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

In this issue:

NEW information sheet for Queensland Health staff: How to get rapid consumer consultation on your COVID-19 work 

Health Consumers Queensland has been having regular video-based Consumer Conversations about the Queensland public health system’s response to COVID-19 with groups of health consumers and carers across the state.

We invite Queensland Health staff to use these established mechanisms to consult consumers and carers on your work. During COVID-19, we understand that work happens quickly. These groups work on an agile agenda, so consumer input on short notice is readily achievable eg. a 24 hour turnaround.  

Download our new information sheet and find out who we’re listening to, what’s being asked, when the conversations are taking place and how to access the rapid consumer input you need. 

Open rapid consumer consultation information sheet

Update on health consumer, staff and Health Consumers Queensland engagement this week


Health consumers, the Department of Health, HHS staff and Health Consumers Queensland continue to work together daily - often within very tight timeframes and decision-making windows - to ensure that Queenslanders' views, perspectives, suggestions and solutions are reflected at the planning and decision-making level of the COVID-19 health response and within its public communications.  


Breastscreen Queensland temporarily suspends screening

Consumers who had previously worked on breast screen consultations were rapidly re-engaged this week and consulted about the temporary suspension of breast screening services. 

Consumers agreed that a short-term suspension of routine screening services was necessary to lessen the risk of spreading the virus between women using the services and health workers. However, they were keen to ensure that women would receive clear information on how to get support and advice, and access to services if urgent screening was required. 

On Tuesday, Breastscreen Queensland made this announcement which, we feel, incorporated consumers' concerns. 

Self-isolation information which meet the needs of all Queenslanders

The Strategic Communications Branch of the Department listened to our COVID-19 Community of Interest Group's focused views on a draft information sheet for people who have been asked to self-isolate because they are awaiting results or have a positive diagnosis. Key suggestions included:

  • Be specific about who this information sheet is for. E.g. it does not currently work for people with disabilities or elderly people who require regular carers coming into the home, or people who are homeless. 
  • All Queenslanders, regardless of their circumstances, and particularly if they have disabilities or are elderly, need reassurances that they will be protected and assistance in the home will continue to be in place. 
  • Be clear about modes of transmission, testing, exercising, management of household items e.g. bins and how people get essential medications. 
  • Consider three versions: picture version for children; easy-to-read, plain English version for CALD communities and people with intellectual impairment; and a detailed version.
  • Use clear, easy to understand words e.g. say "doesn't have a temperature" instead of "afebrile" and explain abbreviations like "PCR-negative".

Strategic Communications is now reviewing the document with the Communicable Diseases team in light of this feedback and an online poll which consumers completed during the session. We will report on the outcome next week. 

Chief Health Officer issues Hospital Visitors Direction

Last week we asked members of the COVID-19 Community of Interest Group for their views on visitors to hospitals and aged-care facilities as restrictions were being planned to protect vulnerable people. Consumers said that hard decisions would have to be made and reported that some of their own HHSs had already issued communications on visitor restrictions.

This week, the Chief Health Officer issued the Hospital Visitors Direction which allows: "patients one visit per day for up to two hours, with no more than two people per visit. People with any symptoms of COVID-19 should not visit a patient in hospital. There are additional restrictions in place for visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities."

However, more HHSs around the state have also moved to set up their own rules on visitors this week  and you should check your HHS website for information on visiting patients at your local hospital. 

The situation is changing all the time so it is likely that there will be new directions in the coming weeks and months. 

Consumers ask for greater diversity in television broadcasts and social media ads

Consumers were rapidly mobilised for a focus group with the state-wide Communications team at Queensland Health who wanted to make sure that TV and social media messages around staying connected with people, and looking after yourself and others resonated for all Queenslanders. 

The group responded with a strong message about including far greater diversity in the imagery. They also said that messaging about staying connected needed to include advice for people who don't have access to technology and internet connection.

Queensland Health was receptive to the group's views and will make changes to reflect their concerns.

Testing state government text messaging and alerts 

Two consumers are testing and reviewing text messages and alert templates created by The Healthcare Improvement Unit at Clinical Excellence Queensland (part of Department of Health)  for HHSs to adapt for their own settings regarding concerns such as the postponement of surgery and cancellation or attendance at outpatient appointments.


Representing health consumers and carers at all levels

Health Consumers Queensland staff are continuing to meet daily with Queensland Health staff on the following:
  • Strategic Communications
  • Clinical matters
  • Mental health
  • Disability health
  • Community health
  • Stakeholder networks
  • Maternity
  • and with other NGOs.

We also connected with health consumer organisations across the country to share strategies and resources.

HHS engagement staff 

We are meeting weekly with engagement staff from all 16 HHSs in Queensland. As well as an opportunity to exchange vital information, these catchups are a chance to work together on solutions to the most pressing issues facing consumers of HHS services.

Thank you

Once again, thank you to the wonderful consumers who continue, even in the most challenging circumstances, to contribute and make yourselves available to review, provide impactful feedback and share your perspectives with staff from the Department and your local HHSs.

Your insights are invaluable and deeply appreciated at this critical time. We also recognise that your own health comes first and urge you to look after yourselves and your loved ones. 


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

Recommendations for reducing COVID-19 engagement "overwhelm" amongst health consumers

Yesterday, expert consumers, who are currently taking part in our first Project ECHO online learning and mentoring programme, shared how their involvement in COVID-19 engagement activities is impacting on their physical and mental health. Together, they came up with some recommendations which may be helpful to all consumers in actively managing their involvement. 

For consumers:
  • Be clear with yourself about why you are getting involved in COVID-19 activities as a whole and then you can prioritise which requests you can take on.
  • Before agreeing to a request or invitation, ask yourself if this particular project aligns with your values.
  • You don't have to attend every session. Pace yourselves and choose which sessions work for you.
  • Ask staff to expand their networks and approach new consumers with different perspectives rather than relying on a handful of people.
  • When requests are sent with tight time-frames, try to exercise discipline in when and how you work on them. 
  • Prioritise your self-care and family time. Fit in your consumer work according to your capacity.
For staff:
  • Well-managed, pre-existing engagement partnerships and relationships are paying off now in terms of staff and consumers enjoying good communication and being able to set boundaries even when responses are urgent and the pressure is on.
  • Be aware how much information you are sending out to consumers and asking them to read or respond to either before or after meetings.
  • Try to send information out in a timely way and set reasonable timeframes for consumer input.
  • Consider who else you can access to provide a consumer voice rather than always going back to the same people.
  • Remunerate consumers appropriately for their work.
  • Remember that consumers are on a health journey and need to care for their health and wellbeing.

Latest COVID-19 resources and planning tools for people with disabilities from Queenslanders with Disability Network


QDN are working to make sure you have the resources and tools to make a plan to keep yourself safe and well during this public health emergency. We encourage people to think about, talk about and write down a plan for how things will work for you and your support network during this time. 


Planning tools

QDN has been working with the University of Sydney and the Queensland Government on some practical tools and information to help you think through how to make a plan for your own individual needs and situation during COVID-19.  

Essential checklist

QDN have developed a printable ‘Essential Items’ checklist to help you prepare to stay at home.


QDN's user-friendly, easy-read resources give accurate information to people about COVID-19 including what is Coronavirus and what does self-isolation mean. 

Download these resources and planning tools by clicking on the link below.

Download QDN resources and planning tools

Consumers and carers: how to use Zoom and ensure your voice is heard during COVID-19

We are working to ensure that the consumer voice remains at the heart of the COVID-19 health response. One of the most effective ways to share your views right now is via online video conferencing platforms like Zoom. We would like to help you build your skills to use Zoom with confidence so that you can host and join meetings online, self-organise and have an impact on planning and decision-making in your regions and local communities.

Zoom is free and easy to download if you have a computer which has a microphone, camera and reliable internet.

If you are new to Zoom, take a look at these resources to get up and running. 

Written instructions  

Getting Started with Zoom 

Using the Zoom controls within a meeting 


How to join a Zoom meeting 

Using meeting controls. This video also discusses controlling a meeting from the host’s point of view, but does have useful information for participants about using Zoom. 

Tip sheet for HHS staff on how to involve consumers in COVID-19 planning, decision-making and communications

Health Consumers Queensland's tip sheet for HHS staff gives clear and useful guidance on how to involve consumers in COVID-19 planning, decision-making and communications. 
Download COVID-19 tip sheet

Queensland Health finance update for consumers

Earlier this year we asked you to provide us feedback about the new payment system operated by Queensland Health. 

There was an outstanding response from consumers and even some QH staff. However, since the survey closed, our whole team has been focused on COVID-19. This has meant we haven't yet had a chance to look at the results and form a plan with the Finance Branch. But we hope to do that soon.

In the meantime, we wanted to say thank you for doing this, we know this is important, and we'll get back to it as soon as we can.

Join a 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. 


Join COVID-19 Community of Interest

HCQ Website - keeping consumers at the centre of the response

Keep an eye on our dedicated COVID-19 page for our latest COVID-related news, activities and opportunities.

You can also like our Facebook page for immediate updates and to share your views.

Vist the page
Health Consumers Queensland Opportunities

Health Consumers Queensland encourages consumers and carers to continue applying for non-COVID-19 related opportunities promoted in this eAlert.

Consultation on Palliative Care Tip Sheets and resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Closing date: 8th April 2020

Palliative Care Queensland (PCQ) has subcontracted Health Consumers Queensland to provide an opportunity for people in Coen and Thursday Island (or another Torres Strait Island) to hear from their local community in relation to the development of appropriate tip sheets for community consultation regarding palliative care.


Purpose of the consultation

Palliative Care Queensland is developing the two tip sheets for Palliative Care Australia (PCA).

1. Tip sheet for Aboriginal community consultancy regarding palliative care

2. Tip sheet for Torres Strait Islander community consultancy regarding palliative care

Palliative Care Queensland will be providing consumer feedback to Palliative Care Australia regarding their resource: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander discussion starter.

This is your opportunity to have a yarn with your community members to ensure the tip sheets and resource are culturally appropriate and in language they will understand.


How do we do this?

Our way of doing this consultation is using Kitchen Table Discussions which are community engagement sessions led by local people for local people. They allow small groups to participate in discussions at a time of day that suits them. The discussions enable health consumers, carers and community members who do not ordinarily participate in healthcare consultation to have their say in a safe and supportive environment. The Host guides the discussion with a set of questions provided to them and provides the feedback to Health Consumers Queensland.

Because of COVID-19, our consumer hosts are holding their sessions online. Some are making phone calls and some are using Zoom or Skype to meet with their community members.

We are happy for you to do this consultation in the way that works most appropriately for you and your community.

Who are we looking for as Hosts?

We would like our hosts to be people with strong community connections who can bring up to 10 people together for the discussion.

Find out more

Further information about the role of the hosts and the training that will be provided is included in the application form. To apply for this opportunity please click on the link below to go to the application form. 

Please complete this application form and return to by 4.00pm on 8th April 2020.

For assistance completing this application please contact Health Consumers Queensland via or by phone on 07 3012 9090.

For queries relating to this opportunity, please email Anne Curtis, Engagement Consultant – Specific Projects, Health Consumers Queensland at

Apply now
Consumer Opportunities

Website Transformation Project Survey

The Website Transformation Project is dedicated to simplifying how users search, engage and consume content across all public-facing Queensland Health websites. As a consumer you'll have a unique perspective about the current state of our websites.

We understand that this is an extremely busy period and we appreciate any time you can give us. As you all know, the Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a significant impact on the way we work and the way we consume information.

If you can give ten minutes of your time to complete this survey, you'll be helping us design a more cohesive, coordinated, web presence that will enable us to respond to our ever-changing environment with more agility in the future.

Thanks for your participation!

Learn more about the Website Transformation Project at

Before you start:
When completing questions with open text fields, please do not provide personal information about you or any other person, for example by including a name, in your response.

If you're having issues viewing this survey in Internet Explorer, try opening it in a Chrome browser.

Click on the link below to start the survey.

Go to survey
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