Multicultural health

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Our multicultural health program

The Brisbane South PHN region is home to over 1.1 million people – many from different backgrounds and cultures. In fact, 30% of people in our region were born overseas and 19% were born in a non-English speaking country. Brisbane south is also the area of highest refugee settlement in Queensland.

The Brisbane South PHN multicultural health program aims to improve the health outcomes and experiences of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds by working with partners to ensure that health care is accessible, inclusive and culturally appropriate. Our objectives include building capacity in primary care, improving health literacy and improving system-wide integration of resources for CALD communities.

Working with interpreters

Working with a qualified interpreter is essential to ensure all patients can access health care regardless of their English language skills. Engaging an interpreter helps you to communicate effectively with your non-English speaking patients, can protect you from professional risk and is consistent with best practice ethical and professional standards.

Guidelines for engaging an interpreter

  • Identify the need for an interpreter as early as possible.
  • If a patient does not speak English (and you do not fluently speak their language):
    • use a qualified interpreter
    • avoid using relatives or friends to interpret – consider only for simple day-to-day communication
    • do not use an automated translating app – these are not approved for use by health professionals when communicating with patients in a clinical setting.
  • If the patient requires an interpreter:
    • identify their preferences and record these on file
    • consider whether a longer appointment will be needed.

TIS National Free Interpreting Service

Private medical practitioners and pharmacies can access the Free Interpreting Service delivered through TIS National to provide services to anyone in Australia who is eligible for Medicare.

Practice support staff and nurses working with a private medical practitioner registered with TIS National can also access the service.

TIS National is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year and provides access to interpreters of over 160 languages. This service ensures health professionals can provide quality care, advice and support to their culturally and linguistically diverse patients.

More information about the TIS National Service, eligibility requirements and how to register are available on the website.

Access a TIS National Interpreter

For immediate phone interpreting or urgent registration, phone the Medical Practitioner and Pharmacy Priority Line. The Priority Line is only available to eligible medical practitioners and pharmacists (and their support staff).

TIS National Medical Practitioner and Pharmacy Priority Line
Phone: 1300 131 450
Hours: 7 days, 24 hours

TIS National also provides pre-booked phone interpreting, on-site interpreting and video interpreting services. To book services or find out more about the service, contact the TIS National Team.

TIS National
Phone: 1300 575 847
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm

Refugee health

Refugee Health Connect

Refugee Health Connect (RHC) is a partnership between Brisbane South PHN, Brisbane North PHN, Mater and Metro South Health. RHC provides a single point of contact for service providers to access information and support regarding refugee health.

RHC Services

  • Assisting service providers to navigate the refugee health system
  • Linking people from refugee backgrounds to suitable primary health care providers based on a range of patient-specific factors such as the location, complexity of care needs and cultural requirements.
  • Building the skills and capabilities of primary health professionals to manage the care of refugee families in a culturally and clinically appropriate manner through:
    • peer-to-peer education from Brisbane South PHN’s clinical lead – a General Practitioner (GP) with extensive experience in refugee health
    • in-house practice support and guidance
    • cross-cultural training
    • clinical education events
    • resources for clinical and administrative staff.

Contact Refugee Health Connect
Phone: 07 3864 7580

SpotOnHealth HealthPathways

SpotOnHealth HealthPathways is an online information portal for use by health care professionals during consultations with their patients or clients. It provides relevant and current information about local health care services to support decision making and give advice to their patients or clients, including those from refugee backgrounds under ‘Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health’.

Refugee Health Network Queensland

The Refugee Health Network Queensland provides a comprehensive range of clinical and administrative information and resources, including a variety of translated resources.

Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide

The Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide is a resource to support doctors, nurses and other primary care providers to deliver comprehensive, evidence-based on-arrival and ongoing health care for people from refugee backgrounds, including people seeking asylum. The guide contains condition-specific and population-specific advice and referral information that has been compiled by local and regional services.

The guide draws on the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases and Refugee Health Network of Australia’s ‘Recommendations for Comprehensive Post-Arrival Health Assessment for People from Refugee-Like Backgrounds’ and good practice approaches from practitioners working with people from refugee backgrounds.

Allied health

Interpreting for Allied Health Professionals Program

Brisbane South PHN has established the Interpreting for Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) Program to:

  • support access to private allied health services for non-English speaking clients
  • ensure interpreting services are available to private allied health services to communicate with non-English speaking clients.

The program is available to a limited number of allied health disciplines within the Brisbane South PHN region through a capped funding stream at no cost to the allied health services. It includes access to immediate phone, pre-booked phone, on-site and video interpreting services through TIS National.

Register for the Interpreting for AHPs Program

To register your interest in this program, please complete this expression of interest.

Due to the high number of allied health professionals now registered for the program, Brisbane South PHN are reviewing each new EOI with consideration to local need and program capacity.

Multilingual allied health professionals

We have created a list of multilingual allied health professionals (AHPs) to support you in finding an AHP who can provide health care services in a language other than English for your patient.

To register for inclusion on our list of multilingual AHPs, complete this form.

Quality improvement

Brisbane South PHN has a quality improvement toolkit that will assist your practice to understand your practice’s cultural profile, ensure ethnicity and country of birth are recorded, and ensure your practice understands how to access interpreters.

More information

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