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eAlert: Enabling vital partnerships to ensure the COVID-19 health response meets the needs of all Queenslanders

In this issue:

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.

The conversation offered a rare moment for all of us to come together to reflect upon the opportunities and improvements in access or delivery of health care for CALD consumers which have been developed during COVID, explore the barriers and challenges -  and collectively ask ourselves how can we keep doing this better. 

Some of the learnings from the conversation included:
  • Finding a way for Queensland Health to hear the voices and lived experiences of every day CALD consumers as well as listening to stakeholder representatives. One consumer described this as: “a task group of consumers focused on multicultural health experiences to address barriers and improve care informed by lived experience.”
  • Continuing to build a bridge to create a two-way conversation between Queensland Health and consumers “because we are all learning through that.”
  • Addressing the impact of isolation on people’s mental health and wellbeing. “People from collectivist cultures deal with disasters together rather than going away from each other as with COVID.”
  • Recognising that community organisations have stepped in to fill the gaps but in providing this support and care, vulnerable groups have become invisible to the public health system.
  • Better training in anatomical and clinical terminology for interpreters and translators.
  • Addressing the fact that telehealth has not worked for many CALD consumers and the digital divide has increased.
  • Improving state-wide safeguards and access to public health care for particularly vulnerable CALD consumers including international students and people with a temporary or bridging visa status.
  • Routinely involving bi-cultural workers in the health care of CALD consumers.
You can read the full summary of this conversation on our issues paper web page.
This paper will be shared with all the consumers, Queensland Health staff and NGOs who attended the conversation as well as the Director-General and all the Deputy Director-Generals of Queensland Health, the Office of the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, and the Chief Executives of each Hospital and Health Service. 

"Make your voice more than just another voice at the table"

Barbara Phillips, Deputy Director-General of Corporate Services, Queensland Health, presented at our Consumer Conversation this week and spoke about her role as part of our regular skills and knowledge building presentation for consumers. Barb is the first Deputy-Director General of Queensland Health to present to this group about the work she is responsible for.*

Barb offered her passionate perspective on consumer and community partnerships in health services and shared her hopes for Queensland to deliver healthcare in an increasingly culturally appropriate way.   

Barb explained how Corporate Services has an ability to cross over the Department and she sees their role as enablers, facilitators and “linker-uppers”.

She reflected on whether the pre-COVID world “was that good in terms of some of the work we were doing,” and urged consumers “to embrace the abnormal. It’s an opportunity to work, think and react differently – we all need to consciously do this rather than falling back into known behaviour.”

In terms of the pandemic, she believes we have now passed through the rescue phase and the recovery phase where we have started to see opportunities to build new ways of working and we are now in the rebuilding phase. This means building stronger structures and ties to phases 1 and 3 (rescue and rebuilding). She is particularly interested in exploring how we build on the relationships which have served us well during the first phase and cited the valuable relationship with Health Consumers Queensland and other NGOs. She said, “that ability to hear what the community is saying is something we can’t build at the centre, we need to build more channels to hear this.”

Barb invited consumers to work with her to create formal networks and structures to better understand the multicultural perspective.

She also encouraged consumers to “make your voice more than just another voice at the table. The challenge for consumers is to hold Queensland Health to account at every meeting – to ask what are the actions and when will we see these done.”

Finally, she reminded consumers to “make sure you look after yourselves in this space. There are only so many of us in this space and you all bear a burden of the people who stand behind you.”

Please support Health Consumers Queensland to amplify your voice - Qld State Election

For the upcoming Queensland State Election, Health Consumers Queensland has been making representations to key stakeholders.  We are confident that our important role in representing health consumers in Queensland, including the critical role during the pandemic, is demonstrated in this document .

Consumers, if you’d like to lend your support, please send this HCQ election document to your local candidates. If you are attending a ‘meet-the candidate’ session, please tell them about your consumer representative role, why it matters and ask for their support for health consumer partnerships.

Amplifying the Youth Voice

Health Consumers Queensland is leading a project to amplify the voice of young health consumers across Queensland. 
The Youth Reference Group for the project brings together 24 young people aged 16-25 years from across Queensland.  It held its first meeting on 24 September 2020 and will continue to meet weekly online.

Who’s on the Youth Reference Group?

The Youth Reference Group is mostly made up of young women and non-binary young people, followed by young men. The majority of the young people are from South-East Queensland including the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, as well as two young people from Central Queensland (Charleville and Blackall) as well as one young person from North Queensland (Townsville).
The group is focusing its efforts in three key areas:
  1. Engagement with young people across Queensland about their experience of COVID-19, the barriers to engagement and priorities for health services. 
  1. The development of a young health consumers network for Queensland
  1. A strategy aimed at increasing engagement with young people in the development and delivery of health services. 
  If you’re an organisation who is already working with young people in the health sector, and would like to collaborate or if you have an interest in engaging young people in the work you’re doing, or you just want stay in the loop, email us and let us know: or

Join Our Board

The Health Consumers Queensland Board is seeking committed individuals to express interest in joining the current Board members to lead the future strategic direction of Health Consumers Queensland during our next stage of development.
For further information, please see the Information document following the EOI Form.  If you would like to know more, please email  (Subject: HCQ Board Recruitment) providing a number we can call or to respond by email.
Applicants should complete the Expression of Interest Form along with a brief covering letter outlining your interest in joining the HCQ Board and send to
Closing Date for expressions of interest: 6pm, Sunday, 18th October 2020.

Interviews will be held in the week of 9th November 2020.

The process is aiming to have newly appointed Directors attend the AGM and Board meeting on Wednesday, 2nd December 2020 (9am – 1pm).
Expression of Interest Form
Information sheet

Training for Consumers and Staff

Skills building for emerging consumers. Just beginning in representative roles? Build your understanding, skills and networks in this knowledge sharing series.

Skills Building for Emerging Consumers

  • Have you been in consumer roles for a year or two?
  • Are you ready to build your consumer partnership skills?
  • Would you like to connect with other emerging consumers?
This series has been designed just for you.

Project ECHO is an innovative international program to build skills and develop communities of practice. We welcome consumers with 1-2 years' experience in representative roles to this 5 week program covering:
  • Introduction to Consumer Partnerships
  • An Overview of the Australian Healthcare System
  • How Queensland Health Works
  • Telling Your Story
  • Effective Communication Skills
An ECHO session also includes time for participants to get supportive input from their peers on scenarios they are encountering in their consumer work.

Begins Thursday 15 October at 11am

There is no cost for taking part - all you need is the internet, a camera, microphone and one hour a week.
Register for the Series

Snack Pack is Back!

Bite size consumer engagement training delivered to your desk in time for lunch

Grab your lunch and join us every other Tuesday for quick consumer engagement training via videoconference. Designed specifically for Queensland Health staff, this series will give you the practical advice you need to create or strengthen your collaborative partnerships with consumers.

Who can participate?

Any staff of Queensland Health from the Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services.

How are the sessions structured?

Each 30-minute session begins with a 10-minute presentation followed by questions from the audience.


Fortnightly video conference at 12.00-12.30 pm beginning Tuesday 13 October

What will be covered?

  • Introduction to Consumer Partnership
  • Best Practice approach to Consumer Partnerships
  • Top Tips Working Effectively with Consumers
  • How to support your consumers to ensure successful partnerships
  • How to support your staff to ensure successful partnerships
Register for Snack Pack
Join our Statewide network
We invite you to join our network of Queensland consumers, carers and staff of health organisations.

Our shared focus is creating strong and sustainable consumer partnerships in Queensland. By joining you will become a part of a network of skilled, connected people working together to make the health system the best it can be.
Join the Health Consumers Queensland statewide network
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Opportunities for consumers and carers

Patient Safety and Quality Advisory Committee Subcommittees

EXTENDED TO: 5pm Wednesday 14 October 2020

Clinical Excellence Queensland are seeking consumers to be actively engaged in one of three Sub-committees of the new established Patient Safety and Quality Advisory Committee (PSQAC).

These Sub-Committees contribute to the PSQAC’s purpose of providing a system level forum for design and promulgation of systems for accessing and continually improving the safety and quality of care to patients and families.

The following three Sub-Committees will each have two consumer representatives and will also include relevant clinicians and department of health staff:
  • Healthcare Safety and Quality Indicator Sub-Committee
  • eHealth Linkage Sub-Committee
  • Practice Improvement Sub-Committee
Read more

Telehealth Advisory Group

Closing date: 9am Monday 12 October 2020

The Telehealth Support Unit is seeking active membership from two health consumer representatives on the newly formed Telehealth Advisory Group (TAG).

The TAG focuses on improving Queenslanders' access to health care through the use of technology, and is part of the new endorsed Telehealth Governance Framework and is sponsored by the Telehealth Support Unit (TSU), a team within the Healthcare Improvement Unit, Clinical Excellence Queensland.

The successful applicants will join with telehealth users and subject matter experts from across the state and will be invited to share the consumer experience as active participants and contribute to recommendations to Clinical Excellence Queensland’s Telehealth Governance Committee.

Who is it for?

This opportunity would suit a consumer or carer representative:
  • With at least 6 months’ committee experience, either at the Hospital and Health Service, or Statewide level.
  • With an interest in the delivery of health care via technology
  • Who has accessed or cared for someone who has received virtual care or telehealth
  • Who has been offered telehealth but not yet accessed it
We welcome people living in rural and remote areas across Queensland and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumer representatives to apply.
Read more

Mental Health Needs-Analysis Project

Queensland Mental Health Commission – Steering Committee
Needs-analysis project – mental health non-government community services sector

Closing date: 5pm Thursday, 22 October 2020

Queensland Mental Health Commission

The Commission is seeking to engage eight (8) people with lived experience of mental illness personally or as a carer to become members of the time-limited Steering Committee that will oversee and inform the needs-analysis project.

The value of community mental health services has long been known, in terms of benefits to people who use services that also often reduce the need for more acute hospital-based services, and the cost savings and efficiencies for the system.

Shifting minds: Queensland Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Strategic Plan 2018-2023 highlights the need to shift the focus of our mental health and alcohol and other drug service system towards the community as the key place where services and support are provided.

To support this strategic intent, the Queensland Mental Health Commission (the Commission) is investing in a needs-analysis of the mental health non-government community services sector to gain a better understanding of the current environment, strengths, challenges, barriers and opportunities.
Read more

Rheumatic Heart Disease Opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

Closing date: 9am Friday 30 October 2020

Queensland Department of Health
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Rheumatic Heart Disease Action Plan 2018- 2021 (the Action Plan) team based within the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service would like to work with people who have Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD), their carers or parents. This is an opportunity to take part in the development of services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with Rheumatic Heart Disease across Queensland.


The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Rheumatic Heart Disease Action Plan 2018-2021 was launched by the Minister for Health on 5 June 2018 and funded through the Making Tracks Investment Strategy.
The Action Plan sets priorities and actions that Queensland Health and its partners will take to reduce the impact of both acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland.

We invite you to apply to join the following opportunities to provide advice on the implementation of the Action Plan:

  • The Community of Interest
  • Formal consumer engagement activities
Read more
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Seeking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents

Growing Deadly Families Implementation Oversight Committee

Closing date: 9am Friday 16 October 2020.

We are happy to share that since the Growing Deadly Families a healthy start for mums and bubs forum in Brisbane on 3 August 2017, the Growing Deadly Families Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Maternity Services Strategy 2019–2025 (Strategy) has been developed and launched.

The Strategy was guided by the voices of the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers (consumers) at this forum and includes their three key priorities:
1. “We want a say in how maternity services are designed and delivered”
2. “We don’t want to keep telling our same story to different people”
3. “We want more of our people providing our maternity care”

We invite you to apply to join the Growing Deadly Families Implementation Oversight Committee (GDFIOC), that will guide and monitor the implementation of the Strategy.

Lived experience from using maternal health services in Queensland will help us meet the cultural, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of mothers, babies and their families. This experience will also increase health outcomes and ensure culturally safe, positive experiences, making a difference to the future of our communities across the state.
Read more

Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Quality Assurance Committee

Closing date: Wednesday 21 October 2020

Queensland Health Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Quality Assurance Committee

The Queensland Health Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) for Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Services is recruiting up to two representatives to fill available roles on the QAC membership. We are seeking expressions of interest from:

  • consumers who have experience with Queensland Health mental health and/or alcohol and drug treatment services, and
  • carers who have experience with Queensland Health mental health and/or alcohol and drug treatment services.

The QAC was established by the Queensland Health Director-General in September 2017. The Committee meets an identified need for quality assurance oversight and improvement of mental health alcohol and other drugs service delivery.

Role of the Consumer

Your role will be to advocate for the interests of the group you are representing (consumers or carers) during QAC activities. You will be encouraged and supported to speak up and provide feedback and advice based on:

  • your own lived experience of accessing Queensland Health mental health and/or alcohol and drug treatment services as a consumer or as a carer
  • feedback from others with lived experience, such as through a consumer or carer group or forum that you may be part of.
Read more
Opportunities from external organisations

Hopkins Centre In Focus Research Series on ‘Resilience and Adaptation in Rehabilitation’

Beginning Wednesday, 4 November 2020,

Hear from health practitioners, clinicians, people with lived experience, researchers and industry experts about the impact of pandemic events during 2020 on rehabilitation systems, services, connections and community.

Each research session will showcase a different perspective on disruption and adaptation in rehabilitation and designing resilient systems and responsive services, advancing technology, and creating adaptive practices and interventions for the future.

This is a FREE event for everyone to attend. We invite you to register to attend the full event series or an individual event session and hear more about Resilience and Adaptation in Rehabilitation.

Session 1: Practitioner perspectives on system and service disruption
Wednesday, 4 November 2020 1.30pm to 3.00pm AUS Eastern Time
Register >

Session 2: Panel Discussion with experts, advocates and future thinkers on a new generation and vision for rehabilitation and what inclusive, adaptable and resilient rehabilitation systems could look like into the future.
Wednesday, 11 November 2020 4.00pm to 5.30pm AUS Eastern Time
Register >

Session 3: Highlights the citizen focus on resilience, rights, and consumer centred community during system disruption.
Wednesday, 18 November 2020 1.30pm to 3.00pm AUS Eastern Time
Register >

The full session program will be released shortly.
Register for the full series

Remember the importance of maintaining COVID safe principles

Every fortnight the Response Lead Engagement Team in Queensland Health produce a great newsletter for stakeholders, including consumers. Here’s an excerpt from the last newsletter and some details about how to subscribe:
“Queenslanders have done an excellent job and we all need to continue working together to prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19 in Queensland.
  • If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms (e.g. sore throat or runny nose), get tested for COVID-19 and stay home.
  • Practise good hand hygiene, using soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Practise good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Maintain physical distancing. Keep 1.5m between you and another person.
  • Allow four square metres per person when indoors.
  • Clean and disinfect your home and work environment frequently.
The Response Lead Engagement team is supporting you during Queensland's COVID-19 response by: 
  • connecting people 
  • coordinating and sharing important messages and information 
  • collaborating across our health system to identify and support stakeholder engagement opportunities. 
Contact us via email. For the most recent information stakeholders should visit the website
Subscribe to future 'Catch-up and Connect' newsletters.
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