eNews from Health Consumers Queensland
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eNews May 2018

In this issue:

From the CEO

One of the biggest components of the work we do here at Health Consumers Queensland is educating and empowering consumers and health professionals to truly understand what good consumer engagement means.  The last couple of months have as always been incredibly busy but also very productive as we continue to work with and support people to make consumer engagement part of the ‘every day’ of health and not just ‘some day’.
The team have been travelling far and wide to deliver training to consumers and health services staff.  We are also proud to have sent off our own Leonie Sanderson and consumer representative Kathy Moodie to the Netherlands to co-deliver a workshop with Queensland Health, Education Queensland and Destravis showcasing the engagement continuing to be done around the Adolescent Extended Treatment Facility. The International Conference on Integrated Care was a wonderful opportunity to share what can happen when consumers and carers are respected and involved at all stages of a complex and challenging body of work.  Well done to all involved.
We are all counting down the days now until our biggest event on the calendar, the 2018 Annual Forum on 14-15 June.  We have had a great response for registrations and are anticipating welcoming 330 delegates this year.  Sponsorship from the Clinical Excellence Division of Queensland Health has enabled 32 consumers and carers from outside Brisbane to attend (more again are being given travel support to attend by their local health organisation).  This gives consumers and carers from regional areas the opportunity to learn and network with their peers.
Last month we met with the new Queensland Minister for Health Steven Miles and showcased the impact of the work we do with consumers and the health sector.  We look forward to continuing to build a positive and productive relationship with the Minister and his advisors.
Health Consumers Queensland continues to nurture a wide range of working relationships and partnerships with several key health organisations.  Our most recent Queensland Health Collaborative meeting was a great example of this as we partnered with Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) to bring together key NGOs and a number of senior representatives from Queensland Health, Department of Communities and the National Disability Insurance Agency, to delve deeper into the NDIS and its impact on consumers.  You can read more in the latest Collaborative Communique here.
This month Anne Curtis finishes up in her full time role as Senior Engagement Advisor.  Anne has been with us for three years and has been instrumental in building the profile of the organisation and many of the relationships that underpin much of our work today.  Her consumer-focused, high level strategic advice on how to embed meaningful partnerships and the importance of health literacy has been much valued by the health organisations she has worked with.  We are appreciative that Anne will still provide this support through our organisation, continuing on in a part-time consultant capacity on some important projects.
I am pleased to announce that stepping into Anne’s shoes is our own Senior Project Officer Jo Smethurst.  Jo brings years of experience as both a consumer representative and advocate, and experience working for Health Consumers Queensland delivering training and strategic advice to health services.  With the move comes an opportunity for a new team member to join our ranks, with recruitment underway for a new Project Officer.
Melissa Fox

Conflict of Interest Workshop

We held a pilot consumer workshop earlier this month in Brisbane which provoked some very lively debate amongst the consumers attending.  

The Conflict of Interest Workshop was facilitated by two internationally respected academics with expertise in this area, Dr Ray Moynihan from Bond University, and Professor Lisa Bero from University of Sydney.

Consumers learned about conflicts of interest arising from pharmaceutical company sponsorship, and how they can affect medical practice and research.  Consumers were introduced to practical online tools for researching payments to medical practitioners and consumer groups, and conducted enthusiastic research in the workshop activities.

Graduate Certificate wrap-up

Twenty participants from the second-only Graduate Certificate in Consumer and Community Engagement completed their four-day training in Brisbane this month.  The participants were from across the state and various HHS’s, PHN's, Department of Health and the Office of the Health Ombudsman.
Our cohort completed their four days of face-to-face training, the first part of their work towards gaining their Graduate Certificate.  Participants came from all corners of the state to take up the opportunity to develop their consumer and community engagement skills at a higher level.

Congratulations to everyone involved and many thanks to Anne Curtis for facilitating the course on behalf of Health Consumers Queensland!

Clinical Excellence Showcase

We received a number of free registrations from the Clinical Excellence Division to attend their two-day Clinical Excellence Showcase last month.
This enabled eight consumers and three HCQ staff to attend.  It was a great chance for consumers to learn more about the health system from leaders in the Department and across HHS's, and to build and connect with staff from HHS and the Department from across Queensland.
Hamza Vayani, a consumer member of the Queensland Health Consumers Collaborative gave a consumer reflection towards the end of the second day.
Jim Madden and Margaret Toleman, consumer representatives with the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service came to Brisbane for the day, with Consumer and Community Engagement Officer of the DDHHS, Donna Lucas.

Staff and consumer training

Consumer and health staff training sessions have been held throughout Queensland in recent months, from Mt Isa to Bundaberg and Brisbane.
Chelsea and Melissa spent two days with the Wide Bay HHS in early April to run workshops in an effort to meaningfully boost community engagement.  WBHHS Consumer Engagement Officer Christine Ilett said consumer engagement activities at WBHHS happened in various ways, including with individual patients and their family and carers; through participation in quality standards committees, Community Reference Groups and services design; and through public consultation.
“The workshops were part of the Board and HHS’s commitment to partnering with consumers and improving our capacity for meaningful engagement,” Christine said.
“The first workshop was with members of the Board, Executive, Rural Directors of Nursing and Community Reference Group Chairs.  The following day, a longer workshop was conducted with other representatives from the Executive, managers, the Primary Health Network, governance and consumers.  “It was valuable to hear about their journey and draw on their experiences.”
Christine said there were plans to conduct further education, engagement and interaction to ensure compliance with Standard 2: Partnering with Consumers.

HCQ’s Chelsea Gourgaud (far left) and WBHHS’s Christine Ilett (far right) are joined by local consumers as part of recent consumer engagement training.
Reema was involved in a great consumer-led training workshop with Metro North HHS and Brisbane North PHN in April.  The 24 attendees were a mix of experienced and new consumer representatives.  Reema was on hand to support the facilitation of discussions and conversations where experienced consumers shared their learnings and strategies with the newer consumers.  The workshop was very well received, with everyone appreciating the opportunity to hear from those with experience.  It was a great networking opportunity for the consumers from the two different health organisations.  There was a great deal of learnings and experiences shared over cups of tea and a delicious morning tea provided by the MNHHS Engagement Team.
Jo was recently in Mt Isa to provide a day of training for staff from across the North West HHS, and a second session of training for consumers from across the region.  People travelled from Normanton and Julia Creek to attend the sessions.  Unfortunately Cyclone Nora had an impact and some people from Mornington Island could not attend.
Jo also saw the first RACQ LifeFlight helicopter landing on the new helipad at the Mt Isa Hospital.  It lands very close to Emergency so it’s great for health consumers in the north west of Queensland.

Consumer networking sessions

Queenslanders with Disability Network kindly hosted the April Consumer Networking Session at their beautiful Spring Hill office.  In this session the QDN educators discussed NDIS, followed by a Q&A.  The session reached capacity booking within three days, with 15 people attending, indicating high interest in this topic.
Consumer networking sessions will continue to be held every second month in Brisbane.  These sessions support peer-led mentoring, provide an opportunity to share achievements, trouble-shoot with each other on issues that relate across health sectors and geographic areas, and a chance to hear from experts when the group wants.
Dates for our upcoming consumer networking sessions are:
  • July 18 – 9.30-11.30am – National Digital Health Agency opt-out
  • Sept 18 – 1.00-3.00pm – topic to be decided
  • Nov 20 – 5.00-7.00pm – topic to be decided.
We have also scheduled monthly webinar sessions from July for consumers, particularly those living in rural and remote areas, to ensure everyone has a chance to be involved in developing their knowledge and experience.  Stay tuned for more details about dates and topics.

2018 Annual Forum: The Evolution of Engagement

Health Consumers Queensland’s signature event on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 June.
Click here for the Annual Forum agenda.  We have an exciting two-day format this year featuring:
  • The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
  • Queensland Genomics Health Alliance
  • Brook Red – Voices for Change Workshop
  • Health Consumers Queensland – Fundamentals of Consumer Engagement Training
  • Inaugural Health Consumers Queensland Consumer Awards
  • Key note speakers and abstract presentations
  • Plenty of networking opportunities.
Our team will be on standby throughout the day to discuss our consumer engagement services as well as providing insight into the future of engagement.
This ticketed event also includes tea and coffee, morning tea, a delicious buffet lunch as well as a networking cocktail party – and that’s just the first day!  You will have the opportunity to meet and engage with representatives from our event sponsors – Queensland Health, Clinical Excellence Division and Queensland Genomics Health Alliance.  Throughout the event we will also have My Health for Life providing express health checks.  All attendees will leave with a conference bag and a special gift, reflecting the evolution of engagement.  See you there!

Opt-out dates announced for My Health Record

Australian consumers now know the dates of when they will be able to opt-out of having a My Health Record created for them.  The first date that consumers can opt-out is 16 July and ends on 15 October 2018.  A month after that, every Australian who has not opted out will have a record created for them.
In a media release issued earlier this month, Consumers Health Forum CEO Leanne Wells said she welcomed the announcement, as it would give Australians time to learn more about My Health Record and to consider whether they should opt-out of having a record created for them.  Read the media release ‘Decision time approaches on My Health Record’ in full here.

ADA Australia launches new toolkit: My Rights Qld

ADA Australia, in partnership with Legal Aid Queensland, is pleased to announce the launch of My Rights Qld, a new toolkit that supports people to better understand and exercise their rights.
ADA Australia says it identified a resource gap for people with disability looking for help to protect their rights.  Information about how to seek help, or complain about issues impacting them, was often scattered across multiple websites and written in jargon-heavy language.  To address this, My Rights Qld was created, providing an online resource full of easy-to-access information to help streamline the pathways for people with disability to resolve issues they may be having.
My Rights Qld covers a wide range of topics including the NDIS, substitute decision-making, health, mental health, housing, discrimination and much more.
My Rights Qld is accessible from a phone, tablet or computer and can be found at

LCCH Patient and Family Travel Project

Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Services is partnering with Translink and AirTrain to commence the Patient and Family Travel Project which will offer unlimited free public transport and free AirTrain tickets to approved patients and their families.  The Translink and AirTrain trial will run for a three month period scheduled to end on Friday 22 June 2018.
Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital (LCCH) patients admitted with a length of stay three days or greater and their families may be eligible to participate in the Translink goEvent card trial.  The goEvent cards offer unlimited free public transport for two family members for the length of the patient’s inpatient admission.
In addition to the goEvent cards, free AirTrain tickets will be available to a patient and one parent-guardian when travelling to and from the LCCH from rural and remote areas.  This trial is in addition to the existing Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme.  During the three month trial, patients travelling to Brisbane by airplane will be offered free AirTrain tickets from the Brisbane Airport to South Bank train station.  For more information or to request an application form, email

Your Input into eNews

Do you know of a consumer engagement story that we could share in this e-News?  We welcome your input.

If you have a great consumer story, or anything else you’d like us to include in the e-News, please contact Health Consumers Queensland at or call us on (07) 3012 9090.

Copyright © 2018 Health Consumers Queensland, All rights reserved.

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