20 November 2020 Submission

On 6 October 2020, the Senate resolved to establish a Select Committee on Tobacco Harm Reduction. The committee will inquire into a range of tobacco reduction strategies and is due to report by 1 December 2020.

Prevention and cessation of smoking has been a remarkable public health achievement in Australia, which is attributed to the regulatory and population-based approach of the Tobacco Control Regulations and guidelines. Despite the progress that has been made, 11% of Australians still smoke daily, though this number is continuing to decline. There is a duty of care to regulate products that encourage smoking from being sold and advertised alongside everyday items as the addictive and dangerous nature of these products limits the ability of consumers to make an informed choice. We also need to continue to provide evidence-based smoking cessation programs and supports across the community.

CHF believes that there is a need for more research on various aspects of e-cigarettes, including their safety, efficacy as a harm reduction tool and potential to undermine smoking cessation efforts. We support a precautionary approach while there remains a lack of high-quality evidence on the long-term consequences of e-cigarette use.

CHF's full submission to the Committee can be accessed below, and further information about the Tobacco Harm Reduction inquiry is available on the Committee's website.

17 November 2020 Health Voices
Consumers Health Forum

The pandemic is bad but it has also brought some good news for consumers and the health system, forcing many of us to think afresh.

Read the November 2020 issue of Health Voices

16 November 2020 Position Statements
Climate and Health Alliance
13 November 2020 Submission

Preventive health is a key pillar of Australia’s Long Term National Health Plan. A 10-year National Preventive Health Strategy is being developed and will be completed by March 2021. In late August 2020 the Department of Health released a Consultation Paper which outlined the key themes from consultations held to date, as well as what the National Preventive Health Strategy aims to achieve and conceptually, how this might be done. The consultation was open from 28 August - 28 September 2020.

CHF believes there are a number of systemic shifts that are needed across government and society to prevent poor health outcomes, reduce health inequities and address the social, cultural, environmental and commercial determinants of health. The COVID-19 pandemic and emerging knowledge about the links between conditions such as obesity and coronavirus and its effects, are added impetus for a sound Strategy. The development of a 10 Year National Preventive Health Strategy is a significant opportunity to take a more holistic approach to address the underlying causes of poor health. CHF is seeking an ambitious, implementation focused National Preventive Health Strategy with explicit investment targets.

A copy of CHF's submission is provided below. The National Preventive Health Strategy Consultation Paper can be accessed here.

9 November 2020 Submission
CHF

The Australian Government is committed to modernising how we use public sector data. Improving how we share and use this data, with safety, integrity and appropriate consumer protection measures, will benefit Australians through more effective government policies, programs, and service delivery, and through improved research outcomes.

The Exposure Draft of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 (the Bill) is a step towards modernising the use of data held by the Australian Government. The data reforms presented in the draft Bill are an opportunity to establish a new framework that can proactively assist in designing better services and policies. The reforms encourage our academics and the research community to innovate and find new insights from public sector data without having to go through stifling and vague bureaucratic processes when working with data custodians.  

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) is the national peak body representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers and those with an interest in health consumer affairs, including health-based research. We have over 250 members reflecting a broad spectrum of organisations including state-based consumer peaks, condition-specific groups, volunteer patient groups, professional associations, Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and the research community.

We work in collaboration with our members, national partners and research collaborators to influence policy, programs and services to ensure they are in the consumer and community interest. In developing our submission we provided our members the opportunity to input into our responses and consulted with our ‘Research and Data Special Interest Group’, a group of nearly two-dozen everyday consumers with an interest in health research and data.

CHF is pleased to make this submission in response to the Office of the National Data Commissioner (NDC) Data Availability and Transparency Bill (DATB) exposure draft consultation.

9 November 2020 Consumers Shaping Health
Consumers Health Forum

How COVID strengthens Shifting Gears

CHF was obliged to postpone our Shifting Gears Australasian summit to March 18-19 next year --- and transform it to a virtual event --- because of COVID. Yet the influence of COVID has made our conference theme of consumer leadership and experience and consumers as agents of change more timely and relevant.

Rarely does a health crisis impact on an entire society in the way COVID has. It has made many more consumers take an active role in their own health care, like wearing masks and taking more hygiene measures. Governments have been urged to involve the community in decision-making more, the medical science community has recognised the importance of communicating to consumers on risks and therapies. ...

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30 October 2020 Submission
CHF

The NHMRC proposed to include new and revised chapters in Section 4 and Section 5 of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2007 (updated 2018) (the National Statement). Developed by the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC), the revised sections provide advice for both researchers and Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) addressing ethical considerations related to potentially vulnerable participants in research (Section 4) and research governance and ethics review (Section 5).

Under Section 13 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992, NHMRC is required to undertake public consultation prior to finalising its human research guidelines. NHMRC is keen to ensure that the Australian community has the best opportunity to participate in developing guidance on the ethical design, review and conduct of human research, and seeks your feedback on the proposed changes to the National Statement.

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) is the national peak body representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers and those with an interest in health consumer affairs, including health based research. We have around 200 members reflecting a broad spectrum of organisations including state-based consumer peaks, condition-specific groups, volunteer patient groups, professional associations, Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and the research community. 

We work in collaboration with our members, national partners and research collaborators to influence policy, programs and services to ensure they are in the consumer and community interest. In developing our submission we provided our members the opportunity to input into our responses and consulted with our ‘Research and Data Special Interest Group’, a group of nearly two-dozen everyday consumers with an interest in health research and data.

CHF is pleased to make this submission in response to the NHMRC Public Consultation on the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research Sections 4 and 5.

20 October 2020 Fact Sheets
Consumers Health Forum

Invitation to the Western NSW PHN Collaborative Pairs Program, closes Friday 29 January 2021 

12 October 2020 Consumers Shaping Health
Consumers Health Forum

A healthy budget that raises hopes for the future

There is much to appreciate about the level of support for health in the Federal Budget. The solid funding increases for Medicare, PBS and public hospitals; and the substantial financing of the COVID emergency response and the significant commitment of funding to ongoing development of telehealth have opened new and substantial fields of spending.

We are benefiting from the sound basis that the Australian health system provides and by the force of circumstance that has prompted the Government to pour extraordinary amounts of money into health. The response from the health community has been largely positive although laced with a measure of concern about wider community needs that so often lead to poor health. ...

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8 October 2020 Presentations and Speeches
Consumers Health Forum

Federal Budget 2020-21 Briefing analysis

The Federal Budget 2020-21 was handed down on Tuesday 6 October 2020. CHF staff worked hard to bring you the latest information and to provide expert commentary on how the budget affects the health consumers. Our Budget Briefing analysis is attached.

Download the analysis

There was a follow-up webinar to discuss the briefing on Friday 9 October 2020. Leanne Wells CHF Chief Executive and Jo Root, Policy Director, will provide some further analysis of the measures and the reactions from other organisations and health policy experts.

Watch the webinar replay

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