Having trouble viewing this email?
Click here.


ISSUE #1 | 12th October 2015



Message from the chair,
Mark Tucker-Evans

Call for expressions of interest to join
Health Consumers Queensland Board

With funding committed from the State Government for the next three years, Health Consumers Queensland’s Board is excited about building upon our strong foundations and supporting effective consumer partnerships across all areas of health and at all levels.

I am passionate about creating a health system and services that are co-designed with health consumers. I believe it is only then that we will have an effective and efficient health system which meets our community’s needs.

I take this opportunity to thank the members of the former Ministerial Consumer Advisory Committee and Secretariat who ably assisted Health Consumers Queensland through our initial stage and to the Board of COTA Queensland who auspiced Health Consumers Queensland during the period we operated without ongoing funding.

The Board is now 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. Applications close 5.00pm on Friday 23 October 2015. If you are interested or would like to know more please call me at COTA QLD on 07 3316 2999.

Mark Tucker-Evans, Chair


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


Building our resources for you

Health Consumers Queensland has a new look including a new logo, website and marketing materials. 

Look out for our new website which will be live mid October and has been purposely built to support health consumers, families and carers and Queensland health services

Assessing training needs
 We are in the process of developing a suite of training packages that support effective consumer partnerships for both consumer and carer representatives and health service staff. To ensure we develop the right training packages we are undertaking a number of needs analysis surveys for both health consumers and health staff.
Consumer Survey
The Consumer Survey is to assist us in assessing both current and future training and support needs of our Consumer Network members and people interested in being consumer representatives. It will identify what development opportunities exist to ensure Network members are effective representatives of community and consumer voices within the health system.
Completing the survey will assist us in ensuring we can effectively support the consumers and carers in our network and their training needs for the next 12 months. You can complete the survey at online or phone the office on 07 3012 9090 for assistance.

Introducing the
Health Consumers Queensland team

Health Consumers Queensland has a small and dynamic staff of six people. Melissa Fox is joined by Anne Curtis, Project Manager, we have three Project Officers: Georgina Lawson, Joanne Smethurst and Chelsea Gourgaud. Nicole O’Keane our Office Manager, ensures that the office runs smoothly.

In coming E-News editions we’ll provide a brief profile of each team member.

Consumer representative vacancies

We welcome health services to forward their requests for consumer representative vacancies for inclusion in our monthly E-News. Requests can be sent to

Out & About

Showcasing effective engagement at Health Leaders’ Forum

General Manager Melissa Fox was invited to participate in an interactive panel and facilitated discussion on Showcasing effective engagement: Clinical Councils and Community Advisory Committees as part of CheckUP’s Health Leaders Forum on 28 August. A report of the key messages from panel participants are available here on CheckUP's website.

Consumer focused Health Care

Qld Rural, Regional and Remote Women's Network (QRRRWN) Conference, Biloela

Health Consumers Queensland facilitated a workshop at the annual Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN) conference at Biloela on 5 September. The workshop demonstrated ways health consumers and carers can be involved in shaping and planning health services in their community. More information is available on the QRRRWN conference page.

Health Consumers Queensland has recently facilitated six patient experience focus groups on behalf of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.  The focus groups were held in Townsville and Brisbane and provided an opportunity for health consumers to have a say in improving the quality and safety of health care all over Australia. Participants in the focus groups were health consumers and carers from urban, regional, rural and remote areas of Queensland who had been admitted to hospital for at least one night in the last six months or who have accessed a community- based health service in the last six months.

Coming Up

Have your say about after hours in Townsville and Charters Towers

The Northern Queensland PHN invites you to “Have your say about After Hours in Charters Towers and Townsville”. Northern Queensland PHN is holding a series of regional consultations and invites community members to share your views on After Hours services in your area.
Northern Queensland PHN is a health organisation funded by the Federal Government to work with health services and the community to improve the health of North Queenslanders. We are seeking feedback on potential gaps in the after hours service in the Townsville and Charters Towers areas. This will help to decide the best way to use funds to improve after hours in your community.

Townsville:  Wednesday 21st October
Registration commences at 5.30pm for a 6pm start. Light refreshments will be provided.
To book and for further information contact Elyse Donoghue, Practice Support on 1300 PRIMARY (7746279) or 0499003802.
Charters Towers: Thursday 22nd October
Registration commences at 5.30pm for a 6pm start. Light refreshments will be provide.
To book and for further information contact Elyse Donoghue, Practice Support on 1300 PRIMARY (7746279) or 07 47222719.

Keeping you in the loop

E-News will come to you every month, to communicate what Health Consumers Queensland is up to, share success stories and highlight the latest evidence and best-practice on consumer engagement. If you are a consumer representative or a health provider with a ‘success story’ on an effective partnership we would love to share your success here. Call Jo Smethurst or Anne Curtis on 07 3012 9090.  

You can subscribe to our E-News by clicking subscribe below or emailing us at Feel free to pass on to your consumer and community network.

Out and About

Health Consumers Committee Stakeholder Forum

On Tuesday 6th October, Health Consumers Queensland in partnership with Queensland Health convened a Stakeholder Forum to inform the establishment of a state-wide Health Consumers Committee. 50 people attended the forum including senior Queensland Health officials and consumers and carers. Once established the committee will provide an opportunity for consumer and carer representatives to raise key consumer issues to a state-wide executive level forum.  It will also provide an opportunity for Queensland Health representatives to discuss issues and initiatives that require consumer and carer input from a state-wide perspective.

The half day forum was facilitated by Cheryl Gilroy, opened with an acknowledgement of traditional owners by Aunty Valda Coolwell and officially opened by Michael Walsh, Director General Queensland Health. The establishment of the Committee is part of our service agreement with Queensland Health.

If you would like more information on the formation of the Health Consumers Committee please contact Melissa Fox on 07 3012 9090.

Consumer Consultation version 2 of the NSQHS Standards

Health Consumers Queensland organised 25 health consumers and carers  to attend a workshop with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care to provide feedback on the draft version 2 of the Standards.

The workshop was held on Thursday 8 October in Brisbane. The consumers and carers provided the Commission with thoughtful, productive and consumer centred feedback. 

The Commission would still like to hear from anyone involved in health care during the consultation period which closes on 30 October 2015. If you have any questions regarding the public consultation process or the review of the NSQHS Standards please contact the Commission on 1800 304 056 or at NSQHSstandards@

Every K over is a killer – putting the brakes on obesity

At the end of July 2015, the Queensland Clinical Senate partnered with Health Consumers Queensland on a one-day forum looking at strategies to address the growing rates of obesity in Queensland.

The consumers who attended the forum came from across Queensland including Thursday Island, Cloncurry, Moura and the South-East corner, representing a range of ages and cultural backgrounds.

The report and presentations from the Obesity Forum can be accessed below.

HEALTH PROMOTION CHARITY. Health Consumers Queensland © 2015. All rights reserved.

HEALTH PROMOTION CHARITY. Health Consumers Queensland © 2015. All rights reserved.