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August 2016


Message from our Chair

Mark Tucker-Evans

Health Consumers Queensland has been busy delivering training and presentations across the state.  In the past 4 weeks members of our staff have been to Charleville, Blackall, Barcaldine, Longreach, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Maroochydore.  We’ve received positive feedback on the value of the training and the benefits from both health consumers and staff who have attended these training sessions.
As the peak voice for Queensland’s health consumers, carers and families, we have provided input into important law changes and strategic policy and planning debates.  You can view our submissions here:
Our General Manager, Melissa Fox, will be presenting at the Australian Day Hospital Association’s conference on the Gold Coast on August 23.  The Minister for Health, Sussan Ley will be officially opening the conference on 22 August.


“My heart broke when I heard your story.”

The impact of consumers stories ...

Hailing from Cairns, Laura Richards, was one of two consumers invited to talk about healthcare at a recent conference held in Cairns.

Laura shared her experiences of primary health care to an audience of mostly GP's.  At the end of her short talk, a GP stood up in the crowd and told Laura that “my heart broke when I heard your story.”
Laura had told the 100+ crowd of the time when she took her newborn daughter to her GP for the routine 7 day check-up, only to be in and out of the room in 5 minutes.  A thorough check-up was not performed and she was almost rushed out of the room.  She left feeling shocked, upset, angry and ultimately let down by her GP.  A feeling that has ended up completely changing the way she accesses primary health care today.  Although she’s not sure of the impact she had at that conference, she was heartened to hear this GP’s reaction to her story and hopes that a seed has been planted that might bring about change.
Similarly, Helen Mees (a health consumer from Ipswich) presented her 10-year vision for health at a state-wide visioning forum.  A number of health leaders including the Minister for Health gave positive feedback to all the participants on the day on how valuable, powerful and spot-on the consumer perspective had been in nailing some complex areas of health including defining integrated care.
Involving consumers as speakers at conferences and forums can change the conversation, re-frame an issue or re-focus attention to address a gap in integrated healthcare.
Health Consumers Queensland can help you find consumers to speak at your next event and we have some tips on how you can partner with consumers in many more ways when organising a conference or forum.  Please see the following article for some of those helpful tips.


Read More

Organising a Conference or Forum?

Consider ways you can partner with consumers early in the planning of your conference or forum.  The voice of consumers at health conferences and forums is a very powerful way to demonstrate and model consumer-centred care and ensure the needs of consumers, their families and carers, is fundamental to all health policy decision-making and planning.
Increasingly conference organisers are involving health consumers in the planning phases of conferences.  This ensures the perspective of consumers is heard in all phases of the conference.  Here are a few ways you could partner with health consumers in your next conference or forum.

Planning phase
Establish a reference group from the planning stage through to evaluation and ensure consumer representation on this group.  Consumers are a valuable source of ideas for conference themes, guest speakers, success stories to be shared and novel ways to keep conference attendees engaged.
Support and resource consumer advocates to submit an abstract and attend the conference (consider free consumer places, assistance with traveling costs for speakers).  Give consumer speakers free registration to the conference (don’t expect them to come and speak for 15 minutes and then leave again).  Include consumers on the panel that reviews and selects abstracts (and even in developing the criteria for that selection).
On the day
Consumers as panelists, make them visible; seek out their input and perspective.  How novel would it be to have a panel discussion on consumer-centred care with a consumer on that panel?!
Welcome consumers to the conference and articulate the value of consumers being present.  Check if it’s going to be a safe space.  Is it culturally appropriate?  If you’re holding a statewide forum on a specific health issue, ensure you have included on the agenda/program how health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can be improved.   
Is your venue accessible for people with hearing or physical impairments?  Does a staff member need to be available to support a person with a vision impairment from the taxi to their seat?  Be inclusive.  Don’t unintentionally leave consumers out because of cost, time or accessibility issues.
Don’t assume consumers/carers don’t have any knowledge or that this is going to be too technical.
Involve consumers in the questions that are used to evaluate the conference.  Maybe consumers/carers are seeking different outcomes that would demonstrate the value of the day to them.
De-brief with consumer speakers, panelists and organising committee members.  What lessons have been learnt?  What could you do next year to improve consumer partnerships and outcomes?


Read More

Networking Sessions for Health Consumer Advocates

Our networking session in August on health literacy, provided by our own network member, Anna Voloschenko, was a great success.  We hold networking sessions every other month in our Brisbane office as a chance for our consumer network members to meet and share ideas and experiences.
Please add the next dates into your diary and keep an eye out for more information on these closer to the dates:
  • Tuesday 11 October from 9.30 am to 11.30 am (please note this date has changed from what has been previously published)
  • Tuesday 6 December from 9.30 am to 11.30 am
We also hold events in regional Queensland.  This year we’ve held networking events in Cairns, Townsville and Charleville with another being held in Rockhampton this week.

Children’s Health Service Planning Project

The Department of Health, System Planning Branch, is leading a project to develop a statewide children’s health service plan for Queensland Health.  The plan will provide service directions to guide the delivery of public sector health services for children and young people in Queensland over a 10-year planning horizon.
Planning for future children’s health services will align with the directions for public sector health services in Queensland as set out in the 10-year vision My health, Queensland’s future: Advancing health 2026:
  • Promoting wellbeing
  • Delivering healthcare
  • Connecting healthcare
  • Pursuing innovation.
The project is undertaking planning for children, 0–18 years across the health continuum including health promotion, prevention and early intervention services, hospital-based services and community-based services as well as transition to adult services.
Responses to the questions can be provided to the project team via an online survey by 2 September 2016.
Please copy and paste the URL into your browser to access the survey:

For further information about the project or consultation, please contact the project team, Mark Connors or Archana Mishra, via or on 07 3234 1220.

Keeping Up to Date

Compression garments for people with malignancy related lymphoedema

Queensland Health provides compression garments for the treatment of malignancy related lymphoedema to eligible Queensland residents particularly those with breast cancer, lower limb cancers e.g. prostate cancer or women’s gynaecological cancers and melanoma.  

Individuals are eligible if they meet all of the following criteria:
  • Hold one of the following cards: 
    • Centrelink Pensioner Card
    • Centrelink Health Care Card
  • Are Medicare eligible
  • Have been assessed as having malignancy (cancer) related lymphoedema
  • Are aged over 16 years
  • Are an outpatient

This is a minimum eligibility standard – some health services may provide garments for a broader group of clients.  If you do not meet these criteria, it is recommended that you contact your local health service to confirm your eligibility.  Details of Queensland Health provision of compression garments, including eligibility and patient information can be found at

The Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland ran a special project and trial from August 2014 to increase access to compression garments for Queenslanders with malignancy related lympoedema.  You can read the full report on this project here:

This project helped to support the implementation of the Guideline for Compression Garments for Adults with Malignancy Related Lymphoedema: Eligibility, Supply and Costing.
The Guideline implementation in Queensland public health services has enhanced equity of access to compression garments for clients with malignancy-related lymphoedema and has improved access to garments in local Hospital and Health Service facilities.
A service model trial, as one arm of the project demonstrated that there is a scope of compression garment selection, fitting and monitoring that can be performed safely and effectively by generalist occupational therapists and physiotherapists with appropriate education and training, practice supervision and clinical governance processes in place.  An education and training model and associated implementation resources have been evaluated favourably and are a key enabler for the service model change.


Review of Pharmacy - release of Discussion Paper, Consultations & Invitation for submissions

During negotiations for the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA) in 2015 the Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia made a commitment to conduct an independent Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation (the Review).  A final report will be provided to the Minister for Health by March 2017.
The Review is being undertaken by a three person panel which includes Consumers Health Forum Deputy Chair Jo Watson.  They will provide recommendations on future remuneration, regulation including Pharmacy Location Rules, and other arrangements that apply to pharmacy and wholesalers for the dispensing and supply of medicines and other services, including the preparation of infusions or injections for chemotherapy, provided under the PBS.
The focus is to ensure consumers have reliable and affordable access to medicines.  More information on the Review is here.  You can read a CHF press release about the review here: Pharmacy review places focus on consumer needs.
The Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation has released their Discussion Paper to help stimulate debate and inform submissions.  They have also released national dates for Consultation Forums.  Qld consultations will be held in:
Cairns - 22 August – Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside - 7-9pm
Brisbane - 23 August – Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre - 7-9pm
The public consultations will culminate with a national interactive live webcast, to be broadcast from Canberra in the evening of 7 September.  To register your interest in attending one or more of the forums, including the national webcast, please email the Review Secretariat with the location of the forum you wish to attend; the number of participants attending; and their affiliation (e.g. pharmacist or consumer).
An online questionnaire will also shortly be available from the Review webpage.  The questionnaire will allow both pharmacists and members of the general public to respond to core issues raised in the Discussion Paper in lieu of, or in addition to, written submissions to the Review.  The closing date for written submissions to the Review is 23 September 2016, to .
Health Consumers Queensland will also be writing a submission.  You are invited to share your thoughts and experiences directly with our General Manager, Melissa Fox: by Fri 16 Sept.

Public Lecture: Conscientious Objection and Value Pluralism in Medicine

Where doctor and patient values conflict, most countries allow for the doctor to practice conscientious objection: to refuse to carry out legal, medically indicated procedures that conflict with the doctor’s own values.  In most cases provision is made for alternative care, but in some cases factors such as the number of objectors, or their location, effectively restricts patient access to medical services.  

Professor Savulescu will argue that there should be better protections for patients from doctors' personal values and there should be more severe restrictions on the right to conscientious objection.  He will also argue that eligible patients could be guaranteed access to medical services that are subject to conscientious objections by: (1) banning conscientious objection; (2) selecting candidates into relevant medical specialties or general practice who do not have objections; (3) demonopolizing the provision of these services away from the medical profession.
Please join members of the Australian Centre for Health Law Research for light refreshments in QUT's Gibson Room followed by the lecture.
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2016
When: 5.00pm light refreshments followed by a 5.30pm - 6.30pm lecture
Venue: Gibson Room, Level 10, Z Block, QUT Gardens Point Campus, 2 George Street, Brisbane
Register: by Thursday 25 August 2016 by visiting

Support groups for carers

Carers Queensland are promoting the following three Carer Support Groups:
  • Redcliffe Carer Café Club – open to all Carers who are caring for someone who has a disability, mental illness, chronic illness or aged.  The group meets the 4th Wednesday of each month at The Bikini Beach Café, 77 Redcliffe Pde, Redcliffe, 9.30am – 11.30am.  The next meeting is being held on 24 August.
  • Moreton Bay Parents Support Group – for parents/Carers of children and young people with Autism. The group meets the 2nd Thursday of each month at Caboolture Memorial Bowls Club (behind water tower), 101 King St, Caboolture, 10am – 12pm.  The next group is being held on 7 September with a focus on providing ‘meltdown strategies’
  • Expression of Interest for a Working Carers Group which will be held after hours. For further information, please contact Karen at Carers Queensland (see contact details below).
For more information please contact Carers Queensland:
Karen Williams
M 0427 720 213
T 07 3624 1700

Consumer Opportunities

MBS Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce is looking into how to best align services with clinical evidence and practice for better health outcomes.  Clinical Committees have been established to undertake the detailed review of all MBS items.  A number of priority items have been reviewed, more information on this is available at:

The Taskforce is now moving onto the next group of reviews and are looking for nominations to the following Clinical Committees to undertake this work.  Consumer representation is being sought for:
  • Allied health
  • Anaesthetics
  • General practice
  • Gynaecology (includes IVF)
  • Hand surgery
  • Indigenous health
  • Neurology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Plastic surgery
  • Specialist attendances (excluding psychiatry)
  • Spinal surgery
  • Urology
  • Vascular Surgery and Interventional Radiology
The expected time commitment is around four to five months.  The workload will consist of a face to face induction meeting, two face to face full day meetings at the beginning and end of the committee process and four to five three hour long teleconferences.  Technical expertise is not required, but experience as a consumer representative and familiarity with the subject area from a consumer perspective are strongly desired.  Please note that sitting fees and travel costs will be covered for this work.
Consumer Representatives or member organisations wishing to nominate a consumer representative to one or more of these committees should complete a CHF nomination form available online at
or by contacting Ghislaine Alventoza at CHF on 02 6273 5444 and via email at
Your application should include a concise CV and a letter of endorsement from an appropriate health consumer network demonstrating that you are placed with the confidence of consumers and have in place a consultative base.
Expressions of interest close 22 August 2016


Invitation to participate in an online Consumer survey - How do you make decisions about antibiotic use?

Australia is amongst the top users of antibiotics in OECD countries, contributing to the global problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).  The burden of AMR to health is significant, costing Australians an estimated $750 million per year.  Elaine Lum, a PhD student from the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, is investigating what factors influence decisions to use antibiotics from the perspectives of GPs, community pharmacists and consumers.
If you are a member of the general public between 18 – 54 years old and living in Australia, we would like to hear from you!  Your participation contributes to informing the development of public health campaigns and clinical resources, in alignment with Australia's National Antimicrobial Strategy 2015 – 2019.
Participation is by completing an online survey which will take about 15 minutes of your time. The main survey is based on a scenario.  You'll be asked to choose the situation in which you'd be more likely to fill an antibiotic prescription.  Your responses are anonymous and confidential.
To participate, please click on the following link, best viewed using Mozilla or Chrome web browsers:
Participants who complete the survey can go into a prize draw to win a $200 grocery voucher.  This research has been approved by the QUT Human Research Ethics Committee (Approval number: 1500000190).  For any queries, please email

Support your Community

Paint it Purple for Homeless Kids

There are over 43,000 kids across Australia that will not be sleeping in their family homes tonight.  Most enter care because they have been neglected or abused.  Isolation, anxiety and homelessness are recurrent issues.


But you can change it.


The Paint it Purple campaign is our opportunity to show our commitment and send a strong message that every child and young person should have the same rights and opportunities for a better future. 

Help us get the word out.  Donate, show your support and Paint it Purple for kids in care.

Share this campaign on social media!



Annual Kidney Health Research Walk

Kidney Health Australia hosts an annual Kidney Health Research Walk event to raise awareness, profile and funds for Kidney Disease…right here in Brisbane on Sunday 11th September 9am registration for 10am start.
We have an online registration system
and we are hoping to make the fun filled morning Bigger and better than 2015!
The event is a morning of connectivity, exercise and fun filled family activities, located on the beautiful Brisbane River – West End. The Deputy Premier – Jackie Trad will be officially opening our event, you will hear about the amazing kidney research work being done right here in QLD by Associate Professor Carmel Hawley – Chair of the Australasian Kidney Trials Network.

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

HEALTH PROMOTION CHARITY. Health Consumers Queensland © 2016. All rights reserved.


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