A community health centre has reviewed its programs and found that the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people using their service is well below the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the local population. The review also finds that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to be unwell compared to the rest of the local population and so access to the service is important. The centre currently has a wait list for clients to use their services and for some of these services, such as dental services, the waitlist is six months.
The review finding is that there is an equity issue at the service and there are barriers to access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Using the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders the service decides to:
implement affirmative action and set aside a small number of appointments a month for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. If the appointments are not filled then people on the waitlist are slotted in.
create a welcoming environment and install Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and local artworks
provide training for staff in cultural safety
You are working at the service and a colleague says, “It’s not fair that they have set aside appointments for Aboriginal people, it’s racism, everybody should be treated the same.”

Questions:
What part of the case study is talking about equity and what part is talking about equality? Why?

In the case study, the parts that talk about equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
How could you respond to your colleague as a critical friend? How would you feel about doing this?
Critical friends use
critical questioning – explore why or how things happen the way they do
active listening – listen well so we understand the person’s point of view and can ask more critical questions
inspiring a shared vision – find shared values and beliefs to inspire a shared vision (Hardiman & Dewing, 2014)

Case study