7 October 2020 Submission
CHF

As required by the Medical Research Future Fund Act 2015 (the Act), the independent Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) conducted a consultation from 9 Sep 2020 to 7 Oct 2020 to develop the Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF) Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2020-22 (the Priorities).

The Priorities are considered by the Minister for Health before the Commonwealth Government decides on the disbursement of funding from the MRFF. AMRAB was interested in hearing reflections from the community on the current set of MRFF Priorities, the Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2018-2020. In particular their ongoing appropriateness to guide MRFF investments in health and medical research over the next 12 month period which is the final stage of the current Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy 2016-21 (the Strategy). As the current Strategy expires during the life of the next Priorities (in November 2021), the consultation specifically focused on revisiting the Priorities in the contemporary context and seek to identify opportunities to use the next twelve months as a period of consolidation under the current Strategy.

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 MRFF Australian Medical Research and Innovation Priorities 2020-2022 consultation.

24 September 2020 Fact Sheets
Consumers Health Forum

Lets talk about our Big Ideas for Health - use this flyer to promote the Big Ideas competition

22 September 2020 Youth Health Update
Carolyn Thompson

The Youth healthUpdate newsletter for September 2020 covers:

  • Registration details for a four-part Young Advocates Webinar Series and information about CHF's Shifting Gears Summit in 2021
  • A link to YHF member Eileen Phoenix Aquino Lam's article in Croakey 
  • Information about the Youth Taskforce Survey for the National Youth Policy Framework and a Birth Dignity Survey from Safer Motherhood for All
  • Links to webinars for CHF Talks and the Mental Health in the Emergency Department
22 September 2020 Fact Sheets
Climate and Health Alliance
4 September 2020 Consumers Shaping Health
Consumers Health Forum

COVID and a social prescription for change

The Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association has just published a detailed and thought-provoking report on how we can turn the experiences of COVID-19 into opportunities for change.

The report captures the mood for change. As it happens, this re-imagining of health provided a timely context for our well-attended webinar this week on a significant new development in primary care, social prescribing ...

view the newsletter

31 August 2020 Submission
Consumers Health Forum

Australia has a high-quality health care system, with universal access to publicly funded and provided services augmented by a private health care system. In international comparisons Australia consistently does well, being ranked second overall by the Commonwealth Fund in 2017 and top in terms of health care outcomes[1].

Since our first submission for the 2021 Budget process we have had the COVID-19 pandemic infect over 24 million people worldwide and result in over 800,000 deaths. Here in Australia we have had around 25,000 cases and 525 deaths. [2] We have seen an extraordinary effort across our health system, economy, and community to minimise the impact of the coronavirus, both on the health and wellbeing of the community but also the economy. Whilst for much of Australia the crisis has been dealt with, at least in the short-term, it is becoming clearer that we will be living with COVID-19 for some time to come.

The health system has responded well to the crisis, with innovation across many areas of health service delivery moving to new models of care supported by changes to Government policy to facilitate this. The expansion of telehealth services, introduction of new virtual care services, fast tracking of e-prescriptions  and  expanded mental health services are just some of the ways the health system has moved to ensure people still get the health care they need. We have also seen a more collaborative approach between levels of Government to work together on solutions.

The pandemic has revealed many cracks in our society and economy including: the extent of casualisation of the workforce; growing income inequality; an inadequate income support system; and a digital divide which is leaving many people behind. It is those cracks that the 2020 Budget needs to start to address as they will widen and result in poorer health outcomes and even greater cost burden on health and human service systems if immediate action is not taken.

 We also need a longer-term vision for the health system and our society. The Federal Budget 2021 should lay out an agenda for the future including Government’s full response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care, the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and the  long awaited 10 year Primary Health Care Plan and the National Preventive Strategy.

CHF has established a Consumer Commission to look at what the health system should look like beyond COVID-19.  Thirty of the best consumer advocate minds in the country have been examining what reforms have been implemented through the pandemic that should be kept, where the fault lines are, and what the policy response should be. The final report and recommendations from the Consumer Commission will not be completed in time to include in this submission but will form the basis of key reform ideas CHF puts to Government in the future, particularly for the Federal Budget 2021.

 

[1] Eric C. Schneider, Dana O. Sarnak, David Squires, Arnav Shah, and Michelle M. Doty, 2017 Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparison Reflects flaws and Opportunities for better US Health care, Commonwealth fund.

[2] Department of Health website 26/08/2020

 
25 August 2020 Submission
Carolyn Thompson

Youth Health Forum Comments on the Job-Ready Graduates Package 

In our submission, the YHF provide comments about the proposed new Job-ready Graduates Higher Education Reform Package (the Package). While we cannot speak about nuts and bolts of university systems, we do want to share our insights on the complex requirements for someone to be considered ‘job-ready’, the concerns of restructuring university fees for universities and young people, and additional ways to support people into employment. This submission is based on the opinions and experiences of YHF members.

Most importantly, we want to emphasize the importance of including and prioritising Australia’s younger generations in discussions to maximise the positive effect that these changes can have. There is growing concern that we are leaving this generation behind and government needs to take swift and deliberate action to close the generational divide . A person’s overall health is largely determined by non-health factors: social, economic, and environmental and so we urge those evaluating these legislative changes to look beyond COVID-19 and the current economic situation, and consider the long-term impacts that their decisions will have on the health and wellbeing of future generations of Australians.

25 August 2020 Submission
Carolyn Thompson

Youth Health Forum Submission to the Select Committee on COVID-19

Young people have been identified as one of the most affected population groups in Australia. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted existing inequities in the higher education, employment and housing sectors that have a new sense of urgency in light of the economic downturn. Young people need to be included in the problem-solving process and there needs to be a long-term plan for how we will support this generation to transition from education into employment and self-sufficiency.

In our submission, the Youth Health Forum provide feedback on the Government’s communication and messaging, financial support packages, health services that have been made available, and the long-term impacts such as mental health. Most importantly, we want to emphasize the importance of including and prioritising Australia’s younger generations in the recovery plan.

We feel that this review process is important, and the lessons learnt so far must be reflected in how we move forward as a society.

25 August 2020 Youth Health Update
Carolyn Thompson

The Youth healthUpdate newsletter for August 2020 covers:

  • Information about consumer representation opportunities with the Lung Foundation, Palliative Care Australia and Choosing Wisely
  • Links to the Young Carer Bursary Program and the announcement of Youth Advocacy Support Grants by Minister Colbeck

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