Time to bring down the twin towers in poor Aboriginal hospital care: addressing institutional racism and misunderstandings in communication
Article first published online: 26 JAN 2012
© 2011 The Authors. Internal Medicine Journal © 2011 Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Internal Medicine Journal
Volume 42, Issue 1, pages 17–22, January 2012
How to Cite
Durey, A., Thompson, S. C. and Wood, M. (2012), Time to bring down the twin towers in poor Aboriginal hospital care: addressing institutional racism and misunderstandings in communication. Internal Medicine Journal, 42: 17–22. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2011.02628.x
- Issue published online: 26 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 26 JAN 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 27 OCT 2011 12:16PM EST
- Received 8 December 2010; accepted 15 September 2011.
Improvements in Aboriginal health have been slow. Research demonstrates ongoing discrimination towards Aboriginal Australians based on race, including in health services, leads to poor health outcomes. Using an eclectic methodology based on observations and discussions with health practitioners experienced in working with Aboriginal patients, this paper identifies how cross-cultural misunderstandings undermine the quality of care to Aboriginal patients in hospital and offers suggestions for improving practice. It also explores the concept of institutional racism and challenges doctors to reflect on their role in perpetuating power imbalances. We argue that physicians and healthcare providers need to do more than just deliver evidence-based interventions, by critically reflecting on their own attitudes to and practices with Aboriginal Australians and work collectively to effect systemic change which creates a more inclusive and safe environment for all people accessing healthcare.