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
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.
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.
- 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
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
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
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
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.
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;
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.
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.
CHF is more active than ever working on behalf of consumers for a better health system, and we have highlighted our significant achievements in the CHF Report Card for 2021-2022. As we move forward with a new federal government, there are many new opportunities for consumer-directed policies and programs, and for strengthening the consumer voice.
We continue to serve as a thought leader in health care and shine a light on where health care can be improved with our focus on equity and fairness of access.
During 2021-2022 we:
- led with pioneering work on consumer leadership with Collaborative Pairs Youth in partnership with Orygen and Centra North Coast PHN and developed a prospectus for an Australian Health Consumer Leadership Academy
- partnered with research institutions for projects on consumer sentiment and digital health
- produced submissions on behalf of consumers on many issues in health care
- produced a series of resources and videos to aid vaccine confidence in consumers for community-led conversations and health care professionals, with the Dept of Health
- nominated and supported consumer advisors
- published a range of reports
- launched Consumer Link, an informational and educative webinar series for consumer representatives.
- hosted the Youth Health Forum Summit with 250+ participants
- monitored and reported community responses through our Australia’s Health Panel surveys on issues of the moment including virtual health care, self-financed private treatment, Medicare and private health insurance in the past year.
- kept in touch with diverse communities with CHF Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that are active on issues including Primary Health Care, Research & Data, Digital Health, Safety & Quality in Healthcare, Rural & Remote Health and our newest group for Mental Health.