News, Updates and What's On

To isolate or not to isolate? How a lockdown in Brisbane affected a couple from Cairns 

Within days of the lockdown in South East Queensland in July 2021 following the first outbreak of the Delta variant, Cairns and Yarrabah also went into lockdown. Having just hosted a Consumer Conversation to hear from consumers across the State during the lockdown in the south-eastern corner, HCQ reached out to consumers and carers from our network in the Far North to find out whether their particular concerns and experiences were reflected in the recommended list of actions in our situation report..  

One carer representative from our network, Deb Robins, took the time to describe her experience of accompanying her husband to Brisbane for hospital treatment during this time. In particular, she highlighted the difficulties people are facing in getting reliable information on discharge when they need care far from home and the need for discharge staff to be fully informed so they can give the correct advice to patients and their families.

Read their story here:

My husband and I have been in North Brisbane for the past month and arrived home just as the lockdown in Cairns was lifted. I had escorted him to Brisbane with some trepidation, not being a medical escort, but he was discharged to travel independently and wanted my support.  He was being monitored and assessed initially for heart valve surgery.  The weeks in Brisbane were filled with innumerable daily tests – some quite invasive. He was also treated medically to improve his overall weak physical condition and boost his heart/lung function to a point where he could survive surgery – which he didn’t reach by the time he was discharged.

Therefore, I was locked down for a handful of days, twice, in my little motel room with kettle, toaster, microwave and walking distance from both his hospitals in Brisbane.  I’m certain the Olympics and of course the variety of programs on the ABC and SBS channels helped, but I exercised 1-2 hours daily, read, crafted, but mostly networked for my health roles.  In the private hospital there were many days when laundry drop off at the hospital entrance was the only visitation allowed.  Of course we could message on the phone after a day of tests, so we understood the greater good of these restrictions. The surgeon assessing him very kindly arranged an exemption for me to attend his rooms which were within the hospital, to help my husband discuss his options and prognosis – that’s when we opted  to be re-assessed for more options with the heart transplant team working out of the public system.

read more…

Are culturally and linguistically diverse consumers having their needs met during COVID-19?

Health Consumers Queensland facilitated a conversation between culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and non-CALD consumers*, NGOs representing the interests of CALD consumers and staff from Queensland Health’s Disability and Multicultural Health Unit who have been leading engagement with CALD communities on the health response to the pandemic, the Social Policy Department, the Deputy Director-General of Corporate Services, the Statewide Lead for COVID-19 for Aged Care and Disability, and the Strategic Communications Branch. In all, more than 40 people were part of this on-line discussion about the issues culturally and linguistically diverse consumers faced in the health system during COVID.

Since April 2020, the Department and stakeholders representing CALD community groups in Queensland have been working together to develop policy and action plans for a COVID-19 response that meets the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse Queenslanders. Throughout this time, Health Consumers Queensland has also been listening to CALD consumers in our frequent Consumer Conversations sharing their experiences of accessing health care during the pandemic and expressing their concerns and views about what is still missing the mark.**

This conversation offered a rare moment for the Department, consumer organisations and every day CALD consumers to reflect upon the opportunities and improvements in access or delivery of health care which have been developed during COVID and collectively ask ourselves how we can keep doing this better.

Read the full issues paper here >

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

eAlert: An inclusive Qld, Treating people who test positive to COVID, and more

An inclusive Queensland matters for all Queenslanders

Health Consumers Queensland was one of eight state-wide organisations who co-hosted the Make Disability Count 2020 State Election Virtual Forum last Thursday, 8 October.

Over 200 people registered to attend and five political parties joined us to answer questions that are important to people with disability, their families and the organisations that support them.

Together with Queenslanders with Disability Network, ADA Australia hosting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network of Queensland, National Disability Services, Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, Community Services Industry Alliance, Queensland Advocacy Inc., and the Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education, we all called on political parties to commit to seven priority policy areas:

  • Independent individual and systemic advocacy
  • Investment in frontline community services
  • Disability leadership, governance and accountability across mainstream services
  • A dedicated Minister for Disability and Inclusion;
  • Human Rights
  • Workforce
  • Sector capacity
  • Inclusive education.

read more…

eAlert: Culturally and linguistically diverse consumers, are you having your needs met during COVID-19?

Welcome back to everyone after the September school holiday break. We hope many of you feel refreshed and revitalized as we head towards the end of this long year.

We kicked off our return to ‘’business as unusual’’ this week by hosting an important conversation with more than 40 people: Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and non-CALD consumers, NGOs representing the interests of CALD consumers including World Wellness Group and the Refugee Health Network, and staff from Queensland Health’s Disability and Multicultural Health Unit, the Social Policy Unit, the Statewide Lead for COVID-19 for Aged Care and Disability and the Strategic Communications Branch.

Since April 2020, the Department and stakeholders representing CALD communities in Queensland have been working together to develop policy and action plans for a COVID-19 response that meets the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse people. Throughout this time, Health Consumers Queensland has also been listening to culturally diverse consumers who have shared their experiences of accessing health care during the pandemic and expressed their concerns and views about what is still missing the mark. read more…

Groundbreaking appointment of consumer representatives to Queensland Health Tier 2 Committees

Health Consumers Queensland is delighted to announce that, for the first time in our public health system’s history, consumers are sitting across almost all the key governance committees in the Department of Health (known as Tier 2 System Advisory Committees).

Eight out of the nine committees have representation from consumers, clinicians and First Nations people as well as an organisational representative from Health Consumers Queensland. The System Management Advisory Committee is the only exception, with a decision by the Chairs to have clinicians and First Nations people on the Tier 2 committee, and consumers on their Tier 3 sub-committees.

Continue reading eAlert >

Face masks: What more do consumers need to know

Recently the Chief Health Officer confirmed that Queenslanders should wear face masks when we can’t socially distance.  However, wearing face masks continues to be a topic of discussion and confusion amongst consumers.

Eleven consumers from Health Consumers Queensland’s COVID-19 Community of Interest joined Jordan Medlock from the Strategic Communications Branch’s Project Team to explore the issues which are causing concern and identify additional information which would enable consumers to make confident and informed choices about mask wearing as part of their personal and collective COVID-19 protection strategy.

Read the full issues paper here >

eAlert: A marathon not a sprint

Do you remember back in April, when Annastacia Palaszczuk was telling Queenslanders that containing COVID-19 was going to be “a marathon, not a sprint”?  Fast forward to the last few weeks in August, we are watching what is unfolding in Victoria and New South Wales, continuing to have concerning cases appear in Queensland and coming to accept that this is not all going to be ‘all over by Christmas’.

Indeed, one consumer remarked how people keep talking about ‘’post-COVID”, when really we all need to be focusing on how the health system and consumers can be supported to maintain and access regular health services and care, alongside sustaining a constant state of readiness for COVID-19 outbreaks, care and containment.

Continue reading eAlert >

Health Consumers Queensland’s Issues Papers ease the burden for consumers

Jessica Bean is an experienced health consumer and a member of both our state-wide network  and COVID-19 Community of Interest group.

Last week we heard her share her thoughts during a focus group with Health and Wellbeing Queensland on the best ways to engage with consumers and she spoke about the importance of our Issues Papers for consumers as an example of best practice.

Continue reading eAlert >

A COVID-19 vaccine: Health consumers’ views

Although a vaccine for COVID-19 is not yet available, it’s high on the news agenda this week and keenly anticipated.

According to peer-reviewed research published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, we need up to 80% vaccination to ensure herd immunity.  Yet the results of an Australian study in April showed that 14% of Australian adults would reject or were unsure about having a COVID vaccine. It’s also likely that some people will be ineligible for the vaccine for medical reasons.

This week Health Consumers Queensland asked health consumers from its COVID-19 Community of Interest:

  • How could the population be encouraged to be vaccinated?
  • What would you need to know before deciding whether or not to get a vaccination?
  • What would motivate or stop you from getting one?

Read the full issues paper here >

A COVID-19 vaccine: What would help you decide?

A vaccine for COVID-19 remains keenly anticipated by many Australians as a way of releasing us from ongoing restrictions and protecting us from infection outbreaks.
According to peer-reviewed research published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, a vaccination rate of 80% is needed to ensure herd immunity to COVID-19.  A motivated population is clearly vital to an immunisation programme’s success, yet the scale, urgency and unknowns of such a programme are causing concern to some health consumers as they consider choosing to have a vaccine if and when one becomes available.

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