In late April 2020, Health Consumers Queensland asked consumers about their experiences of healthcare during the very first easing of the COVID-19 lockdown. Procedures that had been delayed or cancelled were restarting, but consumers shared that they were unsure about accessing care safely. Many reported feeling uncertain and confused about when, if and how they could have their healthcare needs met.
Ten weeks later in Queensland, restrictions have eased significantly and healthcare services are beginning to return to almost full operation. At the same time, parts of Victoria have gone back into lockdown and parts of NSW are seeing an increase in positive testing results, with community spread in both states. Against these opposing backgrounds, Health Consumers Queensland asked 28 consumers and consumers representatives from our COVID-19 Community of Interest, Health Consumers Queensland’s Consumer Advisory Group, the Health Consumers Collaborative of Queensland, Primary Health Networks and Statewide Clinical Networks steering committees about their current experiences of health care.
Consumers were asked:
- If you were waiting for treatment that was delayed due to the pandemic, have you received updates on when that treatment will be available to you?
- Who provided you with care during the pandemic?
- Are you getting the information now that you need to support you, such as information about how your health service is being kept COVID-19 safe, or alternative ways of receiving care?
- Every Hospital and Health Service is responsible for developing their own plan to re-open services. Have you been involved as a consumer rep in these plans for your local HHS?