This sixth national report provides an overview of 269 Australian Government-funded organisations that aim to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It presents findings from the 2013-14 Online Services Report data collection, including the health services and activities provided by these organisations, staffing levels and client numbers, as well as health service gaps and challenges faced by the communities they serve.

In 2013-14, most (79%) of these organisations delivered health services through 1 site, with the remaining having 2 or more delivery sites. Sixty-two per cent of organisations were Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, 14% were other non-government organisations and 24% were government-run organisations. Three-quarters (76%) of organisations were accredited against either the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners or organisational standards. This was higher than in 2012-13 (70%).

More staff and more client contacts in primary health-care organisations 

In 2013-14, 203 of these organisations (76%) provided primary health-care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, similar to the number in 2012-13 (205). The number of full-time equivalent staff employed at 30 June 2014 was 7,108 and just over half of these were Indigenous (53%). The number of staff was 7% higher than at 30 June 2013.

Primary health-care services were provided to around 419,000 clients through 4.6 million contacts. The number of contacts increased by 13% (around 543,000) compared with 2012-13. There were large increases in the number of contacts for allied health professionals (46%), nurses and midwives (30%) and doctors (10%).

This may partly reflect increases in the number of staff in 2013-14. The number of clients was similar in 2012-13 (around 417,000).

Most counsellors providing social and emotional wellbeing or Link Up counselling services were Indigenous

In 2013-14, 95 organisations (35%) provided social and emotional wellbeing or Link Up counselling services. These organisations employed 189 counsellors and 62% of these were Indigenous. Services were provided to around 16,600 clients through 88,200 contacts.

Substance-use episodes of care increase 

In 2013-14, 56 organisations (21%) provided substance-use services. Around 43,000 clients were seen through 371,000 episodes of care. Most episodes of care (95%) were for non-residential, follow-up or after-care services.

Episodes of care increased by 22% (around 66,000) compared with 2012-13, largely due to an increase in the number of non-residential episodes of care.

Key gaps and challenges 

Sixty-one per cent of all organisations reported a service delivery gap in their communities for mental health and social and emotional health and wellbeing.

Recruitment, training and support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff (68%) and staffing levels (58%) were commonly reported as challenges to providing quality services.