Exposing Healthcare Discrimination in Regional NSW

Last Updated on 22/03/2021 by National Justice Project

The National Justice Project has authored a submission to the NSW parliamentary inquiry into regional, rural and remote healthcare.

This submission was drafted in honour of the family of Naomi Williams, a Wiradjuri woman from Tumut, New South Wales, and all First Nations people that have experienced discriminatory treatment in healthcare.

Our submission emphasises that Australian governments “have a responsibility to ensure the highest attainable standard of health and wellbeing to their people through the provision of adequate health service and social measures,” which are currently not being met for First Nations people.

To read ABC reporting on our submission, click here.

The submission highlights the stories and voices of First Nations peoples who have faced devastating consequences of discrimination in the healthcare system, including the story of Naomi Williams, who tragically died on the 1st of January 2016 from septicaemia. Her condition was easily treatable with antibiotics, yet she received inadequate treatment and was refused a referral to a specialist due to systemic racism and prejudice within the healthcare system.

The submission notes that “Naomi was not the first or last First Nations person to suffer from discrimination and culturally unsafe care in our health system.” Between 2016 and 2020, the National Justice Project has worked on at least 18 cases that related to negligent or inadequate healthcare for First Nations people.

The submission made a number of detailed recommendations, including; NSW Health should engage with local First Nations community organisations, peak bodies, leaders and healthcare experts; the NSW Government must review and implement the relevant recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody; and the adequate resourcing of Aboriginal Health Liaison Officers and mental health services.

The submission calls on the NSW Government to implement all recommendations of the Coronial Inquest into the Death of Naomi Williams through a state-wide, place-based model to ensure “culturally safe health services that is capable of providing safe and appropriate care.”

To read the full submission, click here.

To read media reporting on our submission, click here.