22 December 2022 Submission
Tammy Wolffs

Long COVID Inquiry

CHF has lodged a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport’s Inquiry into long COVID and repeated COVID infections.

Consumers told CHF about their lived experiences and the services that they need to get better.  They told us that many primary health practitioners do not know how to diagnose or treat long COVID.  At the same time, patients can wait many months for referral, and then many more months for treatment, at long COVID clinics.  Often, too, treatments are outdated and can exacerbate, rather than relieve, their symptoms.

The submission argues that an effective response to long COVID requires:

  • reducing repeated infections in the community
  • earlier treatment and multi-disciplinary care for patients, including mental health needs and other secondary effects, and supports related needs, such as housing, income, family violence
  • expanding the reach of specialist clinics and other primary care options that provide consistent, evidence-based treatment
  • conducting and supporting Australian based research into the condition, while using Australian and overseas research to educate health providers and update treatment guidelines
  • improving government (all tiers) community support for people with long COVID and their carers
  • increasing awareness of the condition, particularly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, culturally and linguistically diverse, and other disadvantaged communities, so that people who need it can get advice and treatment.
29 November 2022 Annual Reports
Consumers Health Forum of Australia

The year 2021–22 was significant on several fronts, not just for CHF but the wider health sector. To the relief of everyone in Australia, and beyond, the Covid-19 pandemic began to subside in early 2022 although its impact will be felt for many years to come. In our 2021-22 Annual Report you can read about how CHF played an important role in voicing consumer concerns during the pandemic, as well as contributing to several key initiatives including the Australian Government’s Preventative Health Strategy 2021-2030

17 October 2022 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

This submission responds to a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)  public consultation about whether the current scheduling of paracetamol is appropriate considering available data on paracetamol poisoning, including intentional overdose, and associated hospitalisations and deaths.  A variety of options, which suggest new limitations on access to paracetamol, are based on findings and recommendations of an independent expert report, commissioned by the TGA.  TGA does not have a view at this stage on the merits or otherwise of any options.  

14 October 2022 Submission
Tammy Wolffs

Fresh eyes on sugar labelling

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is reviewing how sugar is labelled on food packaging.  Seemingly simple, FZANZ consulted widely.  Should packaging for canned and frozen fruit and vegetables include added sugar content?  How about dried fruit?  Alcohol?  And how should added sugar content be presented?

CHF added the health consumer voice to a working group, with other interested organisations, including the Obesity Policy Coalition, Dieticians Australia, The George Institute, Auckland University, and other organisations to consider these and many other questions.

Read the full response.

31 August 2022 Youth Health Update
Youth Health Forum
  • Elizabeth Deveny, the new interim CEO for CHF invites young people to participate in discussions about health ccess and affordability 
  • Opportunity to participate in Preventive Health Engagement Strategy 
  • Luke Catania steps down after 1½ years as the CHF National Youth Health Forum Coordinator

View the newsletter

12 August 2022 Consumers Shaping Health
Consumers Health Forum

What science can tell us about the future of health

The value of science was reinforced over the two years of the pandemic as trust spiked and Australians turned to scientists and experts to guide us out of the threat. In the August 2022 edition of Consumers Shaping Health, we ....

  • share our letter to the Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, outlining CHF's priorities for health
  • promote a new program  for improving digital skills
  • publish the replay of the webinar with the Minister for Health and Aged Care Hon Mark Butler, and link to some survey results and videos for young people and mental health 

view the newsletter

4 August 2022 Submission
Tammy Wolffs

CHF wrote to the Treasurer in advance of the October Budget to set out the issues that are important to CHF, our members, and health consumers broadly.

The submission welcomes the Government's decision to deliver wellbeing Budgets in the future, and seeks initial steps to address cost of living pressures faced by the most disadvantaged in the community, including:

  • raising the rate of JobSeeker and related income support payments
  • increasing support for social and other housing
  • addressing other social determinants of health.

The submission is reinforcing the importance of health reform, including additional funding commitments, and pointed to the Roadmap developed by delegates at the Primary Healthcare Leadership Summit co-convened by Consumers Health Forum and the Primary Healthcare Cooperative in May 2022

14 July 2022 Consumers Shaping Health
Consumers Health Forum

Back to the fundamentals

What is a wellbeing Budget? Why should we be thinking about more than GDP?" In the July 2022 edition of Consumers Shaping Health, we ....

  • Outline CHF's support for the inclusion of long term visionary planning for Australians in the Budget
  • publish short blogs on research in health and digital health by Annette Schmiede, CEO, Digital Health CRC and Julia Nesbitt, Digital Policy Adviser, CHF
  • open up applications for members and consumers to put their questions to the Minister of Health and Aged Care, Hon. Mark Butler

view the newsletter

13 July 2022 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

Submission from Consumers Health Forum  on the expansion of Telehealth Services, to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)

The objective of this audit is to assess whether the Department of Health has effectively managed the expansion of telehealth services during and post the COVID‐19 pandemic.

Audit criteria 

The ANAO proposes to examine:

  • Was the expansion informed by robust planning and policy advice?
  • Was the expansion supported by sound implementation arrangements?
  • Has monitoring and evaluation of the expansion led to improvements?

For more on this audit read here

CHF Conclusion 

While health care services are designed to offer consistent access and delivery for everyone, the system’s design frequently fails to acknowledge the various socio-economic, regional, and cultural barriers that hinder equitable access to care. This inconsistency is illustrated by the significant disparities in health outcomes and overall health of across the population. 
The overriding impression is that telehealth was designed as a measure aimed at ensuring access to healthcare for all consumers. Recent changes, however, seem to treat Australians as a homogenous population - which it is not, particularly in terms of equity in access to healthcare.  The recent changes and elimination of a raft of telehealth MBS items appear to reflect an abandonment of the initial driving principle that represented a focus on, and concern for the health of all Australians. 

28 June 2022 Health Voices
Consumers Health Forum

Patient navigation – making the connections to better health

In this issue of Health Voices, researchers, consumers and advocacy groups discuss the role of the navigator – and other ways to support consumers and carers – to access different aspects of medical and social care and treatment is becoming essential in Australia’s complex and fragmented health care system.

Read the June 2022 edition of Health Voices