4 November 2016 Submission

Submission to PC Inquiry into Human Services

Consumers Health Forum


Whilst CHF acknowledges that there is scope for improved efficiency in the delivery of health services we do not think that this preliminary findings report makes a convincing case for increasing competition and contestability delivering those efficiencies without detriment to consumers.  Some of the benefits identified for consumers could and should be achieved by reforms within the existing market arrangements. After these have been implemented it would then be useful to revisit all three areas and see if there is still scope for additional benefits from increased competition.

27 October 2016 Presentations and Speeches

Balancing innovation and evidence in self-management and self care - a consumer perspective

Consumers Health Forum, presented by Leanne Wells

Leanne Wells spoke at the 2016 Australian Self Medication Industry Conference on the topic of "Balancing innovation and evidence in self-management and self-care - a consumer perspective".

24 October 2016 Submission

Submission to the RACGP 5th Edition Standards Patient Guide

CHF welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback of the draft 5th edition Standards for General Practice Patient Feedback guide. We are pleased with the current state of the patient feedback guide and feel that the majority of the work in it respects consumers and will help practices best serve them. The suggestions provided in this submission will help practices communicate clearly and ethically to consumers about the need to collect data and the practices by which it is done.

18 October 2016 Consumers Shaping Health

Consumers Shaping Health, vol 10, issue 1, October 2016

I would like to introduce you to our new look Consumers Shaping Health. The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) is the nation’s peak body representing healthcare consumers and those with an interest in healthcare consumer affairs.

We live in an era of rapid change in healthcare and human services. Current developments such as digital health technology, community-based healthcare and the rise in consumer-directed care all point towards the growing influence of the consumer. Consumers Shaping Health aims to give you a quick overview of what CHF and our key partners do to shape health policy and programmes.

This is a re-launch of the Consumers Shaping Health e-newsletter we have been sending to stakeholders for some years. Now more people than ever will be receiving it as part of our aim to reach out to as many interested people as we can. The health consumer’s role is more important than ever with both clinicians and governments realising that healthcare works best when consumers have a central say about how it is designed and delivered. Many issues like Health Care Homes, health insurance, pharmacy, health literacy and quality and safety are crucial to consumers. Consumers Shaping Health will bring to you every two months news on what CHF and others are doing to ensure the consumers have impact in national health policy.

14 October 2016 Fact Sheets

Progress towards a Healthcare Consumer Organisation for Tasmania

Consumers Health Forum

In September 2015, the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) was engaged by Primary Health Tasmania to undertake foundational work to scope the need for, and to support the potential establishment of, a healthcare consumer organisation (HCO) in Tasmania. Currently Tasmania is the only Australian state without a HCO.

6 October 2016 Submission

Submission to MBS Review Taskforce: First Report of the MBS Principles and Rules Committee

Consumers Health Forum

CHF is providing this submission in response to the First Report of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Principles and Rules Committee, and to add to our responses provided via the online survey about the First Report.

4 October 2016 Submission

Submission to the Independent Review of Chaperones to Protect Patients

Consumers Health Forum

The need for and use of chaperones in the medical profession is a challenging issue for all concerned and one that CHF supports the investigation of. Due to the short timeframe in which submissions were called for we have not had time to consult our members explicitly on this submission. However, the use of chaperones was highlighted in a recent consultation we conducted regarding the accreditation of GP practices. During this consultation consumers discussed they feel that patients should be made aware of the need for a chaperone and what this entails before they interact with the practitioner. That the issue has arisen both in the media and in our consultation around GP accreditation prior to this we strongly support the review into the protocol and would be happy to offer our assistance to the review should further advice from the perspective of healthcare consumers be of interest.

4 October 2016 Submission

Submission to RACGP 5th edition Standards

Consumers Health Forum

CHF was pleased that one of the initial stated intentions in revising the Standards was to make them more consumer focused. However, we feel that this intent has not been realised in the current draft as a substantial number of the comments from our original submission and the consultation with healthcare consumers have not been taken into consideration. The following submission details this, firstly setting out the areas where we feel that our previous feedback has not been adequately incorporated into the new draft, followed by the key areas of concern that we acknowledge have been addressed. We strongly suggest that our feedback is taken into consideration in the next iteration of the Standards and in the evaluation of the pilot stage by surveying consumer’s attitudes to the changes. Should the RACGP require assistance in this, we would be happy to provide it.

30 September 2016 Report

Medicare Benefits Schedule: Involving the public in the review process

Consumers Health Forum

This report includes a summary of findings and an appraisal of existing models used across the world to involve the public in heath technology assessment.

It is intended to inform discussions of the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce about the ‘improvement of our Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)’ in order to ensure that it is ‘consistent with the latest clinical practice, or the best value healthcare. This report focusses on ways of improving the way the public are involved in the process of reviewing MBS Items.

This report also contains an Appendix which includes the search report from the literature review, a summary of the data extracted, links to the full data set extracted from the rapid review and additional information

The report contains a level of detail intended to reflect the complex nature of the subject. As an aid, the report includes a one page summary of the entire report, and an executive summary of key learning points that have been extracted from the report.

One page summary

Section title: Exploring definitions and terms

This section explores the variety of words and terms used throughout the English speaking world to describe ‘consumer engagement’ and associated concepts.

Key learning point

Involving the public in creating and agreeing the language used to describe engagement, participation and involvement will ensure that it is accessible, inclusive and therefore effective.

Section title: Detailed appraisal of five relevant models

This sections examines five internationally relevant models in detail, appraising the design and, where appropriate, key elements and limitations.

Key learning point

While these models represent a number of different ways of involving the public and evaluating involvement, there is no evidence-based validation for any of the models and therefore no endorsed option.

Section title: Relevant generic models of involvement

This section contains a summary of models of public involvement and engagement which, while relevant to health technology assessment, are more generic.

Key learning point

While there are a number of relevant international models, there is significant variation in the definitions of certain words used, such as engagement, and the purpose of any involvement or engagement. The Health Research Authority (UK) provides the best example of an organisation clearly articulating what they mean by public involvement, thus providing a robust linguistic framework of reference for future involvement models.

Section title: Significant themes

The significant themes identified were ‘social and ethical issues’, ‘public involvement’, ‘learning, training, education and development’.

Key learning point

While there may be challenges to including and involving everyone in the appraisal process, or ‘tensions between equity and efficiency', there are ways of overcoming some of these challenges. For example, creating inclusive learning and development opportunities for the public.



30 September 2016 Submission

Submission to Inquiry into National Cancer Screening Register Bill 2016 and National Cancer Screening Register (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2016

Consumers Health Forum

CHF is aware that many concerns have been raised about the awarding of the contract for the National Register to Telstra Health. However it is clear from the Bill that the Commonwealth is the custodian of the data in the register and as such has the responsibility to ensure that sufficient / stringent privacy safeguards and data governance arrangements are put in place to ensure the information collected is only used for the agreed purposes. This responsibility remains with them regardless of any contractual arrangements to operate the Register. The Bills provide those safeguards. It would be CHF’s expectation that the Bill’s intent with regard to privacy and data governance is upheld in appropriate provisions in the contractual arrangements in place between the Government and Telstra Health. With these legislative provisions and contractual obligations in place CHF believes the population health benefits exceed the risks and the Register should be established.