CHF has established Special Interest Groups (SIGs) as an additional way to involve our members and consumer representatives in shaping our policy and advocacy work. SIGs make it possible to bring in even more consumer insight and perspective.

SIGs are advisory to the CHF Secretariat, with decisions on final positions and statements remaining with the CHF Board. The SIGs do not meet face to face, and no sitting fees or reimbursement is offered to participants.

CHF has SIGs active in the following areas:

  • Digital Health
  • Mental Health 
  • Primary Health Care
  • Research & Data
  • Rural & Remote Health.
  • Safety & Quality in Healthcare

In addition to these CHF has also established the Youth Health Forum and Australia's Health Panel as avenues for consumers to get involved.

Digital Health

CHF’s interest in digital health issues is also growing. Following the establishment of the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) in July 2016, CHF has been working closely with the Agency on a range of digital health issues. The Agency has funded CHF to undertake a 12-month project to build consumer capacity to be involved in digital health policy development and implementation. As part of this project, we are now seeking expressions of interest from people/organisations who are interested in registering to be part of a Digital Health Special Interest Group (SIG). The group will focus on the future of digital health, with an initial focus on electronic prescribing.

To join the Digital Health SIG, please submit your expression of interest here. If you have any questions please contact Julia Nesbitt at J.nesbitt@chf.org.au.

Mental Health

CHF has established a new Mental Health Consumer Special Interest Group to include the voices of mental health consumers and their carers in CHF's advocacy and policy work. The CHF Mental Health SIG will add a direct voice of lived experience to inform CHF policy and advocacy in mental health, and across illnesses and medical conditions where mental health is a factor or comorbidity. For example, consumers living with pain and chronic conditions often experience anxiety, depression or other mental illness.

The Mental Health Consumer SIG will complement collaborations with member and other organisations, including consumer bodies such as the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum.

While SIG membership is generally open to all consumers, in setting up this SIG, to make sure that there is diverse representation across mental health conditions and demographics (age, sex, location, first language, heritage), and that there is representation by both direct consumers and carers, the founding members of the SIG were selected through an expression of interest process and will initially be appointed for 12 months from September 2021.

Contact Tammy Wolffs at T.Wolffs@chf.org.au with any questions.

Primary Health Care

Strong primary health care is central to an efficient, equitable and effective health system. The Australian Government has committed to the development of a 10-Year Primary Health Care Plan which is an opportunity to develop a more coordinated, comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to primary health care in Australia. The Primary Health Care Special Interest Group will allow us to include your voice as consumers in our advocacy and policy work in primary health care, including involvement in developing the 10-Year Primary Health Care Plan.

The Primary Health Care SIG is currently at capacity but to indicate interest in filling any casual vacancies please contact Tammy Wolffs at T.Wolffs@chf.org.au.

Research & Data

How and why consumers can be involved in research is a growing area of interest for CHF. We are increasingly advocating on issues that intersect health research and policy and we are conducting more research projects of our own. We are interested in shaping the national policy discussion about how patient and public involvement in research is resourced, where it is placed, and improving the confidence and skills of the research community. We have a particular focus on exploring how to feature greater consumer involvement, and supporting consumers to become more involved in research. Consumers with any level of experience with research and data, from none at all to retired academic, are welcome to apply.

The Research & Data SIG is currently not accepting applications but you can submit an expression of interest at anytime, to be contacted when vacancies arise. If you have any questions please contact James Ansell at J.Ansell@chf.org.au.

Rural and Remote

This was established to ensure we include the voices of rural and remote consumers in all our policy and advocacy work and identify what matters to them. This SIG will help identify where improvements can be made and contribute to the cultural changes needed among health professionals, health managers, health services and the wider community for sustainable improvements in rural and remote health. We see this SIG as the first step towards establishing a Rural and Remote Health Forum, which is a longer-term goal for CHF.

If you are interested in joining the Rural and Remote SIG, please email Dr Penelope Bergen at P.Bergen@chf.org.au

Safety and Quality in Healthcare

Safety and Quality in healthcare is an important focus for CHF. Consumer participation in safety and quality will identify what matters to consumers, where improvement can be made and contribute to the cultural change. These identified concerns can be promoted to health professionals, health managers, health services, and the wider community as important for sustainable improvements in safety and quality in health care. The Safety and Quality Special Interest Group works with CHF and connects with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care for user testing of resources such a decision support tools, consumer factsheets and consumer tools. Other opportunities may arise that align with the areas of focus and will be promoted to the group.

If you are interested in joining the Safety and Quality in Healthcare SIG, please submit an expression of interest. If you have any questions please contact Dr Penelope Bergen at P.Bergen@chf.org.au.

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