Let’s connect in 2022
The New Year is already flying by, but we wanted to make sure we took the chance to welcome you back to the health consumer space in 2022. The last month has already given us a good indication of what the year ahead will hold – it will be unpredictable and require flexibility and the need to adapt to change, as we all continue to work towards minimising the impact of COVID-19 on ourselves, families and communities.
COVID-19 has understandably been our most pressing issue in these first few weeks back, as we focus on connecting with various teams and services throughout WA health to see how we can best support public health messaging and ensure all consumers remain informed. Early in the pandemic we established a COVID-19 community of interest. We’ve met several times with this group already, and the conversations have been insightful and incredibly valuable as we navigate how best to support the consumer voice at this time. If you’re interested in joining this group of consumers, please send an email to email@example.com
We can’t predict exactly how this year will look, but we will make sure we keep you updated on what the unfolding situation means for our consumer information sessions, workshops, and training. At this stage, we plan to hold sessions online when possible, not just to ensure the safety of our team and our community, but also to open these opportunities up to those who live outside the metro area.
We thank you for your continued support, and look forward to connecting with you (however that may look!) throughout 2022.
Want to get involved?
Your voice and your experiences are important and can help shape what health service in WA looks like. Want to get involved?
Community Conversation - COVID Care at Home
Join us for a community conversation, and have your questions answered, about the new COVID Care at Home program.
As we prepare for living with greater numbers of COVID-19 cases in the community, the Department of Health has launched WA COVID Care at Home.
While most people with COVID-19 will be able to care for themselves at home, with some support from their GP, other people may have risk factors that mean their symptoms may be more severe and put them at greater risk of requiring hospitalisation.
WA COVID Care at Home will deliver home monitoring care for COVID-positive people who require it. People who have received a positive COVID-19 test will be enrolled in the program based on risk factors such as age, vaccination status, severity of symptoms, medical history and social factors.
COVID Care at Home patients will receive calls from the health care team to check their vital health signs and welfare.
Health Consumers’ Council will be joined by Robyn Lawrence, Assistant Director General, Clinical Strategy and Planning, Department of Health WA, to provide more information to community members about this service.
We will be asking Robyn your questions about WA COVID Care at Home, please submit these with your registration.
Friday 18 February
10:30am - 11:30am
Online, Via Zoom
Please register at: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/community-conversation-covid-care-at-home-tickets-265717266497
We recommend that you take a look at these resources prior to this conversation:
WA COVID Care at Home - https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus/Managing-COVID19-at-home-and-in-the-community/WA-COVID-Care-at-Home
COVID Care at Home resources - https://www.covidcareathome.com.au/resources/wa-covid-19-resources/
Research and Consent Survey - closing 25 Feb
The Guardianship and Administration Act Part 9E came into existence on 7 April 2020 “to enable medical research to be carried out in respect of persons who do not have the ability to consent to it.” (From the Review’s Background Paper - click here to read)
The Review aims to review the operation and effectiveness of this amendment. While this is a complex and potentially dry topic to contend with, this act directly impacts West Australians who could be eligible to be included in health research. The Health Consumers' Council and the Consumer and Community Involvement Program are therefore collaborating to undertake a joint survey to provide a response to the Review. We invite you to respond via this survey and your responses will be included in our joint submission.
It’s important that your voice is heard in a space that has so far been driven by researchers and Government.
Click here or scan the code below to access the survey.
DEADLINE 25th FEBRUARY
You are also able to provide your own response Send your written submission by email or post (email is preferred) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail: Review of Part 9E Guardianship and Administration Act 1990
Strategic Reform Department of Justice
GPO Box F317 PERTH WA 6841
The report on the review will be tabled in Parliament by the Attorney General and may contain references to submissions received during the consultation process, including submitter details or content. If you would like your submission to be anonymous you will need to note this in your submission.
Pip Brennan, HCC A/Deputy Director - email@example.com
Deb Langridge, CCIP Program Director - firstname.lastname@example.org
With active COVID-19 outbreaks in the WA community, it is important to keep ontop of the latest news and updates.
For the latest WA Government information and advice, visit wa.gov.au/government/coronavirus-covid-19
Translated information and advice is available here.
Proof of vaccination is now required for many venues and organisations across WA. Find out how to get proof of your vaccinations at https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/how-to-get-proof-your-covid-19-vaccinations
To find out where you can get vaccinated visit https://rollup.wa.gov.au/ There are options for walk-in clinics, or you can make a booking at selected GPs and pharmacies.
We recommend you regularly check the exposure sites list, outlining places that have bene visited by confirmed COVID-19 cases, at https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus/Locations-visited-by-confirmed-cases and https://www.wa.gov.au/government/covid-19-coronavirus/covid-19-coronavirus-locations-visited-confirmed-cases
We have compiled more resources at https://www.hconc.org.au/issues/covid-19/
We also have information on your rights around COVID-19 in WA at https://www.hconc.org.au/individual-advocacy/consumer-rights-around-covid-19-in-western-australia/
A change in leadership
As many of you may be aware, late last year Pip Brennan made the decision to step down from her role as Executive Director at HCC.
It has now been 7 years since Pip joined the organisation in this role, and her achievements and influence across the health system during this time have been undeniable, as she continues to promote the importance of lived experience voices and lead change across the sector.
We can see the mark of Pip and HCC in many places across WA health, including the Sustainable Health Review, the fact that we have Care Opinion across WA health services, the National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services (NSAMS) consultation and the Family Birth Centre at Fiona Stanley Hospital, the incorporation of the Alcohol and Other Drug Consumer & Community Coalition (AODCCC), advocacy for women impacted by transvaginal mesh implants, and so much more.
To ensure a smooth transition throughout this period, Deputy Director Clare Mullen has stepped into the role of Acting Executive Director, while Pip pivots to Acting Deputy Director until 1 April. A recruitment process for the next Executive Director is underway.
As Pip says, “Simon Sinek’s recent book The Infinite Game highlights that entities like Health Consumers’ Council are playing an infinite game – the players will change but the game will go on. He highlights that we need to “build organizations that are strong enough and healthy enough to stay in the game for many generations to come.” My move from the Executive Director role is part of a well-thought out transition as HCC continues to build the movement we know is needed to see the health system we want to see.”
Consumer perspectives on COVID-19 in WA
In 2020 we established a state-wide network of consumers and carers interested in being involved in COVID-19 responses.
We’ve held three conversations with this group so far this year. Initially, with plans for WA borders to open, we wanted to hear from consumers about how prepared they (and their communities) felt for living with COVID in the community. In subsequent sessions, we explored the current information and communications available for consumers in WA, to identify if there were any gaps with communities.
We've looked at three main topics - communications; medically vulnerable people/people with underlying conditions; and the role of consumer representatives in preparing for living with COVID-19.
In the next session, which will be on Tuesday 22 February, the focus will be on what we can do now to play a part in preparedness and information sharing, as individuals, in our communities, and as consumer representatives.
We will continue feeding back the insights from these sessions to the Department of Health communications team and other health service leaders.
If you're interested in joining these ongoing conversations, please email email@example.com
Important information on boosters for immunocompromised people
A “booster” dose of the COVID-19 vaccine protects against severe disease and is also likely to increase protection against infection and for the omicron variant.
People who are severely immunocompromised may have a reduced immune response to the vaccine (meaning it’s not as effective). Because of this, if you are immunocompromised you may qualify for third primary dose of the vaccine from 2 months after your second dose. You can then have a booster 4 months after your third dose (or 3 months after if there is the capacity to book). Four doses in total will help your achieve maximum protection.
The timing of vaccinations may depend on medication dosing schedules so you should consult your doctor on timing if you have regular infusions or similar.
People who might be severely immunocompromised include:
Full details can be seen here:
- people with active cancers
- organ transplant recipients
- recent stem cell transplant recipients
- people on certain or multiple immunosuppressive medications or taking high dose steroids
- those born with immunodeficiencies and
- people on long-term dialysis
You will need to have evidence of your condition to get the early 3rd dose and 4th dose. You can use:
- a letter from your GP or specialist
- documents showing your medical history or chronic disease care plan
- a copy of your prescription
- a hospital discharge summary
Or you can complete an eligibility declaration which is available here.
Health Consumer Excellence Awards postponed
Due to the unfolding COVID-19 situation in WA, we have made the decision to postpone the awards until December 2022. This gives us the best chance to celebrate them in a meaningful way.
However, nominations will stay open right through until 9 October. We would love to see nominations submitted throughout the year – if you have someone in mind there’s no need to wait!
You can find all the categories and details on how to submit a nomination at https://www.hconc.org.au/health-consumer-excellence-award-nominations/
The awards will now be held in December 2022, date to be confirmed.
Need help with your nomination?
We’ll be holding an information session on 6 September 2022 to answer any questions about the awards and the nominations process. You can register for this online session at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/hcc-excellence-awards-information-session-tickets-216108956707
In the meantime, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9221 3422 with any questions or for assistance in submitting a nomination. Our Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator and Cultural Diversity Engagement Coordinator will be available to discuss nominations for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award and the Diversity Award.
Access to mental health sessions – wherever you are
Black Dog Institute is offering a series of free mental health webinars for adults, high school aged students, and parents/carers, all available online for those who may not be able to access face-to-face sessions in the current climate.
They cover a range of topics, at various dates and times through January, February and March, including:
For adults: Breaking Down Depression
During this 40 minute presentation a presenter shares their lived experience of mental illness, either they experience mental illness, or they are a carer. The presentation covers causes, signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder, when and where to seek help and practical strategies for helping a friend or family member
For high school aged students: Mental Fitness
In this 30 minute presentation, students will learn practical positive psychology strategies to help them build mental strength, resilience and endurance. During this interactive presentation students will practice these strategies which can be used to improve their wellbeing. Mental Fitness is very closely linked to our 6 Week Mental Fitness challenge on BITEBACK
For parents and Carers: Navigating your teen’s mental health
This 45 minute presentation is for parents and carers of young people. Parents and carers will learn how to spot early warning signs of mental health issues, when and where to seek help and how to support a young person they care about.
For more details and to register, visit https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/education-services/webinars/upcoming-community-webinars/
Cosmetic surgery – A national survey for Australian consumers
Have you had experience with cosmetic surgery?
Western Australians are encouraged to take part in an anonymous national survey issued by State and Territory Health Ministers.
Australia’s health ministers are concerned that use of the title ‘surgeon’ by medical practitioners may be confusing for the public, particularly when it comes to cosmetic surgery.
Currently, any medical practitioner in Australia may call themselves a surgeon or cosmetic surgeon, without completing specialist surgical training.
Your feedback will help determine if this needs to change.
You can take the anonymous survey at https://cosmeticsurgeryaus.questionpro.com.au/
Find out more at https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/News/2022/Have-you-had-experience-with-cosmetic-surgery
Consumer participation opportunities
- We regularly send out an email with information about consumer consultations, representative opportunities and relevant workshops - if you'd like to sign up for this you can do so at http://eepurl.com/cREYkn
WAPHA Chronic Heart Failure Expert Reference Group
Help WA Primary Health Alliance shape multi-disciplinary care for chronic heart failure.
WA Primary Health Alliance are calling for expressions of interest from clinicians, allied health professionals, consumers and peak body representatives across WA who are passionate about chronic heart failure and interested to take part in an expert reference group.
The Chronic Heart Failure Expert Reference Group is being established as part of the Community Health and Hospitals Program, which will develop and implement models of multidisciplinary care, led by general practice, for chronic heart failure patients in Western Australia.
Chronic Heart Failure Expert Reference Group Members will have the opportunity to guide and inspire public, private, community and non-government health sectors to partner in the provision of best practice for chronic heart failure management.
Find out more and register your interest by Monday 28 February 2022.
Where research meets healthcare: A consumer perspective - Consumer Roundtable
Have you taken part in a clinical trial, given feedback about your treatment to a healthcare professional, or participated in medical research? Your lived experience is needed to inform a project to better enable research in healthcare, ultimately improving patient care and outcomes. Led by the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, the Harnessing research for better health project seeks to understand the current issues and opportunities in the healthcare and research sector, and identify possible solutions.
With support from WAHTN's Consumer and Community Involvement Program, the Academy is hosting a national consumer roundtable to learn more from those with lived experience. Find out more on the AAHMS website: aahms.org/harnessing-research-for-better-health/
Date: 24 February - 10am - 12pm (AWST) / 1-3pm (AEDT)
Register your interest: bit.ly/3qOzsFq
An honorarium payment of $70 is offered to those who attend.
About the Academy:
The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences is an independent expert body comprising more than 450 senior researchers and health leaders. The Academy is the impartial, authoritative, cross-sector voice of health and medical science in Australia. We advance health and medical research in Australia and its translation into benefits for all, by fostering leadership within our sector, providing expert advice to decision makers, and engaging patients and the public.
Consumer's Needs For Cancer Information Survey
The WA Department of Health Cancer Network (WA Health), in partnership with the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Cancer and Palliative Care Research and Evaluation Unit are undertaking a project to better understand the information needs of people affected by cancer. WA Health is keen to hear about what type of cancer information people need, where they look for it, where they find it, how they want to receive the information, and when they need it.
Sharing your views and experiences on looking for cancer information during your cancer journey will help provide cancer information in the best way possible for people diagnosed with cancer in the future.
To share your experiences, please complete the online survey
Mental Health Act – input from the City of Gosnells
The City of Gosnells is seeking expressions of interest from people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds who have received treatment in public mental health settings in the last five years, to provide their feedback on their experience and share recommendations that will assist the Mental Health Commission in reviewing the Mental Health Act 2014. The Act is a legal document that guides mental treatment and supports people who have mental illness and their families or carers in Western Australia. Feedback and recommendations will identify where the Act could be improved.
Family members, carers, volunteers or advocates that have supported individuals of CaLD background who have received the treatments in public mental health settings (e.g. Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health Services CAMHS, hospitals, etc) are also encouraged to provide their feedback.
Feedback can be provided through:
1. a group session at the Agonis, Gosnells on Tuesday 15 February 6pm-8pm; OR
2. one-to-one interviews over the phone between January and February 2022.
Interpreters will be provided upon request.
An amount of $75 will be given to each participant after the engagement session to acknowledge their time and contribution.
To register yourself, your clients and/or staff to participate please send an email to email@example.com or call 9397 3000.
Should you require more details, please contact Ms Bola Adebayo, Senior Community Development Officer at City of Gosnells on 9397 3123
Child and Adolescent Health Service - Multicultural Action Plan Consumer Panel
This Panel will initially help us to develop a new Multicultural Action Plan. Find out more about what a Multicultural Action Plan is, and why we have one. Members will also have the opportunity to have input into other projects over the year.
This group will be made up of consumers (parents/carers and young people) who:
The main role of this Panel will be to:
- Identify with a religion, language, ethnicity or ancestry that is not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Anglo Saxon or Anglo Celtic.
- Have been patients at Perth Children’s Hospital or Neonates at King Edward Memorial Hospital.
- Have had an appointment with a child health nurse or school nurse.
- Accessed our mental health services (CAMHS).
- Are eligible to use any of the above services.
Find out more at https://cahs.health.wa.gov.au/For-families-and-carers/Consumer-engagement/Consumer-representatives/Project-reference-groups
- Suggest ideas on how to improve the experiences of multicultural consumers who use our health services.
- Give feedback on documents and processes which aim to improve our service for people from multicultural backgrounds.
WA Seniors Strategy
The WA Government is keen to hear the thoughts and opinions of older Western Australians as they develop 10-year WA Seniors Strategy.
They are encouraging people to have their say by taking the online survey or participating in a range of consultations.
They would like to hear from you if you are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55 years and over.
- Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 65 years and over.
They would also be interested in hearing from you if you are approaching your senior years to identify any emerging themes or issues (Aboriginal people 45 to 54 years old and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 55 to 64 years old).
Some of the things the survey will cover include:
- What makes your life enjoyable and makes you feel like you belong?
- What challenges prevent you from participating in your community and make you feel valued?
Find out more at https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-communities/wa-seniors-strategy
Survey for young people living with a chronic physical illness
The Telethon Kids Institute have initiated the 'Uplift Project'
which aims to research and promote wellbeing for young people living with chronic conditions. The team are asking individuals between 16-25yrs old living with a chronic health condition to please participate in their wellbeing survey to guide their important research. This will be the first of several studies that will ultimately guide the development of an online wellbeing program for youth living with chronic conditions.
To qualify, participants should;
1. Be aged 16-25
2. Live in Australia
3. Be diagnosed with a chronic condition
Click here to see the flyer
for more information.