Attending a Qld Clinical Senate meeting

Consumers attend each meeting of the Queensland Clinical Senate (the Senate) and are active contributors to the event. This page covers much of the information you need to know if you are applying for a place at a meeting, or have been selected to participate.

What is the Queensland Clinical Senate?

Taken from their website:

The Queensland Clinical Senate represents clinicians from across the health system and provides strategic advice and leadership on system-wide issues affecting the quality, affordability and efficient delivery of patient care within Queensland. We connect clinicians to improve care.

We share our collective knowledge to consider strategic clinical issues and make recommendations to Queensland Health about how to deliver the best care to Queenslanders.

A structured forum for clinician and stakeholder consultation and communication on matters of strategic importance. We discuss, consult, examine the evidence, consider and formulate practical innovative recommendations in the context of clinical and operational best practice.

See past Senate meetings here.

Senate Membership

Each Hospital and Health Service has about 3 clinician members (usually a mix of doctors, nurses and midwives, allied health professionals and Aboriginal Health Workers). In all, there are more than 100 or so clinical members of the Senate.

Other key Queensland Health staff are also invited including the Director General of Health and some Deputy Directors General (although they are often only there for a short time).

The Senate has always had a number of consumer representative members attend each meeting. For the last 3 or more years, the Senate has invited up to 10 consumers to specific Senate meetings. Over the years we’ve seen the Senate’s partnerships with consumers get stronger and stronger.

Structure of a Senate meeting

Senate meetings always occur across a Thursday evening and a Friday with a dinner always held on the Thursday and the senate meeting sessions held on the Friday. There are people speaking at the dinner to give you some background and context to the topic. This gives you time to process this information overnight.

On the Friday there are three distinct sessions.  Each session combines presentations and a chance for all the Senate members and consumer representatives to have some discussions or workshopping at their individual tables.

Online tools such as Menti are often used as a digital whiteboard, allowing all participants to contribute. The organisers will give instructions on how to use it on the day, but it would be useful to have a smartphone or some other device with you, so you can fully participate.

Before the Senate meeting

Travel and accommodation

The Senate supports consumers to attend Senate meetings in person. This is arranged by HCQ and includes travel, accommodation, remuneration and reimbursement for mileage and parking. Please note, Senate meetings are generally face-to-face with no online option.

HCQ or our travel agent will coordinate with you to arrange any travel or accommodation you require. This includes public transport, taxis and ride shares. HCQ will ask you for details on how you plan to travel to help coordinate this for you. Keep all receipts for possible reimbursement. We’ll also make sure that any support needs you have are taken care of, such as hearing loop, dietary requirements, or accessibility.

Check in and check out times as well as details of parking and breakfast (if included – this differs by venue) will be provided to you.

Pre-Briefing meeting

An online pre-briefing meeting will occur around a week before the Senate meeting. This gives an opportunity to meet the other consumers attending, meet the Senate team and HCQ, and hear a brief overview of the topic and your role as a consumer representative.

At the Senate meeting

What is your role at the Senate?

All consumers attending will listen to presentations and panels and to participate in group discussions across the two days. Your role will be to add the consumer voice and lens to the discussions. You have a valuable role to play: consumers often raise questions and ideas that the Clinical Senate members might not have thought of.

Some consumers will also be presenters and panellists and can still take part in the discussions and workshops at their individual table.

Are we expected to engage as a collective HCQ representative group or as individuals?

As a consumer representative at the Senate, it is expected you will use your lived experience and knowledge of the communities you belong. You will not be speaking for and on behalf of Health Consumers Queensland, but rather for the consumer you know and connect with.

We do not expect all the consumers to be saying the same thing or representing a collective whole.

Consumers learn from other consumers. At the pre-meeting briefing, you may hear a new perspective or learn some new knowledge or skills.  This might also help you contribute at the Senate as well as your own information and experiences.

There is likely to be a lot of discussion about how clinicians can be involved in research and the barriers they face. Some, but not all clinicians, will turn their minds to how this will impact on consumers’ experience of health research. That is your chance to speak up about consumers, and especially from your own lived experience or that of the communities you belong to. These could be communities:

  • of place, such as rural areas surrounding Mackay
  • of identity (First Nations or culturally and linguistically diverse or LGBTIQ+)
  • based on common experiences (living with disability or a specific health condition or raising children) or
  • based on a number of these different identifiers.

However, Health Consumers Queensland do expect that all consumers be on board with some key principles:

  • Consumers have a right to be involved in decision making that will impact their lives, such as climate change. Collaboration, co-design and consumer engagement are key to helping consumers to influence and shape the system.
  • A diverse group of consumers should be involved, including those who have the most to gain and the most to lose. One consumer rep cannot be the voice of all diversity and experience in Queensland.
  • Consumer representatives are usually interested in seeing improvements to the experience of care, and the outcomes of care for people.
  • Consumers are respectful of each other’s experiences and contributions.

Program – structure of the day

The program will be provided to you prior to the Senate meeting. It will be conference style with keynote presenters, panellists and opportunities for break out discussions with the wider group.

Communicating on the day

So you can text and communicate with all consumers and HCQ staff across the two days, HCQ will create a WhatsApp group so all consumers can connect and message each other and HCQ staff. This is a safe space for you to communicate with everyone.

You can download the app for free if you don’t have it already.

If you don’t have a smart phone or have troubles downloading the app, we will ensure you can text or we can arrange for you to sit with a HCQ staff member for additional support if needed.

Taking notes

You are more than welcome to bring laptop/iPad, note pad, whatever you like to take notes on if you wish. Pens and note pads will be provided.

After the Senate meeting

Consumers will be remunerated and reimbursed for any additional expenses in line with HCQ’s remuneration rates to attend and participate at Senate meetings.

Remuneration process

After the meeting HCQ will send consumers an expense claim form. You will need keep copies or originals of any receipts, mileage, car parking etc and send them back with the completed claim form. Payment should occur within a fortnight from submission of the form.

Senate Recommendations

The Senate will gather and collate the information discussed at the meeting and develop draft recommendations. This will be sent out to you for further consultation and engagement to ensure that your voice was heard at the meeting and those messages are seen within the recommendations document.

Any questions? You are very welcome to contact us to for more information on 07 3012 9090 or