Indigenous status not routinely checked by GPs

The data, presented at the Fifth Annual Symposium on Dreaming up the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public health at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) today, was gathered in a pilot study of seven general practices, eight GPs and 30 staff.

It showed that some GPs and staff did not know what systems their practice used to identify patients’ Indigenous status, and one practice did not ask any patients their Indigenous status.

Unannounced patients’ Indigenous status was correctly identified on two occasions, was incorrectly recorded on four occasions and was recorded as non-Indigenous based on physical appearance in two practices.

Most practices relied solely on patients self-identifying their Indigenous status on new patient registration forms but had no means of identifying the status of existing patients.

Study author Heike Schütze, a research officer at the Centre for Primary Healthcare Equity at