Culturally competent health services

At the individual level, cultural competence is “the ability to identify and challenge one’s own cultural assumptions, one’s values and belief.  It is about developing empathy and connected knowledge, the ability to see the world through another’s eyes or at the very least, to recognise that others may view the world through cultural lenses” (Fitzgerald 2000, cited in Stewart 2006).

A culturally competent health service:

  1. Demonstrates organisational leadership in and commitment to multicultural health services.
  2. Monitors and develops an understanding of the health needs of its local culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
  3. Collects and reports on data on health services usage by people from CALD communities.
  4. Delivers services and information which are accessible in culturally safe and appropriate ways to people from CALD communities.
  5. Facilitates the participation of people from CALD backgrounds in feedback, service planning and improvement.
  6. Develops and maintains the linguistic and cultural competencies of the health service.
  7. Engages actively with government, other public and private health service providers, and nongovernment organisations to improve multicultural services.

Towards Culturally Appropriate and Inclusive Services: A Co-ordinating Framework for ACT Health 2014-2018 sets out a range of actions for ACT Health to further develop as a culturally competent organisation.

More information and resources about cultural competence can be found in the ACT Health Library Multicultural Health LibGuide. (Some LibGuide content is only available to ACT Health staff and other users with a subscription.)