eAlert: New grant funding underpins our consumer-focused COVID initiatives

New grant funding underpins our consumer-focused COVID-19 initiatives​

Health Consumers Queensland has been successful in securing grant funding from Queensland Health to support our continued COVID-19 service provision. As one of more than 130 community-based health service groups across Queensland sharing in more than $30 million, the grant will help Health Consumers Queensland to continue the delivery of a number of consumer-focused initiatives.

This additional funding will support:

  • continued consultation with consumers on planning for continued and future pandemic situations
  • a new project to engage with young health consumers about their experiences during COVID-19 pandemic (check out the
  • opportunity to join our Youth Reference Group in this eAlert​)
  • evaluation of the strong engagement approach taken by Health Consumers Queensland and Queensland Health during COVID-19.

We are so pleased to be able to continue to support the vital voice of consumers during this time.​

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Consumer experiences of health services as COVID-19 restrictions ease

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:

  1. 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?
  2. Who provided you with care during the pandemic?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?

Read the Issues Paper >

eAlert: Consumer Conversations are back!

Consumer Conversations are back and they’re better than ever!

Consumer Conversations have made a welcome return this week and it was wonderful to see you all again on Zoom on Tuesday.

For this series, we have brought together our experienced and emerging consumer groups so the COVID-19 Community of Interest has joined up with the Health Consumers Queensland’s Consumer Advisory Group, the Health Consumers Collaborative of Queensland, the Primary Health Networks and the consumers who sit on Statewide Clinical Networks.

Conversations will now be held every fortnight rather than once a week.

These valuable sessions will continue to provide consumers the opportunity to share your lived experience on topical health issues with the group and with Queensland Health. In response to your helpful feedback, we’ve also added a short informative presentation at the beginning of each session to enable you to build your skills and knowledge around consumer engagement.

This week we explored: How to tell your story with impact. Many people become active as health consumers due to a significant experience with the health system. Telling the story of your healthcare journey effectively can be a powerful tool in your consumer kit.

We hope you enjoy this new format and please continue to share your feedback with us as the series continues.

If you’d like to join the Consumer Conversations, please register here. The next presentation will focus on some tips and strategies that help to communicate your message with impact.

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eAlert – Looking Back: How effective was Queensland’s COVID-19 response?

As we mentioned in last week’s eAlert, in the most recent Consumer Conversation we asked consumers for their reaction to the COVID-19 response from Queensland Health, and from us, Health Consumers Queensland. We were very pleased to hear that consumers were satisfied with Queensland Health’s response. Particularly compared to other states, consumers felt that Queensland Health has done very well to involve consumers to such a high degree, to listen and act on their views and concerns. Suggestions for improvement included greater attention to the needs of vulnerable groups, greater reach into the regions, and better communication and especially with culturally and linguistically diverse people and communities.

Consumers were overwhelmingly positive about the COVID-19 response from Health Consumers Queensland, with many feeling that the COVID-19 Community of Interest gave consumers the opportunity to have their voices heard, and gave them the information they needed to support themselves, their families and their communities. Importantly, consumers saw the influence they had on Queensland Health and were mindful of how unique that is in Australia.


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Snapshot of Qld’s COVID Response

By acting swiftly at the onset of COVID-19, Health Consumers Queensland was able to pivot our work to support consumers and the health system to collaborate on solutions to challenges not seen before. This early action has played a key role in ensuring a consumer-centred public health system response to COVID-19.

Through our work, Queensland Health has been able to hear from hundreds of Queenslanders with significant health needs and use that intelligence to form a more wide-reaching response than otherwise possible. You can read the big picture summary of our collaboration here.

Consumers routinely identified early key issues for the community, which we were able to feed through to the health system. This enabled the system to respond in the knowledge of consumer insights and expectations. You can read the full summary of all the themes covered by consumers during this time here.

You can also read the full summary of consumers’ reflections on the response to the pandemic, including how both Queensland Health and this organisation can continue to improve, in our latest Issues Paper.

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