28 January 2020 Report
Consumers Health Forum

Social prescribing is the practice where health professionals, including GPs, have the resources and infrastructure to link patients with social services – or even social groups – in a bid to address the social determinants contributing to poor health and stave off the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation. A GP may, for example, suggest a patient join a local running group to enjoy the benefits of exercise and interaction.

The Australian Government is currently developing long-term plans for both primary healthcare and preventive health. This presents an opportunity to incorporate social prescribing into future health system planning and service delivery strategies.

CHF has partnered with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the NHMRC Partnership Centre for Health System Sustainability to host a roundtable on social prescribing in Australia. This stimulus paper in support of the November 2019 roundtable can now be viewed. 

The report on the roundtable was released in February 2020. 

Related articles

Social prescribing - a new way to think about healthcare (article)

Media release: A new type of prescribing for Australian patients (media release)

23 January 2020 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

The Productivity Commission’s inquiry into mental health examines the effect of mental health on people’s ability to participate in and prosper in the community and workplace. The Draft Report was released in October 2019 and opportunity to give feedback was invited, up to 23 January 2020. Read CHF's response to the Draft Report

22 January 2020 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

Australia's high-quality health care system, with universal access to publicly funded and provided services augmented by a private health care system, consistently performs well in international comparisons. However, indicators of access and equity show that Australia does not do so well, coming seventh out of the 11 countries survey on equity and fourth on access. This is despite Medicare providing universal access to primary care and hospital treatment. 

CHF’s submission for the 2020 Federal Budget, released on 22 January 2020, proposes 23 recommendations for change, covering ten broad areas ranging from prevention to aged care and primary health. Consumers have voiced their concerns about uncertainty, and the cost of health care services, both of which are important components of access.

15 January 2020 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

CHF's recommendations to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, Faculty of Radiation Oncology on the comprehensive guide for Establishing and sustaining regional, rural and remote radiation therapy centres

CHF notes that where the guide refers to engagement with consumers, the information should be clear, direct and tangible to avoid confusion or inaction. We recommend including additional information to emphasise the role of the consumer advisory committee with examples to illustrate how this has been done well by organisations such as Primary Health Networks. We have asked that the guide include references to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s Partnering with Consumers Standard. Read our submission below:

19 December 2019 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

Thirty years following the creation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), a review is long overdue. CHF believes that this review and a commitment to the regular evaluation of Medicare items is an essential to maintaining a world class health system and ensuring that funding is available for high value care.

In March 2019 CHF undertook a consumer survey on mental health services to hear from people with lived experiences about how the current health service system works for them. In that survey we asked about people’s experience of care, from a system integration and patient centred perspective and asked for ideas about how it could be improved.

The results from that survey echoed the evidence from a plethora of other reports on mental health service provision that there is a need to improve access to services and provide more choice. We agree that more needs to be done to help people access services closer to where they live and to make those services affordable.

CHF wants to see a service environment that helps reduce health inequities and helps people get the care they need when they need it. We support the development of stepped care models as a way of facilitating that and ensuring valuable and scarce resources are used to the best effect.

Click on the link below to read the CHF Response to the Report from the Psychiatry Clinical Committee

19 December 2019 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

Thirty years following the creation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), a review is long overdue. CHF believes that this review and a commitment to the regular evaluation of Medicare items is an essential to maintaining a world class health system and ensuring that funding is available for high value care.

Through CHF’s ongoing research work and engagement with our members, we consistently hear that issues of access, cost and quality are critically important to consumers when accessing healthcare. All three issues are especially prominent in relation to specialist care. These three factors shape the way we have considered this report and our response to the recommendations.

We believe many of the recommendations in this report present the opportunity to improve the value and quality of care consumers receive. We have raised concerns in relation to some areas where we believe the recommendations as proposed would lead to unintended consequences that would increase costs for consumers and ultimately limit access to care.

Click on the link below to read the CHF Response to the Report from the Ophthalmology Clinical Committee

19 December 2019 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

Thirty years following the creation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), a review is long overdue. CHF believes that this review and a commitment to the regular evaluation of Medicare items is an essential to maintaining a world class health system and ensuring that funding is available for high value care.

There is a substantial body of research supporting the importance of consumer involvement in health decision-making and a growing literature focussing specifically on the role of consumer representatives. Given the growth in both recognition and evidence to support consumer representation in health policy making, it was disappointing that a specific committee dedicated to consumer elements was not in place from the start of the MBS Review in 2015.

However, CHF appreciated the opportunity to engage with the Taskforce to establish the Consumer Panel in September 2016 and is pleased to see the results of the 2018 survey show it has provided significant value to the process, both from the consumer and the clinician perspectives. In particular, the Panel has developed a number of tools and templates to support the inclusion of consumer evidence and perspectives into committee deliberations. We hope these tools will continue to be used to support consumer engagement in the ongoing review of MBS items.

Click on the link below to read the CHF Response to the Report from the Consumer Panel

17 December 2019 Health Voices
Consumers Health Forum

In this issue of Health Voices leading health care professionals, consumers and researchers examine what personalised care really means for patients navigating the health system in Australia.

Read the November 2019 issue of Health Voices

16 December 2019 Report

As background to this demonstration trial, this report reports a scoping review of the extant knowledge to identify practical and relevant information related to the Collaborative Pairs context, program, methodology and outcomes. 

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