Community groups worried about health strategy haste

The McGowan government has announced it will be developing a specific health strategy focussing on LGBTIQ+ communities but concern has been raised by community groups regarding the pace at which the strategy will be put together.

Thirteen prominent representatives from community organisation have written a joint letter to Health Minister Roger Cook after it was revealed that the health department was aiming to have the strategy in place for a launch at the 2018 Pride Festival.

June Lowe from GRAI: Gay and Lesbian Rights in Ageing, is one of the community representatives concerned about the process.

“There seems to be almost unanimous support to extend the process for developing the strategy, because it is so important and so complicated people want to do it justice.” Lowe told OUTinPerth.    

Other signatories to the letter include the Telethon Kids Institute, Living Proud, YAC WA, Pride WA, Transfolk WA and Richmond Wellbeing, who ask for the government to reconsider the tight timeline.  

In the letter the concerned community groups outline that at a recent forum they were informed the strategy would need to be developed over the next seven months so it could be launched during the Pride celebrations.

“This timeline has raised many concerns, especially as health strategies usually take about two years to develop. We are acutely aware that producing a robust LGBTI Health Strategy is a very complex task. It involves addressing the separate issues of 5 different communities, across their entire lifetimes – from birth (in the case of intersex individuals), childhood (especially for early trans-aware/non-binary children), and all adult life-stages including end-of-life palliative care.

“The proposed timeframe for the Strategy’s development poses significant risks to its efficacy and to the wellbeing of the community it intends to support. The short consultation periods are unlikely to ensure the diversity of the LGBTI community is adequately captured and represented, and the depth and breadth of feedback from the community will be severely limited.” the letter reads.

Instead the group suggest that the normal development time for a successful health strategy is two years.

Expressions of interest from groups who wish to be help deliver the consultation process of the program close or join the strategy’s reference group close on 9th April 2018.

Health Minister Roger Cook was contacted for comment but is currently on leave.    

OIP Staff



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