Message from the General Manager, Melissa Fox
I am delighted to share our first e-news in this updated format. Our refreshed branding includes our new logo, brochure and soon-to-be-relaunched website. It reflects our journey from an effective Ministerial Advisory Committee and busy Secretariat who were responsible for producing cutting edge work to promote the benefits of consumer engagement, into the vibrant non-Government organisation we have become. In line with this, we know the health sector is awash with ever-changing acronyms and so from now on we will refer to our full name - Health Consumers Queensland.
As a consumer representative for over ten years, I have seen firsthand the transformational change in people and health services when consumers and health professionals work together to create a health system which better meets the needs of patients and families. It is a privilege to have been associated with Health Consumers Queensland for the last seven years, firstly as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee, then as Coordinator after we transitioned out of Government to become an NGO and now as General Manager overseeing the expansion of our organisation.
I wish to offer deep thanks to COTA Queensland for their support – Chief Executive Mark Tucker-Evans (also our Chair), the Board and staff. COTA Queensland has a rich tradition of assisting organisations in their early days including Volunteering Queensland and Meals on Wheels. If not for COTA’s generous provision of office space, use of computer equipment, administration and IT support and more over the last two and a half years, it would have been very difficult for Health Consumers Queensland to maintain our activities and be in the position we are today.
Recognising the importance of consumers and community members having a say in health-care decision-making and priorities, the Queensland Government has funded Health Consumers Queensland for the next three years. Our funding started on 1 July this year and means we have had the opportunity to expand our team to a staff of six and move into our own office space with a training room on Level 9, 217 George St at the top of the mall. Come and say hello to the team next time you are in the City or at our upcoming Open Day (details in the next e-news).
With more resources and more staff, Health Consumers Queensland will support consumers and consumer organisations by providing training and networking opportunities and we will continue to partner with health providers to support their consumer engagement strategies:
• More training and chances to network for consumers
• More training programs for health staff
• Expanding our state-wide consumer network
• Annual state-wide forum for health consumer representatives and health staff
• Strategic, high-level consumer committee working directly with senior Queensland health staff
on issues that impact health consumers
The work we do in supporting consumers to directly improve the system and have more control over their own lives has recently resulted in our being successful in attaining health promotion charity status with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
Enjoy our first edition of E-News and I look forward to speaking with you or seeing you at upcoming Health Consumers Queensland events.
Melissa Fox, General Manager