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 supports and informs Queenslanders around COVID-19.
Queensland Health Resources
With our borders re-opening, COVID-19 will begin to circulate in Queensland, despite our high vaccination rates. Now is the time to Get COVID-Ready.
Queensland Health has produced a range of resources to help consumers prepare for the expected increase in COVID cases. Topics include preparing your family, what happens if you test positive and where to get help. There are sections with specific information for people living in regional areas, First Nations communities, residents of Aged Care facilities and more.
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.
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
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.
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