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

In this issue:

Remaining agile and continuing to respond to an evolving situation


Since 4 March 2020, Health Consumers Queensland has facilitated more than 30 consumer and health staff conversations, and rapid consultations with consumers and Queensland Health on the COVID-19 response. 

Such commitment and agility from diverse groups of consumers has enabled us to consistently raise concerns, identify gaps on key issues and offer solutions whilst still remain a few steps ahead of the ever-evolving decisions and directions being issued at state-wide and national government level.  

The National Cabinet’s announcement that restrictions on elective surgery, some dental care and other treatments will start to be eased after this weekend will be of particular interest to nearly 30 consumers who participated in conversations and consultations last week about the decisions and consequences of delaying surgery or regular treatment and care for ongoing conditions and illnesses. 

Ahead of the implementation of this recent decision, we are already asking consumers for their views so that Queensland Health can proactively address people’s concerns and information needs.


Unstoppable consumers and carers


COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented level of upheaval for many, but it has not stopped health consumers and carers both in Queensland and nationally consulting with their community members to inform on two important projects.

As lockdown and self-isolation came into place the hosts were able to adapt and took their consultations online via Zoom or phone. Their efforts have enabled us to successfully complete these projects in the same timeframe as normal.

In February and early March, 18 consumers hosted kitchen table discussions to inform into the Queensland Health Website Transformation Project. Together they consulted with over 170 people whose voice may not normally be heard, providing a significant amount of valuable feedback to Queensland Health.

During March, 11 hosts were undertaking consumer consultation across five states, the ACT and Northern Territory to assist our national peak, Consumer Health Forum (CHF) in understanding what is important to the wider community in relation to the future of primary health care. The consultation was commissioned by CHF to inform into their submission in regard to the development of the Australian Government’s Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan and wanted to ensure consumer views are central to that Plan. The consultation has enabled CHF to hear from 118 community members across the country.

At the same time, another 11 hosts were consulting with their community members online to inform Health Consumers Queensland on their expectations in regard to patient-centred care and communication during a pandemic, enabling us to hear from another 69 community members. Two projects for Palliative Care Queensland have also been progressed during this time, again with consultations moving online.

Consumers have continued to enjoy having the opportunity to consult with their communities and, as one person fed back to their host, they didn’t realise how isolated they felt until they joined in the online session.

What does the easing of restrictions around elective surgery now mean for consumers? 

This week we asked members of our COVID-19 Community of Interest:  What matters to you when balancing the fear of being infected with the benefits of receiving ongoing care for your health condition? What barriers do we need to overcome in order to confidently shift our approach to utilize this capacity in the health system and feel reassured about the safety of patients and staff?  How do we best use the private hospital capacity which is now available? 
These are the main themes which emerged from the conversation, which we have shared with staff at Queensland Health and HHSs:
  • The importance of maintaining physical distancing and allowing longer time for appointments for people with complex health needs. ​
  • Start looking after and prioritising care for all people who are vulnerable e.g. people who have chronic health conditions or disabilities which require regular intervention as well as caring for elderly people. ​
  • Recognise  the overwhelming demands on the health care system at present to pivot and deliver care against the backdrop of an unpredictable and constantly shifting situation. ​
  • Manage the sense of fear which exists amongst consumers and staff and is going to remain for a long time. ​
  • Broaden the definition of patients who are high risk in COVID-19 testing guidance for GPs. The current definition on the RACGP website does not include people who are disabled, have chronic conditions or people who live alone. ​
  • How long could it take the health system to catch up on treating people whose care has been delayed or deferred and what is it going to cost people financially if their condition worsens during this time?
  • Ensure there is enough PPE for everyone – staff and consumers – in hospitals, residential and home settings where care and support is required. ​
  • Understand what post-operative care will look like? Where and how will people receive this care – as an in-patient or via Hospital in the Home, virtual care or community services? ​
  • Continue to offer people the choice to use telehealth. Done well, it has a real place beyond COVID-19 as it can save money, time and stress. ​
  • Rather than blanket-wide policies, place emphasis on detailed, upfront and individualized conversations between consumers and their health care providers so that consumers can ask questions and make informed decisions about their ongoing care. ​
  • Private health facilities are a valuable resource at the moment and we should be careful what is triaged into the private system.  Consumers and carers who have complex conditions value continuity of care and they would be reluctant to receive this care with a new health care team in a private hospital. 
The conversation also highlighted the importance of the diversity of voices and experiences amongst consumers and the need for an individualized, multi-layered and person-centred response. A discussion thread around ensuring a level of safety by treating everyone as if they could have COVID-19 was gaining traction until a consumer alerted the group to the fact that if a woman in labour is believed to have COVID-19, she currently has to give birth  without her partner or a support person being present.

Another consumer also flagged a concern about treating everyone as if they could have COVID-19 when she highlighted the potential impact on patients receiving visitors, and the importance of adopting appropriate visiting guidelines when a patient is a newborn in NICU, a child, or an adult who needs the support and reassurance of a loved one at their bedside. 

Do I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Confusion around whether a sore throat, a cough or a fever indicate COVID-19 is a concern regularly being raised by consumers in our weekly conversations. Queensland Health is working to improve the current COVID-19 symptoms quiz on its website and has asked HHS CAG Leaders to test and provide feedback on a new symptom checker quiz during a facilitated consultation session this week.
 ​The Strategic Communications Branch and Business Partnerships and Improvement Branch will use this feedback to refine the quiz before it is launched online.

The Director-General of Queensland Health answers consumer questions about its response to COVID-19

On Friday, 17 April, consumers joined Queensland Clinical Senate members, Clinical Networks, and Clinical Council/Advisory groups on a live VideoCast hosted by Dr John Wakefield, Director-General of Queensland Health. 

During the session, the Director-General provided an update on Queensland’s response to COVID-19 and answered questions from the floor. Following this, a survey asked consumers and clinicians present at the VideoCast for feedback and solutions to help balance the health system to expand services. This feedback will inform the system planning here in Queensland.
Closing the feedback loop

Social channels reflect consumer feedback on concept testing of video and social ads 

A few weeks ago consumers took part in a focus group on concept testing with the Strategic Communications branch at Queensland Health around a series of campaign videos and ads for TV and social channels .  

The Strategic Communications Branch gave this update on progress since the focus group: The marketing team is currently reviewing all the concepts and finalising the campaigns whilst the social team has already incorporated your feedback on reporting recoveries as well as numbers of people infected and using animations to represent all Queenslanders.

COVID-19 information and resources for consumers, carers and engagement staff 

COVID-19 data live online

22 April 2020

Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia PalaszczukMinister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Steven Miles

Today, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk along with Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles and Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young announced the launch of a new Queensland COVID-19 data website.

The Premier said the website would breakdown regional data by Local Government Area, giving communities more oversight of their local cases.

“This website will be the single source of truth for all Queensland COVID-19 data drawn from across the state,” the Premier said.

“We know the COVID-19 situation is changing daily which is why we prioritised building this data site to keep Queenslanders informed.

“The page will be updated daily, seven days a week, at approximately midday.

“It will include information about:

  • Total Queensland cases
  • Total samples tested
  • New COVID-19 cases recorded in Queenslander over the last 24 hours
  • Active cases
  • Recovered cases
  • Age and gender of confirmed cases
  • Cases by Local Government Area and source of infection
  • COVID-10 mapping and cumulative graphs
  • Self-quarantine statistics

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles thanked every single Queenslander for playing their part and following the health advice.

“The people of Queensland have responded significantly to the challenge of COVID-19,” Minister Miles said.

“They have followed the health advice which has directly impacted the ability and success of Queensland flattening the curve.

“Here in Queensland our response to COVID-19 has put us in a better position than many countries around the world.

“We have some of the highest testing rates in the world and have been recording data since day one.

“This website demonstrates the Palaszczuk Government's commitment to transparency, ensuring Queenslanders have streamlined access to the latest pandemic health data.”

The data can be found at 

And also via the COVID19 website -

Join our state-wide network of consumers and carers who can be involved in rapid COVID-19 responses 

We need a community of interested consumers/carers who are able to be on stand-by for COVID-19 response opportunities at short notice including joining a weekly COVID-19 ''Consumer Conversations'' Zoom with the Department of Health to help them keep consumers at the centre of their COVID-19 response.

Please register your details via the link below. 

COVID-19 Community of Interest
Consumer and carer opportunities from Health Consumers Queensland

Opportunity to partner with the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland – Research Portfolio

The Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland (AHPOQ) is inviting two consumer representatives to partner with AHPOQ to guide the allied health research portfolio for a two-year term.

AHPOQ plays a key role in the development, implementation and evaluation of strategies to ensure an appropriately skilled allied health workforce to meet the current and future health service needs of Queensland. There are over 9000 allied health professional and technical staff working in Queensland, who work alongside doctors and nurses to provide optimum health care. Further information about the organisation can be found on their website


The purpose of the research portfolio is to provide oversight and support allied health research capability and capacity across Queensland. AHPOQ is seeking two consumer representatives to provide advocacy and advice within this portfolio on the key components including:

Membership of the Health Practitioner Research Advisory Group (HPRAG)
– The purpose of this group is to provide advice on how to build and improve allied health research capacity and capability across services
– Membership includes research fellows, Directors of Allied Health and university representatives
– The group meets quarterly for 90 minutes and is chaired by the Chief Allied Health Officer

Membership of the Peer Review Panel of the Health Practitioner Research Scheme (HPRS)
– The HPRS is a peer reviewed, merit-based scheme, annually awarding funds to allied health practitioner professions for research activity
– Panel members review their allocated applications independently, attend a full day panel review and sit on a full day interview panel

Provide advice to the Allied Health – Translational Research into Practice (AH-TRIP) Steering Committee as required
– The AH-TRIP Steering Committee is responsible for the governance, leadership and strategic direction of the AH-TRIP initiative across Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) in Queensland.
– Provide advice on the development and implementation of the Allied Health 10-year Strategy including the Queensland Health Allied Health Research Plan.

Role of the consumer

The role of the successful applicant will be to:
Provide feedback and advice to inform decision making and strategic direction of the research portfolio. This includes:

  • attend all the HPRAG meetings and to actively participate in all HPRAG activities such as pre-meeting reading
  • participate in HPRS peer review panel activities such as review HPRS research applications and score them against set criteria, actively participate in HPRS peer review panel discussions, and participate as a panel member for the applicant interviews
  • provide advice on AH-TRIP activities
  • provide advice on other research initiatives as required.

Who is it for

This opportunity would suit a consumer with knowledge and experience in research and allied health services and the ability to contribute to the research portfolio at a Statewide level
  • an experienced consumer representative
  • a consumer who is confident working and communicating with healthcare professionals, board and executive members.


Find out more and apply

For more information on time frames, locations, remuneration and support, and to complete an application form please click on the link below. 


Find out more and apply
Other opportunities for consumers and carers

Join the Youth Health Forum

• Are you aged 18 – 30?
• Do you use the health and social care system or help someone who does?
• Would you like to work with a diverse group of young people?
• Do you have ideas about how we could change health and wellbeing services?
• Are you interested in gaining leadership, advocacy and policy skills?
• COVID-19 is disrupting the world as we know it and will force us to reimagine the services we want in the future. Do you want to have a voice in shaping that? 

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) is Australia’s long-standing and respected peak member body for health care users and we represent their views at the national policy level. Young people use the health system and their voices need to be heard too.  

In 2018, we launched the Youth Health Forum, a network of fifty young leaders who came to Canberra to talk about the biggest priorities in youth health and wellbeing. The network is made up of people from across the country who have a diverse range of backgrounds, life experiences and interaction with health and welfare services. CHF supports them to share their knowledge and work with other national organisations, leaders and decision-makers to get better services and health outcomes for young people.   

Time commitment from Forum members is as much or as little as you like. You can take on an outward-facing role and volunteer to attend meetings, events, or sit on a Board or Committee, or if you prefer to stay behind the scenes you will be providing written work and feedback by participating in surveys, writing submissions and publications. This should average out an hour or two each month.  

Upcoming Youth Health Forum events

30 June 2020
A high-paced, innovative virtual event to explore the preferences and concerns of young people as services move towards digital service delivery, to prioritise some training and development needs and to plan for some local incubator projects. 

26/27 November 2020
A face-to-face Life Transitions and Youth Pathways into Services roundtable will be held in Melbourne with a welcome gathering from 26 November 2020; and the forum itself on 27 November 2020.

*Travel costs, meals, non-alcoholic drinks and accommodation will be covered. No sitting fees or payment associated with attending the roundtable. 


If you would like to apply to join the Youth Health Forum, you can:
• complete the form here
• record your answers and send to the details below
• text us on 0430485459 for a call back
• closing date for applications: Sunday 3rd May 

Call or email Carolyn ( if you have any questions. 

Take part in the Dignity Project

Researchers at The Hopkins Centre, a joint initiative of Griffith University and the Division of Rehabilitation, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, invite you to participate in an online survey that explores personal accounts of experiences, interactions, and moments of dignity in all aspects of life for people with disabilities and/or impairments.

It is estimated that the survey will take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete. 

Researchers will not be given your name or contact details and your participation is completely voluntary. You do not have to complete this survey, however, if you are interested in participating, please click on the link below which will take you directly to the survey landing page. 

Please read through the information sheet and consent form on the survey platform, which explains more about the research project and your role as a participant. 

Please note that The Hopkins Centre researchers have received ethics approval to undertake this research. If you would like any additional information about this research, please contact
Mrs. Kelsey Chapman on

If you have any concerns about the way this research is being conducted, please contact the Metro South Hospital and Health Service HREC Coordinator on 07 3443 8049 or

For more information about the project or accessing the Community Hub, click HERE

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