eNews from Health Consumers Queensland
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eNews May 2019

In this issue:

From the CEO

We have had an overwhelming response to our upcoming Annual Forum and are happy to report that our event has sold out!
We are so excited to see all 230 delegates, including health consumers and carers, staff from Queensland Health, Hospital and Health Services and Primary Health Networks, and consumer and community organisations in tropical Cairns for this year’s two-day forum.
The Health Consumers Queensland team are looking forward to bringing everyone together and helping to showcase some of the exciting examples of consumer engagement happening right now, to inspire each other to take our work to the next level.
We will of course bring you a full wrap-up after the forum, including our Annual Forum highlights reel and transcripts for anyone who couldn’t make it or is interested in seeing and hearing from all our wonderful speakers and forum participants.
Besides our Annual Forum, it continues to be business as usual as we encourage, facilitate and support genuine consumer and carer engagement across Queensland’s health system.
We recently delivered a proposal to Queensland Health for the creation and funding of a mental health consumer and carer organisation and are now awaiting the next steps. Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultations around this new group.
We are pleased that legislation has now passed to support the creation of Health and Wellbeing Queensland – a new health promotion agency focusing on positive health prevention measures. We will continue to work with Queensland Health to ensure that consumers are genuinely embedded in this agency and engaged at all times. It’s clear we need to look beyond traditional health strategies and find new ways to help people make better choices and live better lives. Which is why we need the voice of the consumer to be heard loud and clear as part of this push to bring the community, private sector and all levels of government together to drive collaboration and real change for the health of all Queenslanders.
Work is ongoing in the maternity space, including that of the Rural Maternity Taskforce which aims to “support and enable the provision of suitable woman-centred care as close as possible to where women live, whilst enabling good outcomes for mothers and babies in rural and remote communities”. I recently organised and facilitated a meeting with members of some of the key maternity consumer organisations in Queensland with the Health Minister’s advisor, to support them continuing this important work.

We were pleased to see the recent opening of the statewide Queensland Pelvic Mesh Service (QPMS) on the Gold Coast, following our support of consumers to co-design the clinic. It’s wonderful that women are now starting to receive care and we look forward to this new service helping women to live their best lives possible. We also worked with other state and territory consumer organisations to hold a forum in Melbourne on mesh implants, and look forward to continuing to support consumers to push for greater accountability around the regulations and monitoring of mesh implants.
Health Consumers Queensland is also continuing to support a range of the Health Minister’s priorities, both through providing strategic advice as an organisation on how consumers should be engaged on these topics and supporting consumers to be involved across a range of areas including low value/benefit care, healthy food and water in remote indigenous communities, healthy eating in hospitals, driving quality through data and more.
In these last busy days in the lead up to our Annual Forum in Cairns on 5-6 June, I would like to take the opportunity to thank our incredible event lead Chelsea Gourgaud for pulling together our forum which promises to be bigger and better than ever! She has been supported by event extraordinaire Michael Taylor, our whole hard working team and our Board. 
I look forward to seeing many of you in Cairns for our yearly celebration of consumer partnerships which CONNECT, INNOVATE and TRANSFORM. 
Melissa Fox

An invitation to talk about what matters to you in relation to ageing, end-of-life and dying

We invite health consumers, carers and community members to join us at one of our series of focus groups so we can understand ‘what matters to you in relation to ageing, end-of-life care and dying’. 
The focus groups are facilitated by Health Consumers Queensland and will be held before the start of Palliative Care Queensland’s Compassionate Communities Conversation series.
Health Consumers Queensland together with COTA Queensland, Palliative Care Queensland and Carers Queensland are partnering with Queensland Health to hear directly from health consumers, carers and community members who have experience of ageing, end-of-life care and dying.
Your feedback will be collated into a report to inform Queensland Health and its committees and projects currently working in the area of frail, aged, palliative care and end-of-life care.
The focus groups will run for one hour and attending consumers and carers will receive a $40 gift voucher for their time from Health Consumers Queensland. A maximum of 20 people can attend each focus group, and an RSVP is essential.
Palliative Care Queensland will provide morning tea before the Compassionate Communities Conversation commences. You are invited to the morning tea and we hope you will stay on for the Compassionate Communities Conversation. The Compassionate Communities Conversations will be held from 10.30am to 12.30pm
Compassionate communities are communities with networks of support for their local community members who are experiencing loss, ageing, dying and grief. For more information and to RSVP, go to

Project Update

As stage two of the ‘What matters to you in relation to ageing, end-of-life and dying’ project gets underway, Health Consumers Queensland’s own Anne Curtis reflects on the progress to date.
“Stage one involved 20 kitchen table discussions held around the state, with the final report delivered to Queensland Health,“ Anne said. “Those discussions were incredibly moving and informative and have paved the way for the next round of focus groups now underway as part of stage two of the project.”
“The focus groups are going extremely well, providing opportunities for community members to share their stories and what matters to them in relation to ageing, end-of-life care and dying.”
“We have a number of focus groups occurring throughout Queensland in June and July and I would encourage consumers and carers to attend – invite your friends, your network members or community group representatives, to come along and participate and be part of the conversation.”
Anne said 16 focus groups would be conducted around the state to hear from people living rural and remote, and in regional and urban Queensland.
“At the completion of the focus groups, we expect a full report from the consultations will be provided to Queensland Health in early August to inform their committees and projects working in this important area of health,” she said.

Participants at a recent focus group in Townsville discuss matters of
ageing, end-of-life and dying.

Health Consumers Queensland's
'What matters to you' focus group sessions

Tuesday 4 June - 9am–10am
Venue: Innisfail RSL, 18 Fitzgerald Esplanade, Innisfail
Sunshine Coast
Tuesday 18 June - 9am–10am
Venue: Twin Waters Golf Club, The Main Room, 151 Ocean Drive, Twin Waters
Hervey Bay
Wednesday 19 June - 9am–10am
Venue: Hervey Bay Golf Club, Fairway Room, Old Maryborough Road & Tooth Street, Pialba
Thursday 20 June - 9am–10am
Venue: Frenchville Sports Club, Capricorn and Keppel, 105 Clifton Street, Berserker
Wednesday 26 June - 9am–10am
Venue: Toowoomba Golf Club, Eagle Club, 254 South Street, South Toowoomba
Thursday 27 June - 9am-10am
Venue: Ipswich Turf Club, Jibboom Lounge, 219 Brisbane Road, Bundamba
Tuesday 2 July - 9am–10am
Venue: Longreach Civic and Cultural Centre, Main Auditorium, 96a Eagle Street, Longreach
Tuesday 9 July - 9am–10am
Venue: Roma Explorers Inn, Function Rooms 1 & 2, 44778 Warrego Highway, Roma
Brisbane North
Monday 15 July - 9am–10am
Venue: Kedron Wavell Services Club, Kittyhawk Room, 21 Kittyhawk Drive, Chermside

2019 Annual Forum

Our Annual Forum is just days away and we can’t wait to bring you all the news and inspiring outcomes of this year’s Annual Forum which has now sold out!
You can check out our jam-packed two-day program here, which will kick off on the first day with an inspiring “champions of consumers” panel, facilitated by CEO Melissa Fox. The panel will explore the concept of consumer partnerships in the future – what will they look like?  What is your role in making this happen? And how do we ensure we get there?
Later we will hear from a lively panel of young people who will share how lived experiences and a new perspective can help to break down barriers and find new ways to develop, deliver and improve health services.
A session on the advances in genomic medicine will reveal some of the amazing opportunities being developed to improve our health and wellbeing. Learn about the use of genomics in Queensland’s healthcare system and find out how personalised healthcare can affect you and your family.
The health experiences and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities across Queensland will also be explored. This panel discussion will be a chance to meet some of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who are working on integrating health care services and strengthening the health of their communities and individuals. These are just a handful of the informative and hopefully inspiring sessions delegates will attend over two days.
We are excited to find out the winners of this year’s Consumer Award and Partnership Award, which will be presented by Dr John Wakefield from Clinical Excellence Queensland. These awards recognise some of the incredible work being done in the area of consumer engagement and will hopefully inspire others to follow in their footsteps on their own pathway to more genuine and stronger partnerships.
This year we have partnered with the Royal Doctors Association of Queensland Foundation (RDAQ Foundation) to provide six rural and remote consumers the opportunity to attend the opening night of their conference in Cairns, the day our forum finishes. More information about this forum is available here.
We are also grateful to welcome back Queensland Genomics as sponsors for a second year.  And we thank Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service for sponsoring the canapés for our opening night networking session which will include some surprise elements and performances. Delegates will no doubt enjoy watching Indigenous performers from Tjapukai who will bring the world’s oldest living culture to life through traditional dance.
Delegates are invited to stay an extra day and explore Cairns using the special discount offer provided by our touring partner Down Under Tours Australia. Click here for more information.
The Health Consumers Queensland Annual Forum is proudly supported by Clinical Excellence Queensland, Queensland Health, Queensland Government.

Queensland Clinical Senate Forum

The health and wellbeing of Queensland’s health workforce was the topic for the Queensland Clinical Senate at its meeting earlier this month.
The two-day meeting asked participants to consider the links between staff wellness and patient care, as well as what stops staff from doing their job well, and how can we overcome these challenges.
The meeting was the first for new Senate President Alex Markwell who has continued the welcoming and open approach to working with consumers that was introduced by outgoing President David Rosengren. The Senate’s new tagline is Clinical Leadership – Consumer Collaboration – Better Care – fantastic recognition of the importance of consumer engagement.
Health Consumers Queensland consumer representative Keren Pointon delivered a keynote speech on the opening night, detailing her experience of care with clinicians who “stay present” and how much of a difference this can make in their care of patient’s and interaction with families. Clinical members of the senate related to how impactful Keren’s fundamental suggestions of “connecting and smiling” were – something we can all do.
Health Consumers Queensland’s Board Chair Dr Erin Evans and CEO Melissa Fox attended the meeting together with a strong contingent of consumers from a wide variety of backgrounds providing a diverse perspective of the consumer experience.
“We were really pleased to see the timely focus on the health and wellbeing of staff,” Melissa said. “We know that we need staff to be well – mentally and physically – in order to provide patients with the best possible care.
“We look forward to seeing some tangible outcomes from the Senate and hope that includes an audit, resourcing and promotion of staff wellbeing programs across the state.”
Dr Evans represented consumers as part of a panel discussion exploring the key topic of ‘Wellbeing across health – what does it look like (and what are the challenges)’, alongside representatives for the Department of Health, the Queensland Ambulance Service and clinicians.
The following session took this topic further, exploring the experiences of staff returning to work after being involved in major traumatic events such as cyclones and floods.
“It was incredible to hear about staff working in facilities hit by natural disasters, and the importance of support for staff and the community during and after a major event,” Melissa said.
Like our own individual care, staff need to be asked what they need at any point in time to ensure they receive the right help, as it might not be the type of assistance we think they need from an external perspective.”
Melissa said the forum also provided an opportunity for Health Consumers Queensland and the Clinical Senate to reflect on the 10 years that have passed since the two organisations were formed following the Patel scandal.
“At the core of the recommendations that came out of that experience was the need for a system that was responsive to issues of safety and quality, and staff being able to speak up about their experiences,” she said.
“Both our organisations have spent the past 10 years doing a lot of work aimed at tackling that issue, and it was really useful to have that time to reflect on what it’s like to work in the health system now, and how staff are being supported to provide the best possible care to patients.
“It’s clear that when staff are burnt out or unwell, they simply can’t provide the level of empathy and support needed to care for their patients.
“It’s clear that many pockets of excellence exist throughout the state, however many of these are driven by clinician champions who value the importance of personal wellbeing and positive workplaces.
“It’s important that we learn from these best practice pockets and scale them up, so it doesn’t matter where people work in Queensland Health – they should all have access to innovative, impactful and creative wellbeing units to ensure their own personal health and safety, and ultimately that of their patients.”

Department of Health Training Dates

Health Consumers Queensland will conduct training sessions for Department of Health staff who are currently or will be partnering with consumers on committees, projects or focus groups.
Dates are listed below and can be booked via Eventbrite here.  
All sessions are 8:30am to 12:30pm.  
Please note some dates, times and locations have changed.
Tuesday 30 July
Health Consumers Queensland, Ground Floor, 340 Adelaide St, Brisbane 

Thursday 29 August
Department of Health, Upper Plaza Room 1, 33 Charlotte St, Brisbane

Wednesday 18 September
Health Consumers Queensland, Ground Floor, 340 Adelaide St, Brisbane 

Wednesday 16 October
Department of Health, Upper Plaza Room 1, 33 Charlotte St, Brisbane

Thursday 21 November
Department of Health, Upper Plaza Room 1, 33 Charlotte St, Brisbane.
All sessions are designed to increase the capacity of health staff to partner with consumers and carers from a consumer-centred care value base.

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.

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