20 October 2020 Fact Sheets
Consumers Health Forum

Invitation to the Western NSW PHN Collaborative Pairs Program, closes Friday 29 January 2021 

12 October 2020 Consumers Shaping Health
Consumers Health Forum

A healthy budget that raises hopes for the future

There is much to appreciate about the level of support for health in the Federal Budget. The solid funding increases for Medicare, PBS and public hospitals; and the substantial financing of the COVID emergency response and the significant commitment of funding to ongoing development of telehealth have opened new and substantial fields of spending.

We are benefiting from the sound basis that the Australian health system provides and by the force of circumstance that has prompted the Government to pour extraordinary amounts of money into health. The response from the health community has been largely positive although laced with a measure of concern about wider community needs that so often lead to poor health. ...

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8 October 2020 Presentations and Speeches
Consumers Health Forum

Federal Budget 2020-21 Briefing analysis

The Federal Budget 2020-21 was handed down on Tuesday 6 October 2020. CHF staff worked hard to bring you the latest information and to provide expert commentary on how the budget affects the health consumers. Our Budget Briefing analysis is attached.

Download the analysis

There was a follow-up webinar to discuss the briefing on Friday 9 October 2020. Leanne Wells CHF Chief Executive and Jo Root, Policy Director, will provide some further analysis of the measures and the reactions from other organisations and health policy experts.

Watch the webinar replay

7 October 2020 Submission

As required by the Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 (the Act), the independent Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) conducted a consultation from 9 Sep 2020 to 7 Oct 2020 to develop the Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF) Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2020-22 (the Priorities).

The Priorities are considered by the Minister for Health before the Commonwealth Government decides on the disbursement of funding from the MRFF. AMRAB was interested in hearing reflections from the community on the current set of MRFF Priorities, the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2018-2020. In particular their ongoing appropriateness to guide MRFF investments in health and medical research over the next 12 month period which is the final stage of the current Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy 2016-21 (the Strategy). As the current Strategy expires during the life of the next Priorities (in November 2021), the consultation specifically focused on revisiting the Priorities in the contemporary context and seek to identify opportunities to use the next twelve months as a period of consolidation under the current Strategy.

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) is the national peak body representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers and those with an interest in health consumer affairs, including health based research. We have around 200 members reflecting a broad spectrum of organisations including state-based consumer peaks, condition-specific groups, volunteer patient groups, professional associations, Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and the research community. 

We work in collaboration with our members, national partners and research collaborators to influence policy, programs and services to ensure they are in the consumer and community interest. In developing our submission we provided our members the opportunity to input into our responses and consulted with our ‘Research and Data Special Interest Group’, a group of nearly two-dozen everyday consumers with an interest in health research and data.

CHF is pleased to make this submission in response to the MRFF Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2020-2022 consultation.

24 September 2020 Fact Sheets
Consumers Health Forum

Lets talk about our Big Ideas for Health - use this flyer to promote the Big Ideas competition

22 September 2020 Youth Health Update
Carolyn Thompson

The Youth Health Update newsletter for September 2020 covers:

  • Registration details for a four-part Young Advocates Webinar Series and information about CHF's Shifting Gears Summit in 2021
  • A link to YHF member Eileen Phoenix Aquino Lam's article in Croakey 
  • Information about the Youth Taskforce Survey for the National Youth Policy Framework and a Birth Dignity Survey from Safer Motherhood for All
  • Links to webinars for CHF Talks and the Mental Health in the Emergency Department
22 September 2020 Fact Sheets
Climate and Health Alliance
4 September 2020 Consumers Shaping Health
Consumers Health Forum

COVID and a social prescription for change

The Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association has just published a detailed and thought-provoking report on how we can turn the experiences of COVID-19 into opportunities for change.

The report captures the mood for change. As it happens, this re-imagining of health provided a timely context for our well-attended webinar this week on a significant new development in primary care, social prescribing ...

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31 August 2020 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

Australia has a high-quality health care system, with universal access to publicly funded and provided services augmented by a private health care system. In international comparisons Australia consistently does well, being ranked second overall by the Commonwealth Fund in 2017 and top in terms of health care outcomes[1].

Since our first submission for the 2021 Budget process we have had the COVID-19 pandemic infect over 24 million people worldwide and result in over 800,000 deaths. Here in Australia we have had around 25,000 cases and 525 deaths. [2] We have seen an extraordinary effort across our health system, economy, and community to minimise the impact of the coronavirus, both on the health and wellbeing of the community but also the economy. Whilst for much of Australia the crisis has been dealt with, at least in the short-term, it is becoming clearer that we will be living with COVID-19 for some time to come.

The health system has responded well to the crisis, with innovation across many areas of health service delivery moving to new models of care supported by changes to Government policy to facilitate this. The expansion of telehealth services, introduction of new virtual care services, fast tracking of e-prescriptions  and  expanded mental health services are just some of the ways the health system has moved to ensure people still get the health care they need. We have also seen a more collaborative approach between levels of Government to work together on solutions.

The pandemic has revealed many cracks in our society and economy including: the extent of casualisation of the workforce; growing income inequality; an inadequate income support system; and a digital divide which is leaving many people behind. It is those cracks that the 2020 Budget needs to start to address as they will widen and result in poorer health outcomes and even greater cost burden on health and human service systems if immediate action is not taken.

 We also need a longer-term vision for the health system and our society. The Federal Budget 2021 should lay out an agenda for the future including Government’s full response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care, the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and the  long awaited 10 year Primary Health Care Plan and the National Preventive Strategy.

CHF has established a Consumer Commission to look at what the health system should look like beyond COVID-19.  Thirty of the best consumer advocate minds in the country have been examining what reforms have been implemented through the pandemic that should be kept, where the fault lines are, and what the policy response should be. The final report and recommendations from the Consumer Commission will not be completed in time to include in this submission but will form the basis of key reform ideas CHF puts to Government in the future, particularly for the Federal Budget 2021.


[1] Eric C. Schneider, Dana O. Sarnak, David Squires, Arnav Shah, and Michelle M. Doty, 2017 Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparison Reflects flaws and Opportunities for better US Health care, Commonwealth fund.

[2] Department of Health website 26/08/2020