News, Updates and What's On

Celebrating consumer appointments to roles across the health system between January and March 2023 

Congratulations to all the consumers and carers from HCQ’s network who have been appointed to consumer partnership roles on long-term, system-wide committees, focus groups or working groups as well as other activities with Queensland Health and other health organisations. 

We received over 100 expressions of interest for 19 opportunities. More than 30 consumer and carer representatives have been appointed to roles so far with some selections still to be finalised. We’ve also seen a strong increase in the numbers of consumers applying for roles who bring an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island, disability, culturally and linguistically diverse or rural and remote perspective and voice. Some of the new roles include:

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Wishing Anne Curtis and Reema Naresh well as they move on to pastures new

In February and March, we said farewell to Anne Curtis, Senior Engagement Consultant and lead of our fee-for-service work and Reema Naresh, Engagement Advisor and our Training Lead as they moved on to explore new opportunities.

Anne Curtis
During her time with Health Consumers Queensland, Anne has always been passionate about the voice of ALL consumers being heard and valued at all levels of the health system.

After joining HCQ in 2015, Anne adapted the Kitchen Table Discussion (KTD) methodology for Health Consumers Queensland in 2018 so consumers could lead conversations with consumers. Since that time, she has empowered many who had never had a voice in healthcare before to lead and participate in consultation on important health issues within their own communities in a safe and supportive environment.

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Introducing the new members of the Health Consumers Collaborative of Queensland

In early May the Health Consumers Collaborative of Queensland met together face to face in Brisbane and online to welcome and onboard its new consumer members.

Our new members come from as far north as the tip of Cape York at Seisia and as far west as Roma. Together with our existing members, the Collaborative’s consumers span the generations, include two First Nations representatives, and consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as well as those who have strong knowledge on international health systems, and are involved in their local Hospital and Health Service. This diversity of consumer perspectives will contribute to the strength and quality of their conversations in session.

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HCQ supports consumers and health staff in Mackay, Rockhampton and Cairns

During February and March 2023, Senior Engagement Advisor, Jo Smethurst and Engagement Advisors, Reema Naresh and Chelsea Gourgaud travelled to Mackay, Rockhampton and Cairns to facilitate tailored braining for Hospital and Health Service consumers, Executive and Board which meets their individual partnering needs.

Chelsea headed to Rockhampton to support staff and consumers and co-facilitate the Consumer and Community Advisory Committee Planning Day with Central Queensland’s Hospital and Health Service Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Executive Director, Donna Cruickshank and Patient Experience and Consumer Engagement Practice Lead, Stacey Butler. 

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Introducing Cassandra Nest, HCQ’s new First Nations Consultant – Engagement and Partnership

Health Consumers Queensland is delighted to introduce Cassandra Nest, HCQ’s new First Nations Consultant – Engagement and Partnership! 

Cassandra or Cas, is a proud Pajong Fish River woman of the Ngunnawal Language group. Cas is a mother to two and midwife by trade.  Born and raised on Bundjalung and Kombumerri Country of Northern NSW and the Gold Coast. Cassandra comes from a long line of healers, Traditional Birth attendants and nurses.  

Cassandra was the first First Peoples graduate of Griffith University’s Bachelor of Midwifery and is currently studying a Master of Primary Maternity care by dissertation which is due to be completed in 2024. 

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HCQ’s Annual Forum 2022

“Inspirational, connected group of passionate people making a difference in healthcare makes the HCQ forum excel. It is fabulous to see expansion and growth in consumer engagement and partnership practise across the state. Well done.” (Forum attendee)

It was wonderful to be finally reunited with so many consumers and health staff and to welcome new faces both online and on the Sunshine Coast for our long-awaited Annual Forum on 13-14 October 2022. 

Held across two days, it gave an opportunity for more than 200 people to gather face to face (and more on-line), to share insights and learn from others, with workshops, panel discussions, presentations and an evening networking event.  

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Consumers tour Seqwater Advanced Water Treatment Plant

In late August 2022, consumer representatives and HCQ network members, Anh Tho Tien and Rajini Eschwarachar Shankar joined our new Project Support Coordinator, Declan Winterton at Seqwater’s Luggage Point Advanced Water Treatment Plant for a tour of its recycled water facility.

The tour is a follow-up to the work HCQ undertook for Seqwater in 2021 which included Kitchen Table Discussions and a short-term communication co-design consumer reference group. Tho and Rajini were involved in the project and were keen to take the offer of a tour of the Seqwater facilities.

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A framework to help consumers and staff work together in healthcare quality improvement takes another step forward!

At the end of 2021, a small research team including two consumers (Elizabeth Miller and Bernadette Tanner), a PhD candidate, Ruth Cox, and her supervisors, Professor Matthew Molineux and Associate Professor Melissa Kendall from Griffith Uni and QEII Hospital shared their Capability Framework for Successful Partnerships in Healthcare Quality Improvement and promised to update readers on any new developments.

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Community input in a genomic health implementation program: perspectives of a Community Advisory Group

Congratulations to Queensland Genomics Community Advisory Group (CAG) on the publication of their article in Frontiers in Genetics online journal.

The article was co-authored by members of the Queensland Genomics Consumer Advisory group (the organisation Queensland Genomics has now wound down), including Dr Erin Evans, HCQ’s Board Chair and the Chair of Queensland Genomics CAG, and some members of HCQ’s network.

It highlights the work of consumers in partnering, leading and delivering consumer-led research about the mainstreaming of genomics to health systems.

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Shyla Mills steps down as CEO of Palliative Care Queensland

HCQ would like to share the news that Shyla Mills is stepping down as CEO of Palliative Care Queensland. She is relocating to Adelaide to be closer to family and to take on the role of CEO of Palliative Care South Australia.

Many consumers and health staff on our network have worked with Shyla over the past five and a half years as well as Anne Curtis, HCQ’s Engagement Consultant – Specific Projects, who leads our fee-for-service work.

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2022 Emergency Care Research Symposium 

The National Health and Medical Research Council’s statement about consumers in research states: “Consumer and community involvement is about research being carried out with or by consumers and community members rather than to, about or for them.”

Held over two days at Gold Coast University Hospital in August, the Emergency Care Research Symposium showcased an array of collaborative and innovative emergency care related research programs.

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