The latest consumer opportunities from Health Consumers Queensland
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eAlert: Enabling vital partnerships to ensure the COVID-19 health response meets the needs of all Queenslanders

In this issue:

A change for the better?

The way we receive and experience health care has changed so quickly during the past few months. As with any situation, both challenges and opportunities have come from living through a global pandemic. While the negatives are easy to identify, we have also seen Queensland Health: ​
  • Involve consumers in new and innovative ways ​
  • Quickly implement new models of care​ such as widespread access to telehealth and hospital in the home
  • Reduce care that is of low benefit ​
  • Roll out changes that have been long suggested but have not previously gained traction ​
  • Achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness of established care models. ​
Meanwhile, here at Health Consumers Queensland, we are connecting and consulting directly with consumers far more than we ever have, in newly adopted ways, and we've been able to amplify your voices with greater impact, urgency and meaning than ever before.

And what do consumers think? As the Queensland Clinical Senate gears up to meet with its clinicians on 18 May to explore the innovative practices in health care which have been developed during COVID-19, Health Consumers Queensland has embraced the opportunity this week to ask our consumer groups to reflect on what the public health system’s response has meant to them.

Specifically, we asked members of our Consumer Advisory Group, consumer members of the Health Consumers Collaborative of Queensland, and our COVID-19 Community of Interest to identify some of the success stories which are coming out of the public health system's response to the crisis and what they would like to be maintained beyond the emergency period. 

The full summary of these conversations will be tabled to Queensland Health to inform their planning discussions and will also be available on our website tomorrow.



  • The work Queensland Health has done to increase the network capacity for telehealth at home now enables up to 1000 appointments to take place at the same time - up from 90 appointments before COVID-19. This combined with the opportunity presented by the pandemic itself which made telehealth a necessity, has been a success story for consumers on many levels.
  • It has enabled rapid access to care and equity of access in both metropolitan areas and particularly across rural and remote Queensland. It has also saved consumers time and money, and relieved the stress of making complex arrangements to be able to attend appointments in person.
  • Consumers want to maintain this increased access to telehealth and continue to improve it. Health Consumers Queensland has suggested that Queensland Health needs to co-design information for consumers about telehealth including what it is, how to use it, what are the costings for consumers etc. Telehealth is also keen to work with consumers to further improve the current experience.

Keep efficient models of care and guidelines past COVID-19

  • Technology to enable medical care and monitoring in the home. The benefits of this are enormous and especially so for people who do not like hospitals or cannot make alternative arrangements for childcare.
  • This is a great opportunity to have long-overdue conversations on low-value care treatments/surgeries 
  • There has been a real awakening of understanding around decision-making and dilemmas, and innovative processes to help resolve issues.

Improved opportunities for consumer engagement

  • Online video conferencing has opened up and democratized opportunities for consumers to engage more frequently, meaningfully and with a much broader range of people and issues.
  • Opportunities such as our Consumer Conversations and the Director General’s VideoCast have sent out a clear signal that the health system wants to listen and is willing to act on consumer input. These should be continued.
  • Improved access, equity and transparency in decision-making roles and consumers want to maintain this level of involvement.
  • Groups with some of the greatest health needs have been able to engage in conversations that shape decisions that may impact their care including First Nations and rural and remote people. People who have disabilities or who are culturally and linguistically diverse note they now have  a seat at the engagement table.
  • Consumers are now well informed and better connected. Further work needs to be done to increase access to information across a broader range of consumers.
  • Sustaining these levels of engagement going forward  will require us to demonstrate to health systems the benefits of engaging with consumers, and have better support administratively and through funding.
  • COVID-19 has created a sense of urgency and a need to collaborate with all stakeholders. For this level of consumer engagement to continue they need another common denominator to work on together. 

Increased amount of high quality health information across numerous platforms

  • Queensland Health has done a lot of work on their website and their apps, and worked with regional services and local organisations to provide targeted information for people in regional and remote areas.
  • People are now in the habit of looking at these sites and platforms for trusted information on COVID-19 and there is an opportunity for Queensland Heath to capitalise on these new behaviours and levels of trust to increase people’s awareness about chronic conditions and how people can look after their own health.
  • Levels of health literacy have increased and COVID-19 has required us all to become more comfortable with ambiguity around our health.

Queensland Health has shown greater transparency and collaboration between staff and across the system

  • The response to COVID-19 has taken the health system through mature levels of change. Collaboration across different health sectors and with community controlled care and health community groups and inter-professional relationships between staff has made decision-making more efficient and effective. 
  • The Director-General’s transparency and openness through his VideoCast has been very positively viewed by consumers.

Mental health given equal weight alongside physical health

  • Stigma associated with mental health has been reduced.
  • Amount and availability of high quality information and support has emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to healthcare.

Authenticity and relevance

  • In a post-COVID world, the ability to communicate authentically and to make information relevant will be critical in building continued trust and collaboration. Consumers no longer want to be told, they want to explore the issue or problem alongside a health professional and take on board information which is tailored to our particular circumstances.
Latest news

“World first” Health Consumers Queensland's Consumer Partnerships Project ECHO pilot series completed

We have come to the end of our first Project ECHO series with consumers and carers from the Health Consumers Collaborative of Queensland and our own Consumer Advisory Group. This innovative approach to online video learning, which had previously only been used within clinical settings, was intended to build consumer knowledge, skills and confidence in health care engagement.

 Health Consumers Queensland is the first organisation in the world to adapt this highly structured model to enhance skills and knowledge around consumer engagement.  To our knowledge, we were also the first organisation in the Asia-Pacific region to quickly adapt to the new circumstances during COVID-19 and seamlessly continue running 'ECHOs' from our own homes, rather than coordinating and facilitating from a single office-based meeting room.

Whilst we evaluate the pilot ahead of offering a second ECHO series, Jim Madden from Toowoomba, a seasoned consumer currently sitting on the Collaborative and a participant of our pilot ECHO series, offered this insight into his experience::
Congratulations to the HCQ Team. Personally, I found the series of ECHO sessions interesting, relevant and engaging. I thought the structure for the sessions was aptly designed and I appreciated the way the team worked to manage that structure in a way that guided it to productive and usable outcomes. The behind the scenes planning work and the competence and dedication of the planners that brought about this success shone through.

Will technology save us? Headlines from the national health consumer peak organisations online forum

Thank you to all the consumers and carers from Queensland who joined the Australia-wide online consumer community forum hosted by all the state consumer peaks (like Health Consumers Queensland) during lunch time today. 

The conversations around the COVIDSafe contact tracing app, telehealth and the implications of loosening social restrictions. were thoughtful, provocative and valuable. Five staff members from Health Consumers Queensland facilitated breakout discussions. Jo Smethurst, from our team, said there were two words that summed up her group’s discussions on the tracing app:

  1. Transparency
  2. Trust and trustworthiness

The group discussion focused on the need to build trust for the app and for the Government, by ensuring all decision-making, processes and legislative processes are transparent. Without this transparency, it is more challenging for consumers to trust and find the app trustworthy.

In terms of telehealth most people want to ensure it continues beyond COVID-19 and to ensure it provides safe and equitable health care.

Queensland Health is recognised interstate for setting the gold standard in how to engage with consumers

Here in Queensland, we've never seen the Queensland public health system working so collaboratively, flexibly and transparently with its consumers and other stakeholders as it has during COVID-19.

Unfortunately this is not happening right across the country. In a powerful opinion piece for Croakey, Danny Vadasz, CEO of our fellow health consumer peak body, Health Issues Centre, in Victoria, highlights Queensland Health's gold standard approach to engagement during this time and urges other health systems to embrace the vital importance of community consultation in providing direction along the road to recovery.

You can read the article here.


Kitchen table discussions move online

Over the past 18 months we have utilised our kitchen table discussion methodology to engage with a significant number of consumers who may not normally participate in more formal consultation. We have also seen the number of consumers hosting sessions continually grow, reaching out to even more community members whose voice is not often heard.

With social distancing in place we have been able to continue to facilitate sessions moving the kitchen tables online via Zoom. The hosts are enjoying this process and keen to continue to use this avenue to consult with their community members.

If you would like to utilise kitchen table discussions online for your project please contact Anne Curtis, Engagement Consultant – Specific Projects at
Reporting back to consumers and carers

Q&As from the First Nations and rural and remote consumers online discussion about the COVID-19 response plans 

It's now almost two weeks since a record 54 First Nations and rural and remote consumers joined an online discussion hosted by Health Consumers Queensland with the Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer and Deputy Director-General of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Haylene Grogan together with the Chief Executive of the Establishment of the Rural and Remote Health Office, Lisa Davies-Jones.

We outlined the plans they shared with consumers in last week's eAlert and we promised to bring you responses to some of the questions asked by consumers as part of the discussion.

Consumer question: Can you please inform us of the best way to keep communications of our needs re health and our other chronic conditions, palliative care, all the things we usually have to be concerned about,  so how do we keep up that communications happening between our communities and families, and the government organisations, throughout the period of Covid19 especially?

Queensland Health response:
  • The Commonwealth and Queensland Government have a lot of information shared on our website and through social media channels and through the news. However our information is only useful if it is being shared. 
  • We are exploring options to leverage community leaders and local radio stations to share our information out to their networks. 
  • We are also looking at an SMS platform for our Hospital and Health Services to use to send out tailored information based on your region, your demographic and your health status.
  •  We are really interested in hearing feedback about how information can be better shared in your region. [Participants had a chance to complete an on-line survey to inform how this should happen.]
Consumer question: Closing The Gap does NOT target those vulnerable to COVID-19; what strategies does Queensland Health have in place for the immediate protection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders against the threat.

Queensland Health response:
  • The establishment of the First Nations COVID-19 team within Queensland Health was the first step to coordinate a state-wide response to COVID-19 for First Nations people. Our role is to support and advocate for First Nations service providers and community members.
  • Queensland Health is working closely with key stakeholders, including community leaders to develop robust, localised plans for protecting First Nations people from the threat of COVID-19.
  • Each discrete Aboriginal community has a Local Disaster Management Group who is responsible for developing localised strategies and each HHS has considerations for First Nations people in their pandemic plans.
COVID-19 information and resources for consumers, carers and engagement staff 

*UPDATED* Health Consumers Queensland COVIDSafe tracing app decision guide and FAQs

Is the COVIDSafe tracing app right for you and your family? 

We are continually reviewing the information in the guide and FAQs and updating this each week. You can download the latest version from our website using the links below to help you decide the best course of action for you and your family. 
Uncertain about downloading the new national COVIDSafe tracing app? Download our updated COVIDSafe tracing app decision guide and FAQS which sets out the benefits, risks and alternatives.

Download COVIDSafe tracing app decision guide and FAQs

Join a CHF-hosted webinar about COVID-19 Telehealth in Primary Care

Friday, 8 May 2020 12pm-1pm AEST

Want to know more about telehealth in the age of COVID-19? You are invited to join a Consumers Health Forum of Australia-hosted webinar and hear from experts on the various forms of telehealth currently in operation, and how the recent changes to the MBS will affect consumers.

Other areas of discussion will include explaining support measures, such as prescribing for telehealth and home medicine delivery. A preview of what to expect with the impending introduction of e-prescribing later in year is also on the agenda.

You can find out more and register here:

Join our state-wide COVID-19 Community of Interest

It has never been more important to listen to the voices of carers and consumers. Find out more about our state-wide COVID-19 Community of Interest and take part in weekly video conversations to inform Queensland Health's pandemic response. 

Please register your details  via the link below. 

COVID-19 Community of Interest
COVID-19 Consumer and carer opportunities

Support COVID-19 mental health messaging for expectant and new parents

COVID-19 has been stressful for everyone, but it poses unique challenges for expectant and new parents, babies and young children.

Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (QCPIMH) is working on a project to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of parents and children at this important time of life. QCPIMH is working closely with Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch, the Statewide Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Network, and the Office of the Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer. We also want to hear from parents themselves, and the clinicians who support them.

During this time of pandemic, what issues have you noticed confronting pregnant and new parents? What information do they need and how do they want to access that information? What other messages, resources or services would be helpful? Please email your ideas to with the subject heading: “COVID-19 Mental health messaging for parents”

Thank you so much for taking the time support babies, young children and parents by contributing your knowledge and suggestions.

Non-COVID-19 opportunities for consumers and carers from Health Consumers Queensland

Opportunity to partner with the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland – Research Portfolio

The Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland (AHPOQ) is inviting two consumer representatives to partner with AHPOQ to guide the allied health research portfolio for a two-year term.

AHPOQ plays a key role in the development, implementation and evaluation of strategies to ensure an appropriately skilled allied health workforce to meet the current and future health service needs of Queensland. There are over 9000 allied health professional and technical staff working in Queensland, who work alongside doctors and nurses to provide optimum health care. Further information about the organisation can be found on their website


The purpose of the research portfolio is to provide oversight and support allied health research capability and capacity across Queensland. AHPOQ is seeking two consumer representatives to provide advocacy and advice within this portfolio on the key components including:

Membership of the Health Practitioner Research Advisory Group (HPRAG)
– The purpose of this group is to provide advice on how to build and improve allied health research capacity and capability across services
– Membership includes research fellows, Directors of Allied Health and university representatives
– The group meets quarterly for 90 minutes and is chaired by the Chief Allied Health Officer

Membership of the Peer Review Panel of the Health Practitioner Research Scheme (HPRS)
– The HPRS is a peer reviewed, merit-based scheme, annually awarding funds to allied health practitioner professions for research activity
– Panel members review their allocated applications independently, attend a full day panel review and sit on a full day interview panel

Provide advice to the Allied Health – Translational Research into Practice (AH-TRIP) Steering Committee as required
– The AH-TRIP Steering Committee is responsible for the governance, leadership and strategic direction of the AH-TRIP initiative across Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) in Queensland.
– Provide advice on the development and implementation of the Allied Health 10-year Strategy including the Queensland Health Allied Health Research Plan.

Role of the consumer

The role of the successful applicant will be to:
Provide feedback and advice to inform decision making and strategic direction of the research portfolio. This includes:

  • attend all the HPRAG meetings and to actively participate in all HPRAG activities such as pre-meeting reading
  • participate in HPRS peer review panel activities such as review HPRS research applications and score them against set criteria, actively participate in HPRS peer review panel discussions, and participate as a panel member for the applicant interviews
  • provide advice on AH-TRIP activities
  • provide advice on other research initiatives as required.

Who is it for

This opportunity would suit a consumer with knowledge and experience in research and allied health services and the ability to contribute to the research portfolio at a Statewide level
  • an experienced consumer representative
  • a consumer who is confident working and communicating with healthcare professionals, board and executive members.


Find out more and apply

For more information on time frames, locations, remuneration and support, and to complete an application form please click on the link below. 


Find out more and apply
Other opportunities for consumers and carers

Help researchers understand consumer and care perspectives about palliative care and medication use

The aim of the survey is to better understand any of the barriers and facilitators to deprescribing for patients with life-limiting condition or illness and to enable the development of appropriate tools to assist health professionals and patients to work together to optimise medications.

To take part, please click on the link below or download the information sheet here.

UQ survey on palliative care and medication use

Participate in a research project about My Health Record

A post-graduate student at JCU is conducting research about My Health Record. She would like to hear from you if…

  • You live in regional or rural Queensland
  • You are regularly seeing your GP, nurse, diabetes educator or other health professional.

She would like to hear about your experiences of the My Health Record during your consultations, or when looking at your own records. She would also like to hear from people who may have used it or have experience of it previously.

To participate in the research, she would like to do a short interview with you.

The questions can be asked over the phone or via internet video link at a time convenient to you. The interview will take approximately 60 minutes. 

If you are interested and would like to know more please email or call  07 4781 4308.  

Closing date: 30 June 2020

Take part in the Dignity Project

Researchers at The Hopkins Centre, a joint initiative of Griffith University and the Division of Rehabilitation, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, invite you to participate in an online survey that explores personal accounts of experiences, interactions, and moments of dignity in all aspects of life for people with disabilities and/or impairments.

It is estimated that the survey will take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete. 

Researchers will not be given your name or contact details and your participation is completely voluntary. You do not have to complete this survey, however, if you are interested in participating, please click on the link below which will take you directly to the survey landing page. 

Please read through the information sheet and consent form on the survey platform, which explains more about the research project and your role as a participant. 

Please note that The Hopkins Centre researchers have received ethics approval to undertake this research. If you would like any additional information about this research, please contact
Mrs. Kelsey Chapman on

If you have any concerns about the way this research is being conducted, please contact the Metro South Hospital and Health Service HREC Coordinator on 07 3443 8049 or

For more information about the project or accessing the Community Hub, click HERE

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