A seat at the decision-making table

As the State faces an uncertain economic future with the pandemic draining the public purse, a looming recession and a significant burden of chronic disease and health inequity, key decisions about funding,
resourcing and service priorities are only going to get tougher. However, currently, consumers do not have a seat at the table to help shape these decisions even though their health care and health outcomes are directly affected by them.

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The COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Queensland: What would build your confidence?

Amidst intense media coverage and the release of limited information by the Commonwealth and State Governments, our first Consumer Conversation of 2021 focused on hearing what consumers are looking for from Queensland Health’s engagement and communications to underpin informed decision-making and instill public confidence in the plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination.

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What does safety in healthcare mean to you?

  • Safety is at the very foundation of healthcare, but how often do we think about what safe care looks and feels like to us?
  • How often do we consider what the healthcare system does to keep us safe?
  • Have you ever felt uncomfortable or unsafe when receiving healthcare?
  • Do you feel you can speak up if you do start to feel unsafe?

This was Health Consumers Queensland’s 21st conversation with consumers and carers since March 2020. It was clear from the conversation that although consumers assume they are getting care in a safe system and many of the safety nets are invisible to us, consumers can clearly identify and describe what unsafe care (and unsafe environment) fees like to them. All of the 28 people who attended brought their passion and their experience to this conversation, everyone had something to say. Safety is one of the tenets of the Australian Charter for Healthcare Rights.

We heard clearly how much safety matters to everyone who accesses health care. Yet what it looks, feels, sounds and tastes like for each of us is unique – and extends far beyond a single perspective of clinical safety. What feels safe for one person, may not feel safe another.

Read the Issues Paper >

Are culturally and linguistically diverse consumers having their needs met during COVID-19?

Health Consumers Queensland facilitated a conversation between culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and non-CALD consumers*, NGOs representing the interests of CALD consumers and staff from Queensland Health’s Disability and Multicultural Health Unit who have been leading engagement with CALD communities on the health response to the pandemic, the Social Policy Department, the Deputy Director-General of Corporate Services, the Statewide Lead for COVID-19 for Aged Care and Disability, and the Strategic Communications Branch. In all, more than 40 people were part of this on-line discussion about the issues culturally and linguistically diverse consumers faced in the health system during COVID.

Since April 2020, the Department and stakeholders representing CALD community groups in Queensland have been working together to develop policy and action plans for a COVID-19 response that meets the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse Queenslanders. Throughout this time, Health Consumers Queensland has also been listening to CALD consumers in our frequent Consumer Conversations sharing their experiences of accessing health care during the pandemic and expressing their concerns and views about what is still missing the mark.**

This conversation offered a rare moment for the Department, consumer organisations and every day CALD consumers to reflect upon the opportunities and improvements in access or delivery of health care which have been developed during COVID and collectively ask ourselves how we can keep doing this better.

Read the full issues paper here >

Face masks: What more do consumers need to know

Recently the Chief Health Officer confirmed that Queenslanders should wear face masks when we can’t socially distance.  However, wearing face masks continues to be a topic of discussion and confusion amongst consumers.

Eleven consumers from Health Consumers Queensland’s COVID-19 Community of Interest joined Jordan Medlock from the Strategic Communications Branch’s Project Team to explore the issues which are causing concern and identify additional information which would enable consumers to make confident and informed choices about mask wearing as part of their personal and collective COVID-19 protection strategy.

Read the full issues paper here >

A COVID-19 vaccine: Health consumers’ views

Although a vaccine for COVID-19 is not yet available, it’s high on the news agenda this week and keenly anticipated.

According to peer-reviewed research published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, we need up to 80% vaccination to ensure herd immunity.  Yet the results of an Australian study in April showed that 14% of Australian adults would reject or were unsure about having a COVID vaccine. It’s also likely that some people will be ineligible for the vaccine for medical reasons.

This week Health Consumers Queensland asked health consumers from its COVID-19 Community of Interest:

  • How could the population be encouraged to be vaccinated?
  • What would you need to know before deciding whether or not to get a vaccination?
  • What would motivate or stop you from getting one?

Read the full issues paper here >

Consumer engagement in Victoria and NSW: Lessons learned during COVID-19

Here in Queensland, Health Consumers Queensland is uniquely positioned to amplify the consumer voice. We are fortunate to work with a Government, health department and health services that welcome consumer engagement and values the consumer voice.  Importantly, this commitment is matched by action, not just lip service, with consumer/HCQ participation facilitated at almost every level of decision making in health, and our organization being funded to pivot our work to support the response to COVID-19.

We invited the CEOs of our equivalent state health consumer peaks, Danny Vadasz, CEO of Health Issues Centre in Victoria and Anthony Brown from Health Consumers NSW to join a conversation with our CEO Melissa Fox, to share their perspectives on their Government and Health Departments’ engagement with consumers during COVID-19 at our regular Consumer Conversation session on Monday, 10 August 2020.

The views shared by Danny and Anthony made for “a sobering session” and prompted key questions around:

  1. Valuing consumer engagement at every level.
  2. Recognising that a consumer’s lived experience IS data.
  3.  How to be responsive to communities.

> Read the issues paper here.

Encouraging COVID-19 testing throughout Queensland

Testing remains one of Queensland’s best defences against a sustained outbreak of COVID19.   A Consumer Conversation on Tuesday 28 July 2020 focused on the top barriers to testing, how the process can be made easier and what the key messages are that would motivate people to get a COVID-19 test. 

Fear, uncertainty, confusion, mis-interpretation of information and complacency are currently the over-arching barriers to testing across the state.  Consumers are looking for a clear and unambiguous testing pathway which is convenient, supportive, nuanced and needs-focused.

Read the issues paper