COVID-19 Response

At Health Consumers Queensland we have never seen the health system work this hard and this collaboratively to care for its consumers.

The challenges for Health Consumers Queensland and Queensland Health mean we need to work closely together to ensure consumers are brought in at the right time to influence plans, and public-facing communications and directives.

Here we update you on the latest work with consumers and staff and share how consumer input is impacting how Queensland Health is supporting and informing Queenslanders around COVID-19.

Join the COVID-19 Community of Interest

Health Consumers Queensland has been having regular video-based Consumer Conversations about the Queensland public health system’s response to COVID-19 with groups of health consumers and carers across the state. To take part in these Conversations, join our COVID-19 Community of Interest

A holiday message to our wonderful health consumers, carers and health staff across Queensland

Finally, we are at the end of this never-ending year.

As news started to filter through at this same time last year of a concerning new virus, few of us could have foreseen that COVID-19 would go on to wreak havoc and heartbreak across the globe on such a massive scale.

We know that in many ways we are ‘lucky’ here in Queensland but we are also aware that in order to contain the virus we have had to bear the consequences of strict and sometimes painful restrictions. You may have lost a loved one and been unable to attend their funeral. You may have welcomed a new baby into the world without being able to share the joy and receive support in those early days. You may have been stranded in Australia, have a precarious visa status or be homeless, and have felt abandoned. You may have felt overwhelmed by having to work harder than you’ve ever worked whilst home-schooling your children or you may have lost your job or your business and be fearful of what the future holds.

This year has forced us to dig deep and tap into reserves of fortitude, resilience and adaptability that we never knew we had. In our separation, isolation and darkest moments, we have needed connection – to be seen, heard and considered – more than ever. And we’ve used our ability to innovate or be resourceful so that we can continue to reach out to our loved ones, our friends, our colleagues and people who can support us. read more…

Going the extra mile in 2020

From a sombre starting point at the onset of lockdown when the Health Consumers Queensland team were faced with the prospect of COVID-19 significantly impacting the work of the many wonderful health consumers on our network as well as our engagement partners at Queensland Health, we are instead ending the year able to celebrate extraordinary growth across the health engagement space with you all.

We have never seen such incredible numbers. And we are so proud of how hard we have all worked this year to ensure consumer voices are heard when key decisions are being made – going the extra mile time and time again to achieve this. Thank you to everyone involved and a special thanks to our extraordinary team:

Melissa Fox, Chief Executive Officer
A key part of Melissa Fox’s role this year has been to strongly advocate for consumer involvement in all parts of the health system. She sits on key committees and decision-making groups and has been a true and strong voice ensuring consumers are involved in key decision-making.

Indeed, without Melissa’s advocacy early in March at a large system wide forum with representatives from Queensland Health, including the Chief Health Officer and the Director-General, where she identified the potential consequences of Queensland’s health system not engaging swiftly and meaningfully with consumers and the community, the voice of consumers may not have been heard to the extent they have. “Speak up even when your voice shakes”, is a phrase that seems quite a good fit for Melissa this year. She’s been a fearsome leader and we’ve achieved what we have largely because of her determination to ensure consumers are heard. Thank you. read more…

eAlert: Looking back and looking forward with consumers from our COVID-19 Community of Interest

2020 will go down as the year when consumers in Queensland stood shoulder to shoulder with their public health system thanks to the efforts of so many committed and passionate consumers and dedicated consumer champions within Queensland Health.

So please forgive us if we shed quite a few happy tears during our final Consumer Conversation for the year on Wednesday. Fourteen consumers, Health Consumers Queensland team members and Dr Alex Markwell, Chair of the Queensland Clinical Senate and a tireless consumer champion who supported our bid to be around the table at the beginning of COVID-19 and has partnered meaningfully with us throughout this time, had much to celebrate.

Together we shared our perspectives on the incredible HCQ Covid-19 Community of Interest and reflected upon the impact that the conversations, consultations and discussions held during this extraordinary time in all our lives.

Continue reading eAlert >

2020: the year when consumers in Queensland stood shoulder to shoulder with their public health system

2020 will go down as the year when consumers in Queensland stood shoulder to shoulder with their public health system thanks to the efforts of so many committed and passionate consumers and dedicated consumer champions within Queensland Health.

So please forgive us if we shed quite a few happy tears during our final Consumer Conversation for the year on Wednesday.  There was so much to celebrate by the fourteen consumers, Health Consumers Queensland team members and Dr Alex Markwell, Chair of the Queensland Clinical Senate and a tireless consumer champion who supported our bid to be around the table at the beginning of COVID-19 and has partnered meaningfully with us throughout this time.

Together we all shared our perspectives on the incredible Health Consumers Queensland Covid-19 Community of Interest and reflected upon the impact that the conversations, consultations and discussions held during this extraordinary time in all our lives.

The COVID-19 Community of Interest and our online Consumer Conversations were established almost overnight through existing Health Consumers Queensland networks to enable rapid, accessible and inclusive consumer consultation on unprecedented challenges for the health system..

Over 600 consumers and observers/speakers from Queensland Health have attended 24 Consumer conversations since the end of March. Based on what you told us about what was and wasn’t working in the public health system, you trusted us to put together 22  Issues Papers and we shared these across the Department and all the Hospitals and Health Services to inform the response to COVID-19. read more…

Consumer article: Consumer co-researchers making a difference: and a call to action for occupational therapists

New findings following a study on consumer involvement in occupational therapy health-related research have revealed that comprehensive consumer-researcher partnerships may not be common-place in occupational therapy research in Australia.

The research team from Griffith University, QE11 and PA Hospitals included three academic researchers and two consumer co-researchers. One of the consumers, Elizabeth Miller, is a member of the HCQ Consumer Network, and the other is Bernadette Tanner. Together with the research team, they reviewed the current status of consumer engagement in occupational therapy health-related research which was published in the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal over the past 5 ½ years.

Of the 123 eligible papers, 48 included various types of consumer engagement, but only two involved consumers collaboratively, or in-depth, across all the research phases of preparation, execution and translation.

Four themes which demonstrate the key philosophies of enabling and empowering consumers and communities in research emerged from this scoping review –

  • Parity is essential in research partnerships
  • It’s important to know the ‘Who, What, When, How, and So What’ of consumer involvement
  • Consumer engagement must be a two-way process – not a dead-end street, and
  • We must meet the challenge of being diverse and inclusive

Consumer involvement in research is becoming an ethical, political and moral imperative, and this study verified that collaboration with two consumer co-researchers in finalising data analysis, interpreting results and reporting outcomes added a diverse and valuable perspective. It also highlighted the need for training and development of both health researchers and consumers in order to build capability to create meaningful partnerships.

Elizabeth said, “Taking part in this research process over the past year has been a rewarding, stretching and fulfilling experience, and I would strongly encourage other consumers to become engaged in research, if and when the opportunity arises. I’ve enjoyed the genuine co-learning that’s taken place, with our research team being committed to an authentic partnership. It was also exciting that our paper was accepted for publication.

Along with the learning we’ve had lots of fun and laughter together, and I’m now looking forward to the next exciting phase of our research … watch this space!”

Read the paper >

eAlert: Why Queensland’s consumer partnerships during COVID-19 are standing out

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia has recognised Queensland’s lead on consumer engagement and influence in the health system’s COVID-19 response after publishing a leading article by Melissa Fox, CEO of Health Consumers Queensland in their latest eJournal.

In the article, Melissa shares the exceptional outcomes of the partnerships between consumers and the health system which grew in strength, trust and influence from a faltering start at a very challenging time.

The peak national consumer organisation said, ” A standout has been Health Consumers Queensland which, during COVID, has formed working links with the State’s Health Department to develop consumer-effective policies, promoting online engagement with consumers to alert government on a range of areas including delayed access to health care, advice on testing and face masks.

Continue reading eAlert >

eAlert: Watershed commitment for consumer engagement in deciding funding priorities

At this week’s Consumer Conversation on how consumers can have a seat at the decision-making table to influence funding priorities, 27 consumers welcomed a commitment from Nick Steele, the Deputy Director General of the Healthcare Purchasing and System Performance Division at Queensland Health which manages a $16bn budget, to approach the Leadership Board about involving consumers from the start in the tough decisions which need to be made over the next five years.

Continue reading eAlert >

eAlert: Consumer priorities and solutions for the health system over the next four years

Following the re-election of the Labor State Government on Saturday, 31 October 2020, Health Consumers Queensland was encouraged to see 20 consumers from our Community of Interest (and welcome new faces) at our Consumer Conversation this week to set out your priorities and solutions for the public health system during the next four years. A further 48 consumers have completed an online survey and we thank you all for expressing your views with such clarity and purpose.

You were quick to praise Queensland Health for its COVID-19 response and the way it has listened to the consumer voice. Many support the innovative models of care which were adopted during the past eight months including telehealth and care including maternity care and hospital care delivered at home or in community settings.

You would like the Government to build on these achievements and innovations to ensure that all Queenslanders have access to quality care. The key priorities identified by consumers are as follows:

Continue reading eAlert >

Please complete Health Consumers Queensland’s Annual Survey

Health Consumers Queensland’s Annual Survey for 2019-2020 is now available for all health consumers and carers and health staff on our state-wide network to complete.

Your responses will enable Health Consumers Queensland to continue to improve and develop our services and advocacy to ensure that consumer partnerships are a powerful, meaningful and integral part of the way the health system in Queensland designs and delivers its policies, services and outcomes.

This year has presented more challenges, opportunities and innovations for our public health care system and for consumer partnerships than at any other time in our history. Although our survey touches on our work during COVID-19, we will soon be commencing a more in-depth external evaluation of the roles of consumers in supporting the response to COVID-19.

Our Annual Survey is open from today until Monday 23 November and should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Click on the button below to start.

If you would like assistance completing the survey please contact us on 07 3012 9090 or email [email protected]

Thank you for your time and support.

Start survey >

eAlert: What do consumers need to feel safe in our public health system?

Thank you to the many consumers and carers, and Dr Jillann Farmer, the Deputy Director-General of Clinical Excellence Queensland who contributed to such a powerful and open Consumer Conversation about feeling safe in our public health system this week.

We heard loud and clear how much safety matters to all of us who access health care. We also learned that what it looks, feels, sounds and tastes like for each of us is so unique – and extends far beyond a single perspective of clinical safety.

You shared what safety means to you if you identify as LGBTIQ, if you are from a culturally or linguistically diverse background and no one speaks your language, if you are challenging a senior clinician, or a carer having to point out a problem with the care of a loved one, if you have to invoke Ryan’s Rule or another review / complaint protocol, or if you feel very unwell or vulnerable.

Continue reading eAlert