Queensland’s border opening just prior to Christmas, coupled with the dramatic rise in cases from the highly infectious Omicron variant and recent adoption of national policy shifts has meant Queensland’s pandemic preparedness has been deeply tested.
An exhausted health workforce and Queenslanders have faced the challenges of the last three weeks with agility, resilience and commitment.
During this time Health Consumers Queensland, consumer and community organisations have been escalating issues, sharing resources, and supporting care providers and consumers.
This Hot Issues Brief paper is a summary of issues of importance to consumers in this response that need to be urgently resolved.
Read the Hot Issues Brief paper >
With our state border due to open on 17 December, Health Consumers Queensland hosted 3 webcasts. Our aim was to increase the COVID-readiness of Queensland health consumers and carers. We did this by providing a forum for information-sharing by clinical experts and leaders from Queensland Health. What we heard was that Queenslanders feel uncertainty and want to:
- Hear from their local health services
- Know what plans are in place
- Know how to escalate issues
- Know how to be prepared
See the webcast series here >
Download the summary paper >
Throughout the pandemic we have been hearing the concerns of consumers and health staff in rural and remote areas about how a COVID outbreak could affect their communities and families.
There are large sections of Queensland where they have been fortunate not to have a single case of COVID. But what does this mean when COVID comes to Queensland, and comes into areas that haven’t been exposed to it?
- What levels of community transmission are likely during outbreaks in rural and remote communities? What impact will lower vaccination rates have?
- What will healthcare look like in rural and remote areas during a COVID-19 surge?
- What will COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment mean if hospital is hours away?
- How are rural and remote communities, smaller health services, rural GPs, community controlled health organisations, retrieval services, local councils and local emergency services preparing to cope?
- How will people access food, medications and community services?
In our third webcast of the series, Melissa Fox hosts Statewide Rural and Remote Clinical Network co-chairs Dr Konrad Kangru and Dr Emily Moody to discuss COVID-19 preparation from a rural and remote perspective.
Challenges and Lessons of COVID from a Unique Perspective
Dr Krispin Hajkowicz understands COVID-19 as few Queenslanders can. As one of Australia’s leading infectious diseases doctors in Australia, in 2020 he found himself at the epicentre of Queensland’s coronavirus outbreak, overseeing care for COVID positive patients at one of Queensland’s biggest hospitals. The fear of inadvertently bringing COVID-19 home to his family was ever present. However, in August COVID-19 came into their home via a community outbreak, infecting two of their children.
This very special COVID readiness webcast was recorded at 10.30am on Monday 13 December when we welcomed Dr Hajkowicz and his 13-year-old son Tommy.
As Queenslanders, we know how to prepare for summer storms – clean the gutters, move projectiles from the garden, and have emergency numbers handy.
Current modelling shows that COVID-19 will spread from when the border opens next month and is predicted to peak in Queensland in March. Some communities will be hit harder than others.
- What does Qld have in place to cope with an outbreak?
- What should you be doing to prepare?
- How will you access healthcare and community services during an outbreak?
- Do you know what to expect if you contract COVID-19?
- What does Qld have in place to cope with an outbreak?
Watch this panel discussion between our CEO Melissa Fox and Dr Alex Markwell as they outline what we might expect from COVID in 2022 and what consumers and communities need to do now to prepare themselves for the Delta variant.
About Dr Alex Markwell
Dr Alex Markwell is a Senior Staff Specialist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Emergency and Trauma Centre and Senior Lecturer with the University of Queensland. She is the Chair of the Qld Clinical Senate and a past president of AMA Queensland.
With parts of Queensland in lockdown against the Delta variant for the first time, a public health system under extreme pressure and an acceleration in the vaccine rollout, HCQ has focused on listening to consumers and carers and staff. We moved mindfully and acted swiftly and strategically to maximise the impact of our small team and the voices of consumers, to help keep Queenslanders safe and well.
Amplifying your voices across the public health system during lockdown
We know there are so many issues for health consumers and the system to navigate during an outbreak . We held a Consumer Conversation to ask how the latest COVID-19 outbreaks in Queensland were affecting you and your health. We also heard from members of our CAG and Youth Reference Group and consumer representatives, consumer, disability, aged and palliative care and culturally and linguistically diverse NGOs to find out how they’ve been impacted by the lockdowns, regional cases and concern about spread.
Friday, 6 August 2021
10.00-11.15am via Zoom
Health Consumers Queensland invites regular users of the health system from right across the State to talk about how the latest COVID-19 outbreaks are affecting you and your health. By sharing your experiences and solutions, we can identify the key issues and help shape the health system’s response.
After you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the conversation.
Read more >
Last week, Queensland Health gave a record 80,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This issues paper shares consumers’ most recent experiences of the rollout up until 22 June 2021 and includes your reactions to ATAGI’s latest revised recommendations for the Astra Zeneca vaccine. It also presents your ideas and suggestions about what needs to improve so that the roll-out feels well-run, safe and person-centred.
Read the issues paper >