News, Updates and What's On

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health consumers inform their HHS Health Equity Strategies

Health Consumers Queensland is undertaking a project on behalf of the Queensland Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Division supporting consultation with community for participating Hospitals and Health Services.

To date, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health consumers have hosted yarning circles with their community members in Townsville, Mackay, Metro South, West Moreton, Gold Coast and for Children’s Health Queensland. Through the yarning circles, community members are able to share their stories and recommendations to inform their local HHS Health Equity Strategies.
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A mental health care system for everyone

COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on mental health service provision in Queensland like never before, as people grapple with prolonged social isolation, fear and uncertainty, unemployment, restricted access to health care, home-schooling, withdrawal of support and services, and many reporting feeling forgotten by the government and its pandemic responses.

Currently Queensland Health provides mostly acute mental health care services but some consumers consider the scale of the mental health crisis facing the public health system is “another pandemic in itself”.

In every single one of the 24 Consumer conversations we have hosted since March, over 400 consumers have shared their concerns about people’s mental health at this time.

In this week’s Consumer Conversations we asked:

  • What have you learned about the current mental health system during COVID-19?
  • What do you think is working? 
  • What do you think could be improved?

They told us that a prescriptive, inflexible and reactive approach to mental health care is not working – or helping. Consumers want tailored, individualised care and communication and a system which prioritises and values preventative mental health care measures.

Continue reading eAlert >

A mental health system for everyone: Integrated, strong and tailored to our individual needs and circumstances

COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on mental health service provision in Queensland like never before, as people grapple with prolonged social isolation, fear and uncertainty, unemployment, restricted access to health care, home-schooling, withdrawal of support and services, with many reporting feeling forgotten by the government and its pandemic responses.

Currently Queensland Health provides mostly acute mental health care services but some consumers consider the scale of the mental health crisis facing the public health system is “another pandemic in itself”.

Consumers told us that a prescriptive, inflexible and reactive approach to mental health care is not working – or helping. They want tailored, individualised care and communication and a system which prioritises and values preventative mental health care measures.

Ultimately, their vision is for a strong, integrated mental health system for everyone which is well-funded, resourced and staffed by skilled and well-trained professionals.

Read the Issues Paper on the Mental Health System >

COVID-19 Testing: Straightforward, or difficult to access?

The message from Queensland Health is that we need more people tested for COVID-19, but consumer continue to be unclear about eligibility for testing, what testing entails, and what measures need to be taken either side of having a test. Many are reluctant to seek out testing if they are only showing mild symptoms, with the thought of isolation another disincentive.

While the Queensland Health COVID-19 site was given the thumbs-up by many as a good source of fact, inconsistencies between local and state information is compounding uncertainty on what to do. Most agreed that we should look to the tried and true strategies used during natural disasters, with regular centralized government messaging and local radio and news broadcasts nominated as the key vehicles for getting information out to the public.

Read the Issues Paper >

Consumers and clinicians share a healthy appetite for major change

This week we hosted two Consumer Conversations to seek the consumer view of what Queensland Health’s Funding Priorities should be for 2020/2021.  In all, 42 consumers were involved from our our COVID-19 Community of Interest Group, members of the Health Consumers Collaborative of Queensland and our own Consumer Advisory Group (CAG) as well as HHS CAG Leaders and consumer representatives from some of the Statewide Clinical Network Steering Committees.

While talking about the proposed priorities for the next financial year, it was clear that health consumers are ready for some major changes in health. The recent Queensland Clinical Senate meeting also demonstrated a parallel appetite for change by clinicians in the health system too.

Consumers identified major reforms to long-held traditions and ways of addressing health care including:

  • the way patients are categorized for care (not just triaged by clinical need/clinically appropriate wait times, but in the context of complexities in their lives)
  • re-imagining HHS borders to better reflect referral pathways that work for consumers
  • the way healthcare is funded (outcomes, rather than volume)
  • collaborating with consumers to design new models of care, service improvements and funding models as well as when providing them with individual care
  • actively addressing the social and cultural determinants of health and the systems barriers that keep some people in a cycle of poverty and ill-health.

Above all, consumers want fair, equitable and maximum access to health care services for every Queenslander.

Continue reading eAlert >

Harnessing the benefits of telehealth and virtual care

5 June 2020

Rapid expansion of telehealth and virtual care has emerged as one of the positive outcomes from COVID-19. Consumers shared key insights including:

  • Everybody is doing it differently. Let’s make it simpler, easier and less complicated for all consumers and health care providers to use telehealth.
  • Let’s ensure there is public awareness and system-wide acknowledgment of when and where telehealth is inappropriate.
  • Ensure consumers have choice in the way their healthcare is delivered e.g. face-to-face or by telehealth.
  • Virtual care should be based on clear criteria, consumer choice and be clinically appropriate.
  • Now is clearly the time to harness the potential of telehealth and address the gaps and inequities of this model of health service delivery

Read the Issues Paper >

Qld Health funding priorities 2020/2021

While talking about funding priorities for the next financial year, it was clear that health consumers have an appetite for major changes in health.  Consumers have suggested major reforms to long-held ways of providing health care.  Identified reforms are:

  • to the way patients are categorized for care
  • re-imagining HHS borders
  • funding healthcare
  • collaborating with consumers to design new models of care, service improvements and
  • funding models to actively address the social and cultural determinants of health and the systems barriers that keep some people in a cycle of poverty and ill-health.

 

Read the Issues Paper >

As Queensland looks forward, who is being left behind?

At the Queensland Clinical Senate meeting on Monday, clinicians and consumers from across the state examined the innovations and improved models of care which have come out of the response to COVID-19, and made recommendations about what should be kept and developed beyond this pandemic.

As the public health system starts to look forward, Health Consumers Queensland has also been continuing to talk with consumers this week about who is being left behind.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequalities, inequities and discrimination in the healthcare system and our daily lives so we asked our COVID-19 Community of Interest Group, members of the Health Consumers Collaborative of Queensland and our own Consumer Advisory Group (CAG) as well as HHS CAG Leaders and Engagement Advisers:

  • Who is being left behind?
  • Why are they being left behind?
  • What can the system do and what can consumers do to address some of these issues?

Whilst many Queenslanders are now starting to enjoy life with some recent relaxations to restrictions, consumers and advisers identified over 25 groups of people whose health and/or social circumstances mean they are still unable to leave their homes or are particularly vulnerable to infection and the effects of prolonged isolation.

Continue reading eAlert >

Priority Queensland populations – consumers and carers at risk of being left behind

19 May

Consumers identified health consumers and carers at risk of being left behind during COVID-19. This helped form their views on who should be included in priority Queensland populations and what healthcare should look like for them. Consumers also saw the value of focusing on the commonalities between these groups as their challenges may be similar e.g. accessing healthcare, navigating between health care services and health literacy.

Read the Issues Paper >

Does health care feel safe right now?

Queensland Health has just released two new videos and key messaging, which consumers and the team here recently reviewed, to reassure the public that hospitals are open and ready to provide safe and essential care. Their release comes after staff raised concerns about patients not attending scheduled appointments or going to hospital when they are very unwell or in need of urgent care.

Experienced consumers had already highlighted the lack of information for consumers about what hospitals were doing to make them feel safe. Good communication prior to a visit is important. Once there, consumers then feel more comfortable about the practices in place to ensure their safety. It is encouraging to see that the videos have incorporated this feedback and acknowledge the confusion caused by the changes in public messages.

In order to assist Queensland Health to deepen its understanding of what matters to patients and continue to build renewed trust and confidence, this week we asked our COVID-19 Community of Interest, CAG Leaders, members of the Health Consumers Collaborative of Queensland and our own Consumer Advisory Group if healthcare feels safe to them right now in public hospitals and health service settings. Specifically:

    • Are measures such as PPE and distancing enough to make you feel protected? Are they being used adequately in healthcare you have experienced recently?
    • Are distancing guidelines being followed by others, or being enforced by the healthcare service?
    • After being in lockdown for weeks, do you feel confident to go out in public to seek healthcare?

Continue reading eAlert >

Events

For QH Staff: Fundamentals of Consumer Partnerships

21 November,12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Get a deeper understanding of consumer partnerships in health. Understand your role as health staff ...

For QH Staff: Fundamentals of Consumer Partnerships

22 November,12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Get a deeper understanding of consumer partnerships in health. Understand your role as health staff ...

Fundamentals of Consumer Partnerships for Health Consumers

23 November,12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
These training sessions are co-presented by one of Health Consumers Queensland’s Engagement Ad...

Fundamentals of Consumer Partnerships for Health Consumers

24 November,12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
These training sessions are co-presented by one of Health Consumers Queensland’s Engagement Ad...