NEW Health Consumers Queensland consumer decision-making guide and FAQs: Is the COVIDSafe app right for you and your family?

Uncertain about downloading the new national COVIDSafe app? Health Consumers Queensland’s new COVIDSafe app decision-making guide sets out the benefits, risks and alternatives. You can read this information online on the Decision-making Guide page.* You can also download our FAQs about using COVIDSafe.

The COVID-19 Community of Interest have rapidly provided their views on the app and the proposed guide. Some wanted clearer information (in different languages) and reassurance about security and the protection of their data or whether their phone could even support the app.  Others had already downloaded it and considered it was cost-effective and time-efficient. Key concerns included data storage, privacy, security of information, the type of data collected, and how the data is shared.

Their input has enabled us to refine and develop this decision-making guide to assist health consumers and carers with information about using the COVIDSafe app.

Health Consumers Queensland respects the rights of health consumers and carers to make informed decisions about their health.

*We will be updating this page regularly as more information becomes available.

What does the easing of restrictions around elective surgery now mean for consumers?​

This week we asked members of our COVID-19 Community of Interest: What matters to you when balancing the fear of being infected with the benefits of receiving ongoing care for your health condition? What barriers do we need to overcome in order to confidently shift our approach to utilize this capacity in the health system and feel reassured about the safety of patients and staff?  How do we best use the private hospital capacity which is now available?

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Re-balancing the health system: Consumer perspectives

When contemplating re-balancing the health system by bringing some elective surgeries back on-line, consumers identified key conditions that must be met in order them to feel safe when receiving their needed healthcare including:

  • Prioritising care for vulnerable consumers first
  • Addressing gaps in communication
  • Tailored conversations versus blanket-wide policies
  • Clear and early conversations about what postoperative care would look like and alternative ways of receiving that care, and the financial costs for consumers.

Read the Issues Paper >

Delaying Healthcare Due to COVID-19

Consumers told us they were delaying their regular healthcare due to COVID-19. There was uncertainty about what healthcare was still available and what wasn’t, and concerns about how all of this is being communicated.

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Are you delaying healthcare due to COVID-19?

The news that we have flattened the curve in Queensland and are not experiencing the anticipated spike in infections and rise in hospital and ICU admissions, is welcome indeed. However, consumers and carers are now facing a further healthcare challenge: grappling with the impact of the lockdown on their ongoing healthcare needs.

Queensland Health is reminding people that hospitals and services are still ‘open’ and regular appointments can be kept. Yet we have heard some people are putting off their routine health care.

This week we asked members of our Consumer Advisory Group, consumer members of the Health Consumer Collaborative of Queensland, the COVID-19 Community of Interest and our followers on Facebook whether they had delayed any of their regular healthcare, if it was clear to them what care is continuing and what is being postponed, and how has this been communicated?

The key issues and concerns which emerged during the conversations included:

  • Difficulty in accessing care when in self-isolation.
  • Risk of inadvertently causing infection.
  • What is open and what is not.
  • Too much of a risk to go for routine tests including blood tests or keep appointments with specialists.
  • Vulnerable people have been advised to expect to remain in isolation until next year and planned surgeries have been postponed but what about waiting lists after this time.
  • The health consequences of waiting and postponing.
  • Deciding to put off new knees and hips and get by on steroid injections for the next 12 months.
  • Confusion and concern around cancellation of ante-natal classes for new parents-to-be.
  • Lack of communication around closure of transplant centres and the impact of this decision on people’s health and these precious resources.
  • How do we monitor symptoms and know when to go to hospital.
  • There have been no letters or phonecalls despite surgery needing to be done within three months
  • The sense of being just left hanging.
  • Inconsistencies in information are causing fear and particularly those of mature ages and with co-morbidities.
  • Communication methods need to address all levels of health literacy.
  • The system is not designed for particular groups or particular conditions. It is not reaching us at a place-based level.

Continue reading eAlert >