are guided to do more than exhibiting awareness, recognition, and consciousness towards differences in person’s values, beliefs, and practices. The report aims at identifying the cultural safety in health issue or issues by paying attention to media items and linking them to the various models and approaches discussed in the unit. In addition, the report examines how the material might contribute to the current discussion about the issues. Also, it explains the personal position as well as views regarding the presented issue.

In a broad manner, cultural competence in the field of health care represents health care practitioners working with different cultures to achieve outcomes that are safe and acceptable to all on the basis of culture aspects. This incorporates being aware of the contested knowledge, shared responsibilities, empowerment and making use of self-awareness and reflection to build strategies that can be used to maintain the required standards in the health sector. One of the main issues arising in the health care sector is the problem of discrimination, racism, and stigmatization. Such issues have for a long time affected individuals who are of the lower class or the minority group.

In the case of Australia, the Indigenous people have always had the problem of discrimination despite the constant campaigns of equality around the country. Studies have shown that the indigenous groups in Australia are having worse health than most of the individuals around the world. Racism for all its worth affects the health of the indigenous Australians who for a long time have been impacted by the dispossession, insensitivity, and colonization. There is a strong correlation between the experiences of poor health and discrimination/racism. The media has over the years continued to portray overwhelmingly inappropriate stories and images of the minority groups which have been proven to fuel the attitude of racism hence sabotaging positive efforts of maintaining equality in health care (Wilson, Ward & Fischer, 2013).

Media Resource one

Mental health system’s focus on white middle-class Australia’ costs lives

Key issues

The Journal elaborated on a catastrophic scenario where a man had to die because of the incompetence in the medical care sector. The Journal elaborates on how the health practitioners exhibited incompetent behaviours bearing in mind they are the key stakeholders to ensuring safety care for the patients. In accordance with the article, it tells that on the day of the death of the patient in this case named as Martin, the doctor whom the Martin’s issue was handed over to him precipitated highest levels of incompetence. In light of the journal article, it is stated that the doctor despite learning of Martin’s issue of contemplated suicide did not show any efforts to curb the issue. Instead, he went forth and told him that in such a case, then he would only hang there and then life will move on.

Martin’s case of committing suicide is explained further that he was not the only one undergoing the same, rather, the linguistically and culturally diverse communities especially the middle classed individuals in Australia. In addition to the discrimination in the middle class in regard to the provision of standard health care services, other barriers that contributed to the incompetence in Martin’s scenario included lack of cultural training among the healthcare practitioners or workers and shortage of interpreters which lead to miscommunication of health problems or misdiagnosis. In addition to these factors, lack of adequate knowledge by the family members to understand or identify early signs of mental illness was another key issue that stimulated Martin’s.

Links to models and approaches

Studies have proved that people living in remote areas within Australia suffer from poor medical services from the National and local government. Health centres supposed to offer health care to such communities usually lack enough funds, medical practitioners, and facilities to ensure the delivery of top-notch medical services to the community members (Fredericks, 2010). Further studies suggest that lack of significant knowledge by the Society members consequently contributes to the propagation of health issues which stimulate health issues. To overcome this issue, the concerned entities should devise ways to train more medical practitioners and build more centres and purchase medical facilities in remote areas. As such, every other Aboriginal individual will be reached out thus enjoying quality health care services.Also, health professionals should focus on training on learning language diversities which will reduce language barriers.

How the material affects current debate

Dating back to the previous decades, health inequalities and incompetence in health practitioners has been a dominant issue. In addition, poor treatment of the middle Australian population through discrimination or inequalities in health care as well as language barriers that exist due to the existence of a variety of races in Australia has raised alarm in Australia (Tynan, Smullen, Atkinson & Stephens, 2013). Culturally competent in health care for the middle-class Australian people would be appropriate to ensure a great step in achieving equality among the Aborigines and the non-aborigine citizens. In addition, the society members should be trained on key aspects such as skills and knowledge that will help point out signs of mental illness. Medical practitioners in Australia should be well trained on communication, observing and respecting cultural diversity which will ensure that they are immersed in all cultural spaces hence exhibiting top-notch healthcare services.

Media Resource Two

Missed opportunity for cultural diversity in healthcare

Key issues

In this article done by Dr. Lesley Russel provided that Australia is one country that manifests high levels of cultural diversity with an average of one-quarter of its population being born overseas. Lesley writes that the population is made up of over 200 languages with various groups claiming diverse cultural as well as spiritual traditions. For this reason, perception for illness in Australia varies across different cultures. Their culture dictates how, where, and when they seek healthcare as well as their behaviors towards healthcare providers. Healthcare service delivery in Australia has however been facing significant challenges as health organizations have to maintain high levels of cultural safety while offering their services. The issue of lack of appropriate cultural ad communications apts has resulted in hindrance of the patterns and quality of healthcare services leading to adverse outcomes (Russell, 2014).

Links to models and approaches

Various studies provide that not paying attention to the linguistic, cultural, and religious needs of the overall patients can result in some severe outcomes such as misdiagnosis, or even poor patient adherence or compliance to treatment. In more extreme cases, overlooking such aspects would result in discrimination which further precipitates to dissatisfaction and loss of trust by the patient. Studies show that doctors who have been trained on various aspects including proper communication and approaches to diverse cultures usually manifest high levels of professionalism. On the other hand, less trained medical practitioners or overseas trained nurses and doctors are more likely to possess poor professionalism in terms of patient-doctor relationship. In this regard, medical practitioners in Australia should be well trained on communication, observing and respecting cultural diversity which will ensure that they are immersed in all cultural spaces providing them with an edge to manifest top-notch skills and knowledge to cultural safety (Willis & Elmer, 2011).

How the material affect current debate

As Australia continues to hold more and more culturally diverse people including overseas-born and immigrants there calls for immediate initiatives to address the cultural and language needs of the Australian patients particularly the Indigenous patients. As such it will have an impact on the health of the Indigenous people as it will reduce discrimination, tribalism, embarrassment, stereotypes, or any other culturally unsafe practice.

Media Resource Three

The Indigenous health gap: Social factors hit hard

Key issues

This article provides the link between ear infections, incarceration and overcrowded housing between health and social issues in the Aboriginal population. According to the material, the life expectancy for the general population in Australia ranges from an average of 82 years. However, this is not the case for an Indigenous population whose average expectancy is estimated to be ten-year lower than that of the non-Indigenous Australians. The article further suggests that while all have access to the same amenities, the primary issues, therefore, lie on the social determinants of health (Corporation, 2015).

It is stated that factors such as access to affordable housing, income, age, stress, transport and race which have a significant impact on the risk of non-communicable chronic illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes among others. Indigenous populations are therefore affected by such factors than the rest of the populations which bring about the health gap between the two groups. Further, the article provides that crowded houses and ear infections be some of the common issues that one can point out regarding the social determinants. In addition, the issue of racism intensifies on the detriment through impacting on stress (Corporation, 2015).

Links to models and approaches

Studies show that access to quality healthcare services is largely dictated by the level of income, the class, age, race, and even type of housing. To ensure that every member of the larger population gets a share of the integrated medical care, it is important that concerned entities develop and implement policy frameworks that incorporated social determinants at its core (Woods, 2010). With such issues being addressed, the health gap between the two groups will have been curbed with reducing inequalities in health care.

How the material affect current debate

There has been an ongoing debate on frameworks that could improve Aboriginals life expectancy as well as improve chronic diseases. Various frameworks have been implemented, and indicators show that school participation, training in communication skills, more employment, and improved housing among other aspects have been geared to enhance those portfolio areas where the required targets are not being met (Butow & Baile, 2012).

Media Resource Four

The next big problem facing aged care: How to talk to the culturally diverse patients

Key Issues

Regarding the article, it provides that the about 30 percent of the population above 65 years will be from culturally diverse backgrounds in the year 2030. The increase in the demand and supply of language skills in the field of healthcare will lead to the old people not getting the desired choices as well as control needed to meet basic needs. Some of the population have low English literacy which jeopardizes delivery of appropriate medical care. The sector needs to reassure the aged individuals of better healthcare as they are becoming old hence more prone to falls, and other misfortunes. The increased cases of mismatch between languages spoken by the old patients and the health staff are posing a risk to the dissemination of healthcare services to the old persons (Lee, 2016).

Links to models and approaches

In regard to a number of studies conducted in the healthcare sector, it is provided that to ensure that there is effective provision of quality health care to the larger population, there is the need to make sure that is proper communication between the two parties that is the patient and health practitioner (Bischoff & Denhaerynck, 2010). Some studies hold that there have cases of misdiagnosis or misunderstandings during provision of healthcare services which arise as a result of the communication barrier. To rectify the issue, health practitioners need to be offered with the appropriate language and communication skills thus positively impacting on health activities to the aged persons (Hacker et al. 2012).

How the material affect current debate

The government in conjunction with the health organizations have been considering the increase cases of migration patterns, aged population trends and the arrival of new groups in Australia which has increased communication barriers in the healthcare sector. Concerned entities have therefore called for all healthcare practitioners to familiarize themselves with the most common languages in order to understand cultural traditions. As such it will bring about cultural safety in the sector thus ensuring effective provision of quality medical services (Durey & Thompson, 2012).

Personal reflection

The different authors presented in the report have provided a clear analysis of how cultural safety has been affected by racism among the indigenous people. On an individual opinion, the aspect of racism has lead to poor engagement and weakened compliance in health services resulting in fewer ideal outcomes. However, by empowering the Aboriginal and working in conjunction with them in a culturally safety and competent manner, there are high chances that positive results will be realized.


To conclude, the report has examined various media materials that show the impact of racism of culturally safety health services. The negative impacts of colonization have become deep-seated to a point that many individuals do not consider the severe effects this has on the Aboriginal community. Therefore, it is imperative that practitioners in the field of health care become culturally competent to ensure culturally safe health care services are provided.


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Willis, K., & Elmer, S. (2011). Society, culture, and health: An introduction to sociology for nurses (2nd ed.). Australia: OUP Australia and New Zealand

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