Consumers Shaping Health
Volume 11, Issue 2, 2016
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Putting the focus on health consumers
We're proud of our achievements and progress in 2016, and are looking forward to helping make even more positive change in 2017.


2016 draws to a close after a productive year for CHF and the wider healthcare consumer sector. We have participated in all the major government health reform reviews, upgraded our branding and redesigned our website and digital communications strategy in order to engage more frequently and effectively with members, partners and stakeholders. Highlights included two ‘thought leadership’ roundtables hosted with The George Institute for Global Health and others. You can read Putting the Consumer First and Patient-centred Healthcare Homes in Australia - Towards Successful Implementation in the reports section of our website:

Our Annual Report provides an overall summary of our year: Annual Report 2015-16.

Our submission to the 2017 Federal Budget has just been submitted. We have advocated for a strategic suite of measures across the ‘5Ps’: prevention, primary health care, pharmacy, private health insurance and patient participation: view our submission here.

CHF is committed to the principle of ‘consumers shaping health’. We have ambitious plans for 2017 and look forward to working closely with our stakeholders and partners on several new initiatives designed to put people at the centre of health and care.

We wish all our stakeholders and partners a Merry Christmas and safe and happy New Year.

Leanne Wells
Chief Executive Officer
Consumers Health Forum


In this Issue:

Recent Publications
Consumer Representative Resources
Consultations and Surveys

Click the headings to go to that part of Consumers Shaping Health

Recent Publications 

CHF submitted six policy submissions to various reviews and inquiries in recent months. We have highlighted consumer needs across the health sector by contributing to the 5th National Mental Health Plan, the Medical Board of Australia, the Practice Incentives Program and the Productivity Commission.

A complete list of our publications is available at

Submission to the 5th National Mental Health Plan

Our submission to the 5th National Mental Health plan highlighted a range of deficiencies in the current draft and suggested constructive ways forward. Mental ill health affects everyone and we look forward to advocating for consumers in mental health more in the future.

Submission to the Redesign of the Practice Incentives Program

The community values access to affordable general practice services. CHF has supported a PIP that stimulates a greater focus on continuous quality improvement and data driven improvement in general practice. This fits with the desirability of promoting both quality general practice generally, but also practice readiness for any wider, national rollout of health care home models of care where it will be critical for practices to have good profiles of their practice populations, greater data literacy and analytics capability in order to take a more sophisticated approach to practice development, redesign, improvement etc as well as monitor patient outcomes.

Submission to Medical Board of Australia – Response to medical revalidation consultation

CHF supports the need for the introduction of revalidation of medical practitioners, and its fundamental purpose of ensuring public safety in healthcare. Australian consumers must be able to have complete faith in the safety and quality of healthcare services. This is a zero tolerance requirement for consumers, as unsafe care is obviously completely unacceptable.

Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services

CHF agrees with the Productivity Commission’s report that access to high quality health and human services underpins economic and social participation and contributes to community wellbeing. At a time when there is increased pressure on the federal budget and discussions around sustainability it is necessary to look at how we deliver services to ensure it is being done in an efficient way to meet the objectives of such services. It is also increasingly important that considerations of value to both taxpayer and individual consumer are part of future health and human services policy and system design, and that we explore how contestability may, or may not, foster that.

Revision to Joint Statement on Consumer and Community Involvement in Health and Medical Research

The National Health and Medical Research Council and the Consumers Health Forum of Australia have released a revised joint statement reflecting the growing recognition of the place of consumers and community in health research.The CEO of the NHMRC, Professor Anne Kelso AO, and the CEO of CHF, Leanne Wells, say that in recent years the importance of consumer and community involvement in research has become more widely recognised.


A significant thread winding through many of media releases over the period has been the importance of measurement and evidence in promoting best outcomes for consumers. Issues like the rise in obesity, the Health Care Homes trial, medical research and private health costs all involve in different ways the significance of evidence in health care and systems. It’s that which so often provides the case to promote the consumer’s best interests. A survey of health workforce and patient-centred care which was a feature of our Health Voices journal is another case in point, revealing the gap between belief and practice.

Below are some of our major Media Releases. For a full list of our Media Releases see

Health Voices: Health consumers and workforce – are we engaged?

CHF Journal, Issue 19

Health Voices presents the views of 20 leaders, including Health Minister, Sussan Ley, on the issues which challenge and motivate our health workforce in delivering consumer-focused care.

Health Care Homes: the medical breakthrough we need

Op-ed by CEO Leanne Wells and Professor Claire Jackson, published in The Australian

The most significant development in Australia’s health system in a generation reaches a crunch point in Christmas week. Long-awaited reform of primary health care services in the community is on the cards and central to this will be the GP.

Medicare cap plan endangers Health Care Homes

Media Release

The surprise revelation that the Government is planning to cap non-chronic care visits to GPs to five a year will discourage both doctors and patients from signing up to the Health Care Homes initiative which is scheduled to start next July.

Obesity’s steady rise demands concerted action

Media Release

The latest adult obesity figures show that it’s well past time for firmer measures against unhealthy foods that are causing disease and stretching health budgets.

Health competition welcome if there is real choice

Media Release

Consumers would welcome more competition among health and hospital services where there is a real choice, but often little choice is available.

Health Care Homes trials vital for consumers and too important to delay

Media Release

Patients stand to benefit greatly under Health Care Homes and the first stage of the scheme should begin as soon as practicable

Tax on sugary drinks hits the sweet spot for our health

Media Release

While a sugar tax is but one important action we can take to encourage healthier lifestyles in Australia, it would send a tangible message to consumers alerting them to unhealthy level of sugar in their soft drink.

Step in the Right Direction on Private Health Costs

Media Release

The announcement of cuts to the costs of some medical devices is a welcome first step towards containing costs of private health insurance.

Health funds’ poor practices show need for reform

Media Release

“Poor practices” by some health funds are exposing consumers to bill shock and inadequate cover, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has found in a new report.

Consumer Representative Resources

Helping the health consumer voice be heard at the decision making table is a key part of our mission. This section features some of the community building and content development we've done recently to help people become better and more connected consumer representatives.

CHF Health Consumer Reps Connect Facebook Group

Facebook Group

If you’re a current rep, past rep or a potential future rep, join the CHF Consumer Reps Connect Facebook group. It's open to all comers, not just those who have a relationship with CHF - so if you know anyone who might benefit from this growing community, please let them know to join.

Twitter Consumer Rep Starter Pack

Twitter List

This Twitter List is to help people who are new to twitter, or new to the online consumer rep world. Most members of the list were brought up from discussions that happened in the CHF Consumer Reps Connect Facebook group.

What I Wish I Knew When I was a New Consumer Rep

Blog Article

We asked the Consumer Reps in our CHF Consumer Reps Connect Facebook group what they wish they knew when they first started out as Reps. Their advice is very helpful for anyone thinking about getting involved in health advocacy in this way.

Making it real – the impact of consumer co-production

Guest Blog by Liat Watson

For Liat, it’s an ethical imperative that those whose health is to be cared for – the public – have the most input into the design, development, provision and subsequent evaluation of tax-payer funded health services. The work she did with the Community Advisory Group for the Melbourne Genomics Alliance has had a genuine impact.

Consultations and Surveys

We are committed to helping the consumer voice reach decision makers and have an impact on policy direction. Click the headings below to find out how you can make your voice heard, or find the most up to date list at

Consumer Focus Group on Development of Australia's Digital Health Strategy

Australian Digital Health Agency - Closes 6/1/2016

CHF is partnering with the Australian Digital Health Agency to organise a dedicated consumer focus group to allow for a more in-depth discussion of what matters most to consumers and what they want a national digital health strategy to deliver for them. This focus group will build on the issues raised by consumers throughout the consultation period. The workshop will be held on Tuesday 24 January from 10:30-3:30pm in Sydney.

We are seeking expressions of interest from consumer representatives who would be interested in attending this event. Please email Rebecca, by Wednesday 4 January for further details.


Below are some events we will be involved with over the coming months. We also publish events from friends and partners - see for more information.

Consumer Colloquium

20th - 21st of March, 2017 — Canberra, ACT

CHF, in partnership with Mental Health Australia and the National Rural Health Alliance, plan to host a Consumer Colloquium in March 2017 in Canberra. The Colloquium will focus on developing and supporting emerging health consumer leaders across the three organisations. It will provide an opportunity to discuss and better understand:

  • the health reform environment;
  • leadership, development and mentorship needs of consumer advocates;
  • possible further co-operation to strengthen the role of the consumer and carer community in shaping health related policy.

Places at the Colloquium will be limited and targeted. In January 2017 we expect to undertake an expression of interest process to select Colloquium participants. .

Benefits of becoming a CHF member

As a member of CHF you will be kept up to date on key health reform issues through our publications and member alerts. CHF membership enables you to influence the national health agenda by contributing to CHF surveys and polls, consultations and campaigns. Members can draw on CHF position statements, media releases and policy submissions to inform your work and advocacy.

Find out more about membership here.

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