Welcome back to another year. Already much has been happening, with much more on the agenda for the year.
We have a new Health Minister in Greg Hunt. In a welcome move, he reached out to CHF very early in his tenure to touch base. We discussed CHF’s ideas for a better health system in detail. This week CHF Chair, Tony Lawson and I had a lengthy face-to-face meeting with Minister Hunt about his vision for a national health plan and preventative health. We advocated that these undertakings need to be informed by consumer and community aspirations and expectations of our health system. The Minister agreed to work with us on a Consumer Roundtable to provide the opportunity to bring together key consumer groups and advocates to ensure that the national health plan is shaped from a consumer and community perspective.
Our priorities for 2017 focus on the “5 P’s”; Primary Health Care, Private Health Insurance, Pharmacy, Prevention, and Patient Safety and Participation. Our Submission to the Federal Treasurer for Federal Budget 2017-18, ‘Consumer Focussed Commitments’, goes into what we want to see in these priority areas in more detail. Our core request beyond adequate financial resourcing for the health system is for COAG to develop a true forward looking strategy that builds a national vision for our health system.
Our first major campaign for the year has launched, asking consumers to check and make sure their private health insurance is in fact, ‘Healthy Cover’. The response so far has been heartening, with coverage in the Guardian and a decent number of responses to the survey. We ask that those who choose to hold private health insurance take the time to go through the checklist and survey. A very big thank you to everyone who has already helped spread the word about Healthy Cover. The more voices we can gather, the better we can make our combined voice heard.
I’d like to close on a sad note. Sally Crossing was an incredible woman and absolutely pivotal in the growth of health consumers in Australia. Her grace, courage and empathy touched thousands, and her legacy will continue to touch many more. Read our commemorative statement about Sally here.
Chief Executive Officer
Consumers Health Forum