10 October 2018 Sorry is a Good First Step
Peak consumer health groups around Australia have welcomed Health Minister Greg Hunt’s apology to women whose lives have been severely impacted by trans vaginal mesh implants.
“We congratulate the Minister for recognising that these women have waited too long for validation from a system that treated them as unreliable witnesses to their own pain and suffering.” “But ‘sorry’ is just a good first step. It doesn’t in itself deliver a happy ending.”
While the government has supported 12 of the 13 recommendations of the Senate’s Inquiry into TVM, half of these are supported in principle rather than in substance. In fact the only tangible initiative is the announcement of a Clinical Quality Register for urogynaelogical procedures and even that commitment is capped at “considering the feasibility” of establishing such a register.
Glaringly absent is any new funding to resource integrated care pathways for affected women.
“We are concerned that State and territory support for mesh affected women has to date been inconsistent and patchy with attempts at meaningful co-design of care pathways happening only in a small number of states.
“These women must be central to the design of appropriately resourced and compassionate, multidisciplinary care that includes access to removal by skilled clinicians, pain management and psychological support. We call upon COAG to direct the states and territories to work together to ensure a nationally consistent service response to women’s healthcare needs.
“While the federal Health Minister has kicked the mesh can down the road to the States he is also calling for system reform through institutional self-regulation. Expecting the various bodies that failed their duty of care to pick up their game without addressing their accountability is a forlorn expectation.”
“Further expecting the TGA to improve its adverse event reporting is at odds with the fact that they have registered 364 events to date compared with the 1,000 women who are parties to class action and the 2,400 women who have reported their experiences directly to consumer health groups. “The Minister needs to act decisively on the question of credentialing surgeons and on mandating informed consent (70% of affected women did not give informed prior consent to their procedure). While we applaud the few substantive initiatives announced in this response, a reliance on nonbinding guidelines and self-regulation by bodies that have failed to self-regulate will not wish the problems of mesh away.
For comment and further information contact:
Melissa Fox (Health Consumers Queensland) 04048 2716 / 07 3012 9090
Danny Vadasz (Health Issues Centre, Victoria) 03 8676 9050
Anthony Brown (Health Consumers New South Wales) 02 9986 1082
Julia Overton (HCA SA) 08 8231 4169 Pip Brennan (Health Consumers WA) 08 9221 3422
Darlene Cox (ACT HCCA) 02 6230 7800
The Senate have released their report into transvaginal mesh.
Joint State/Territory Peaks Media Release
Vindication for mesh injured women: but suspend mesh until after audit results
Australia’s state and territory based health consumer organisations have welcomed the recognition of the extent and impact of harm to women, and the recommendations contained in the report from the Senate Inquiry into transvaginal mesh implants released yesterday. But they say they hoped the report had gone further.
“We are very pleased that the Senate’s recommendations reflecting our calls to strengthen provisions for informed consent, only using mesh as a last resort, requiring mandatory reporting of complications, establishing a register (which should be retrospective and for all transvaginal mesh devices) and having the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care do an audit of transvaginal mesh procedures in Australia. The Commission must be resourced to do this in a timely manner and the audit should also include procedures done by private specialists” said state and territory consumer peaks spokesperson Melissa Fox, CEO of Health Consumers Queensland.
“However until the community sees this accurate, retrospective data we won’t know just how many women have been harmed by all types of mesh including POP, tapes and slings. We are disappointed that a more cautious approach wasn’t taken, to recommend the suspension in use of all mesh until the data is in to establish their safety and efficacy. These devices will continue to be implanted in women in hospitals across Australia tomorrow, and not one more woman should be unwittingly subjected to this high-stakes surgical intervention until we can be assured of their safety”, said Ms Fox. (more…)
Young people’s voices the key to improving youth mental health services: PDF
Health Consumers Queensland is advocating for increased involvement of young people and their parents/carers to improve mental health services for children and adolescents across Queensland.
“Sadly, there are too many stories like that of Murray Benton and his family who shared their situation on social media last weekend”, said Melissa Fox, CEO of Health Consumers Queensland.
“Families report profound challenges in helping their children find the care that they need, when they need it, from a health professional they trust, and in a location that is accessible to them”.
“Improving access to mental health services for young people is a high priority and needs to remain a key Queensland Government focus. It is an area of high need for support across the state, both at a strategic level and an operational level”.
“Input from young Queenslanders who use mental health services and their loved ones and carers is key to the development of better services”, she said.
Health Consumers Queensland has been a key partner in the Queensland Government project to deliver outcomes based on recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry into the closure of Barrett Adolescent Centre. The partnership has resulted in the inclusion of young people, carers and families at all levels of the project. The result so far has been an unprecedented approach to designing a new youth mental health facility, to be built at the Prince Charles Hospital, commencing later this year.
For more information on this project, go to: http://www.hcq.org.au/our-work/barrett-inquiry/
Media contact: Melissa Fox, CEO, Health Consumers Queensland 0404 882 716
Next year, Health Consumers Queensland’s Annual Forum will be held over two days Thursday 14 until Friday 15 June 2018 at the Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane with the theme of “The next generation of partnering”.
Health Consumers Queensland’s signature event will have an exciting new two-day format, featuring:
- Training workshops for health staff and consumers and carers
- Speed networking
- Inaugural Health Consumers Queensland’s Consumer Awards Evening
- A wide range of presentations showcasing Queensland- wide best practice, consumer and community engagement
We look forward to welcoming health consumers and carers, Queensland Health staff, Hospital and Health Service staff, Primary Health Networks, consumer and community organisations, researchers and health leaders from across Queensland to share learnings about “The next generation of partnering”.
Further details, including a program outline, call for abstracts, consumer travel assistance applications and how to register, are coming soon.
For more information email [email protected]
Women who have had mesh surgically implanted to treat vaginal prolapse or urinary incontinence are invited to respond to this survey from Australia’s state, territory and national peak consumer groups, including Health Consumers Queensland. Your experiences will be vital to inform a joint Senate submission being drafted by our organizations.
(Note that mesh can also be referred to as tape, a sling, or TVT)
This survey is now closed. Health Issues Centre would like to thank all of the women who have bravely shared their experiences of pelvic mesh implants. We will continue working on behalf of all mesh injured women. You can follow updates on http://www.facebook.com/UnderstandingPelvicMesh .
Information sheet on transvaginal mesh
Story from The Project on transvaginal mesh implants
The Project’s page with further information, links & statements (please note that they currently have the incorrect address listed for the Qld complaints body, the correct address being http://www.oho.qld.gov.au/)
Information from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare
We have partnered with the Health Issues Centre in Victoria to provide the Graduate Certificate in Consumer and Community Engagement course that has been tailored for Queensland.
This four-day course is aligned with the NSQHS – Standard 2 and is for staff working in health services and other health-related organisations. It is designed for quality managers, clinical team leaders, consumer engagement coordinators and staff, government officers and others seeking training and national accreditation.
This accredited program will be run over four (4) days on Tuesday 20 June – Wednesday 21 June, and Tuesday 11 July – Wednesday 12 June, 2017.
Each day will run from 9.30am – 4.30pm.
Read More >
Health Consumers Queensland is pleased to announce the call for abstracts are now open for the 2017 Annual Forum!
We invite presenters to submit abstracts for presentations focusing on the main theme: Power and Passion: Culture change though consumer engagement and partnerships.
Call for Abstracts closes 10 January 2017.
Full abstract guidelines and template can be found here: PDF or Word Document.
< Visit 2017 Forum Page
Supporting Queensland consumers and health services to partner for better health outcomes:PDF
A health system that places health consumers and carers at the heart of the system in a true partnership with those who provide the care is the driving force for Health Consumers Queensland and the Queensland Government.
On Tuesday 24th November, Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services, The Honorable Cameron Dick will officially open the new office of Queensland’s peak health consumer organisation, Health Consumers Queensland.
“We fund and support Health Consumers Queensland because we believe it’s good for the health system and health consumers for Queenslanders to have a strong voice in how Queensland’s health services are delivered,” said Mr Dick.
“The importance of the valuable partnership between Queensland Health and Health Consumers Queensland allows consumers to participate in the planning of health services and the development of health policy leading to health services that better meet the needs of the community.
“Health Consumers Queensland is a place Queensland Health staff can look to for advice, training and support in developing their consumer and community engagement strategies.
“It has skilled, knowledgeable staff to provide training and consultation.
“There is a growing body of evidence that engagement with health consumers is essential in lifting outcomes for patients and in improving community health overall,” said Mr Dick.
The Government has committed three years funding to the organisation to enable increasing numbers of health consumers and families to have a real say in how public health services are planned and delivered.
Health Consumers Queensland General Manager, Melissa Fox said everyday health consumers, carers and their families are providing input into service delivery and design through avenues such as patient feedback and complaints processes, or as members of consumer advisory committees and as independent consumer representatives. “Our role is to take that involvement to the next level by developing the skills of those wanting to have a voice and we will do that through training and skills development programs, and maximizing opportunities for consumer representation at all levels of the health system.”
“We are also working with the Hospitals and Health Services (HHS) to identify their needs in relation to staff training and providing strategic advice on effective consumer partnership.”
Melissa has seen first-hand from her own consumer representative roles, how valuable the partnerships between consumers and clinicians are in creating healthier people and communities. “We are working towards consumers being recognised and valued as leaders in health decision-making for their own healthcare as well as at a policy and systems level.”
Health Consumers Queensland Network member and carer representative Jan Kealton believes many people would like to speak out but do not believe they have the skills to do so effectively. “As members of Health Consumers Queensland, we have easier access to training and resources, and can play a much greater collaborative role in ensuring our health services are designed and delivered to better meet the needs of our community and ensure the best possible outcomes.“
“It’s wonderful that, with this overt support, more of us can be empowered to take greater responsibility for our own health outcomes and those of our families.“
The launch will be held at Health Consumers Queensland’s office at 9.00am, Tuesday 24th November on Level 9, 217 George Street, Brisbane.
Health Consumers Queensland is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered health promotion charity.
Media contacts: Andrew Fraser (Minister’s office) or [email protected]
Melissa Fox 0404 882 716 or 3012 9090 (Health Consumers Queensland)