Health Systems Often Discriminate against Indigenous Patients: Philpott

By Kirkup, Kristy | The Canadian Press, September 28, 2017 | Go to article overview

Health Systems Often Discriminate against Indigenous Patients: Philpott


Kirkup, Kristy, The Canadian Press


Health systems often discriminatory: Philpott

--

OTTAWA - Aboriginal physicians are praising Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott for acknowledging discrimination that unfolded at her Toronto-area practice prior to her political life -- an issue doctors say is widespread.

On Wednesday while speaking at a Public Policy Forum event in Ottawa focused on Indigenous health, Philpott said she had witnessed first-hand the different treatment a female patient who came to see her with a diagnosis of HIV.

"I watched in my clinic the way that my staff treated certain people who came into the clinic," she said.

"Her language was not very polite ... her behaviour in the clinic was disruptive and disturbing and she was rough around the edges. And I watched how my staff interacted with her and saw that they didn't treat her the same as the same guy that walked in and was wearing a business suit."

Philpott said cultural competency training is one way to address this issue -- a recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission -- but she said it is also important for doctors to acknowledge it when they see it.

"We've got to call each other on these things and sometimes it is the most subtle, subtle things that we do and we are all vulnerable to on treating people on the basis of the way they look, act, speak, smell differently," she said.

"It means teaching those cultural competencies in our health institutions, but it means calling people on it when we see it."

Health systems are "often discriminatory", she added, noting it will take everyone fighting for equitable treatment of Indigenous patients. …

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