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Health Consumers' Council

News and events to help you stay on top of what's happening in health
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What we can learn from Care Opinion Scotland

It’s been a busy month at HCC as we rush towards the end of the financial year. Yesterday's reintroduction of restrictions in Perth and Peel due to Covid-19 is a timely reminder that we need to remain vigilant with using the Safe WA App, physical distancing and hand hygiene. For the next couple of days the HCC team will work from home, but as always you can continue to reach out to us via or 9221 3422. 

We’ve been enjoying some really insightful conversation with consumers through our Consumer Representative Networking session and consumer representative training workshops this week, and we’ve also been out in the community for group discussions and presentations.

At the start of the month we hosted an invigorating online conversation around Care Opinion in Scotland, and learned a lot from Prof Jason Leitch CBE, who is the Scottish Government’s National Clinical Director of Quality and Improvement; and Shaun Maher who is Principal Lead, Quality Improvement team, NHS Education for Scotland and Strategic Adviser for Person-Centred Care and Improvement, Healthcare Quality and Strategy.

At Care Opinion Australia’s inaugural virtual Conference in April, Week, Prof Leitch said that Care Opinion was the most important thing the Scottish Government had done for patient-centred care in the last 10 years. As passionate advocates for the Care Opinion Australia platform, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear more about the experience of implementing Care Opinion across Scotland’s health and care services.

Shaun spoke about how Care Opinion had added another dimension to their quality systems, by enhancing and strengthening the important voices of patients and their families. While noting that Care Opinion was just one element in a range of things done in Scotland to ensure high quality care, he said feedback through Care Opinion provided a chance to do meaningful work towards making changes and connect with the real experiences of the people in the healthcare system.

“It’s a small change, but imagine that’s being done hundreds and hundreds of times across the system.”

“Lots of very small improvements happening at scale makes a big impact.”

On that note, if you haven’t explored Care Opinion before, or if you’re looking for an easy way to share feedback on your experiences with the health system, we invite you to take a look at or visit our website for a replay of the Scotland Care Opinion event

Pip Brennan, Executive Director 

In this email:

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?

My Baby WA Pregnancy App launched

You may have noticed that on 13th June, the My Baby WA Pregnancy App was launched. This has been a collaboration between WA Country Health Service, Women's and Newborn Health Network and the Health Consumers' Council. The purpose of the app is to ensure women and families can make informed maternity care choices that support their circumstances.

This has been a lot of behind the scenes work for two years, and it is exciting to have this out in the world. One of the many things we have learned is that you get an app out there, and then you continue to build on it. We are now forming partnerships with all the Health Service Providers and private maternity services to keep on expanding what this app can do. You can download it from the App Store or Google Play Store.

There is more information on our website: 


Perth and Peel has returned to Phase 1 restrictions. All of the details are available at

You can find all the information on locations visited by confirmed cases at 

The Australian Government is rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine free for everyone in Australia, including all Australian citizens, permanent residents, and temporary visa holders.

It is recommended that all adults get the COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible. The latest news and information on COVID-19 vaccines in Australia is available here.

Vaccine information in multiple language is available here.

Fireside Chat - Covid-19 Vaccines

For our first Fireside Chat of 2021 we will discuss one of the hottest topics of 2021 - COVID-19 vaccination. 

Dr Chris Blythe, clinical academic at Telethon Kids Institute and Co-Chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), Australia’s peak immunisation advisory group to Government, will be myth busting and answering your questions on the vaccine(s).

This is your opportunity to hear from a trusted source as he answers questions on Australia’s vacation strategy, side effects and eligibility. As a clinical academic, Dr Blythe will be able to address common community misconceptions and tackle the hard questions such as “Pfizer vs Astra Zeneca, how do they compare?” and “why do I need a vaccination now if we have little/no community transmission?”.

Thursday 5 August, 12:30pm-1:15pm
Online, via Zoom

Register here and submit your questions for Dr Blythe. 

Diversity Dialogues – 29 July

In 2021 the Diversity Dialogues panel discussions will focus on the topic of sexual health in culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities.

The theme for the next session is Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Migrant Communities – focusing on help seeking barriers and enablers around diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, including blood borne viruses, in culturally and linguistically diverse (particularly migrant) populations.

When: Thursday 29 July, 10am
Where: Online, via Zoom

Who can attend: Health and community service providers (clinical and non-clinical) as well as consumer representatives who would like knowledge of those close to the issue to enhance the patient experience and assist in the work they undertake

Register at

Healthy life for longer – community update

If you’ve heard us mention the Healthy Weight Action Plan before, but don’t really know what it’s about – or you’d like all the latest details on implementation of the plan – you’re invited to join us for a community update.

The WA Healthy Weight Action Plan was launched in late 2019. It was developed with input from consumers, clinicians and policy makers and is now being implemented across health services. The feedback from consumers continues to influence positive change in the system - but there is still lots to do!

This session is an open invitation to anyone with an interest in finding out how this work is progressing. There will also be the chance to find out how else consumers and community members can be involved going forward.

When: Wednesday 30 June, 4:30-6:00pm
Where: Online via Zoom, please register ASAP

Please register at

Sharing wisdom and wins – consumer representative networking

“We're all in this together” and “thank you for the sharing and caring”.

These were just two comments from a couple of people as they checked out of our virtual networking event for people who are involved in WA health services as consumer, carer, community or family representatives this week.

Almost everyone who attended made some kind of comment about how much they'd appreciated hearing from and sharing their wisdom, wins and frustrations about speaking up and partnering with health services. And the power of knowing that they’re not alone in this work.

One of our strategic priorities is to keep creating opportunities for more people, with diverse perspectives, to be active partners in health and the health system.

If you don't already receive it, you might like to join our mailing list where we share news about events, representative opportunities and consultations, as well as links to other state and national groups that might be of interest.

And please feel free to invite others who might be interested.

Our next consumer representative networking event will be on 9th September – please save the date and we hope to see you then!

Joining the email list:
Sign up to the event

Consumer representative training – October dates

This week we held our first training workshops of the year for people who would like to build their skills in being a consumer representative. We run these sessions twice a year, and have locked in some dates for October 2021.

Introduction to Consumer Representation – Wednesday 13 October
Advanced Consumer Representation – Thursday 14 October

If you’d like to find out more, including how to register, please visit

Health services staff – partnering with consumers workshop  

This session is aimed at any staff in health services across WA who are interested in learning more about engaging with consumers, carers, family or community members.

We'll cover:

  • Why engage or partner with consumers?
  • Who do we mean when we say consumers?
  • What do we mean when we say engagement?
  • Different types of engagement
  • Engaging with people from vulnerable groups
  • What consumer engagement mechanisms exist across the system?
  • What are some possible opportunities?
  • What support is available to help you?

When: Wednesday 30 June
Where: Online via MS Teams, please register ASAP

For further details, and to register, visit

WA Forum on Compassionate Communities

Palliative Care WA is supporting the upcoming WA Forum on Compassionate Communities, organised by the South West Compassionate Communities Network.

Saturday 7 August, 9am-5pm
Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre


Aiming to provide the knowledge, skills and resources needed to establish more compassionate communities throughout WA, the forum brings together community members, health and community service providers, local government, researchers and policy makers to share best-practice examples and hear from national and international speakers on how to:

  • Grow a compassionate community and be prepared for the challenges,
  • Build partnerships with palliative care and other health services,
  • Build partnerships with local government,
  • Develop a compassionate city charter, and
  • Expand the role of the community in supporting the bereaved and improving grief literacy.

CaLD Youth Speak Out

Young people are at a crucial stage where early intervention for mental health could have a long-term benefit on wellbeing, but there is significant under-use of mental health services by (CaLD) communities generally, and younger people from CaLD backgrounds typically present at an older age, by which time the impacts are more developed.
In November 2020, Health Consumers’ Council partnered with Consumers of Mental Health WA for a panel discussion to explore mental health in CaLD youth (aged 12 to 25), looking at the barriers and enablers for seeking diagnosis and treatment from a health professional.

The forum focused on the issues faced by young people born or being raised in Australia by migrant parents. This group is in a unique position as they navigate Western mental health labels and the contrasting opinions of their families and communities.

We recently had an article published by Medical Forum magazine, sharing insights from this panel discussion. You can read the full article at

Choosing Wisely – a personal journey from carer to advocate

Debra Letica never expected to become a carer during her lifetime, but it was the most natural thing to do. She now uses and promotes Choosing Wisely personally and as a consumer advocate in the health system.

“I particularly like the Choosing Wisely 5 questions to ask your doctor before you get any test, treatment or procedures. The 5 Questions are a conversation starter. It gets me thinking about what it is that I really need to ask my health professional about. I may not use all 5 but it focuses my mind on gathering my thoughts about the things that are bothering me or worrying me. Before using them I would often come home from my health appointment and think "Oh I should've asked this, or that and I forgot to tell them about this or that".

“Basically the most important thing I always want to find out, and be reassured about is the why question. Why is this happening, how has this happened and how can I learn from this so it doesn't happen again.

“To me the Choosing Wisely 5 Questions is a way of empowering consumers and carers to be active in the planning and delivery of our health care. The health workforce also needs to be ready to engage with consumers to provide a safe place to ask these questions.”

You can read more about Debra’s journey at

Consumer participation opportunities

  • Every week we 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



Deliberative Forum

TUESDAY JULY 6, 2021 AT 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM

In person event at the WA Primary Health Alliance: 7 Tanunda Drive, Rivervale

Invited: Anyone diagnosed with COPD, Diabetes or Heart Disease

If you have been diagnosed with COPD, Diabetes or Heart Disease, we would like to invite you to join the WA Primary Health Alliance & the Curtin research team in a deliberative forum where participants with a variety of perspectives and experience are invited to help determine the characteristics needed for an integrated healthcare system, in a manner that prompts thoughtful consideration and discussion so that a consensus can be reached on the most agreeable option.

Your thoughts and advice through your lived-experience will provide valuable insights as we explore the requirements of a truly integrated health care system.

Your time will be compensated through paid participation, with details of the project provided upon registration.

To find out more & register:

Registrations close: 2nd July


National Safety and Quality Mental Health Standards for Community Managed Organisations – consultation paper CLOSING SOON

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed a consultation paper for National Safety and Quality Mental Health Standards for Community Managed Organisations. This consultation paper is attached, with the consultation period open until close of business Wednesday, 30 June 2021.

A link to the website, with all the information on one page, including how stakeholders can get involved and give their feedback is here.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is holding a series of information webinars and online focus groups between April and June. The focus groups will be facilitated by Dr Peggy Brown AO and Senior Clinical Advisor David McGrath.

The focus groups will give stakeholders the opportunity to discuss the consultation paper, provide feedback and ask questions.


Delphi Study: Identifying Mental Health Research Priorities for Western Australia

You’re invited to participate in a study to help identify mental health research priorities for WA and may be used to guide funding opportunities.

This study is part of the Co-Designed Roadmap for a Mental Health Research Strategy in Western Australia (Co-ROAMERS WA) Project, funded by the Department of Health.

Researchers from Curtin University, on behalf of the Department of Health and an advisory group with representatives from a range of stakeholders across WA, are seeking to recruit people to take part in 3 online surveys. We are looking for people with:
  • Professional experience in mental health (clinicians, researchers, policy officers)
  • A lived experience of mental health challenges or caring/providing support to someone who has experienced mental health challenges
For more information
  • Watch a short video introducing the study HERE
I’m interested in contributing to the WA Mental Health Research Priorities. What do I do next?
  • Complete this online expression of interest form by clicking HERE
  • Our team will get back to you to confirm your expression of interest has been accepted
  • As soon as our lived experience and professional panels are comprehensive and as representative as possible, we will send you the first survey (hopefully within 4 weeks).
  • Share this email with your own networks, to ensure that our panels are as large and representative as possible.
If the online expression of interest form does not work, you are welcome to contact the team via email if you would like to participate in this project.  Also, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at or phone (08) 9266 5123.

PACE Musculoskeletal Study

CHESM is collaborating with the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland and Curtin University to investigate innovative, streamlined treatment pathways to advance understanding of recovery from musculoskeletal conditions. This study aims to improve health care by providing the right treatment to the right people at the right time.

You may be eligible if you have:
  • sought health care within the last 4 weeks or plan to do so in the next 4 weeks for neck pain or whiplash, low back pain or knee osteoarthritis
  • Neck pain or whiplash (>18 years old)
  • Non-specific low back pain (>18 years old)
  • Knee osteoarthritis (>45 years old) and have not undergone or scheduled for joint replacement surgery
  • No confirmed fractures or dislocations at the time of the injury
Participants will receive two $25 vouchers - one after the 3-month questionnaire, and another after the 12-month questionnaire.
More details are available at

Phoenix Study

This randomised controlled trial is comparing the effects of two different exercise programs for people with hip osteoarthritis-related pain and physical dysfunction. Further research is needed to better understand which type of exercise is most beneficial. Participants in each group will receive nine individual physiotherapist consultations and a home exercise program.
You may be eligible if you:
  • Are aged 45 years or over
  • Have had hip pain for 3 months or longer
  • Have experienced hip pain on most days of the past month
Are willing to complete 9 physiotherapy consultations online via Zoom over 3 months
For details please visit

AHPRA Code of Conduct focus group

Focus group discussion on the shared Code of conduct for health practitioners
Tuesday 29 June 2021, 9:30-11:00am
Are you a health consumer who has an interest in the community expectations health practitioners need to meet when they look after their patients?

Would you like to help Ahpra and National Boards understand community expectations of health practitioners?
You are invited to participate in a small consumer focus group organised by Ahpra and National Boards with the support of the Health Consumers’ Council in Perth on 29 June 2021.

To ensure we hear a diverse range of views, we are looking to hear from consumers only in this focus group, as we have spoken to health practitioners in other focus groups. If you are a health practitioner who would like to give feedback on the code, please visit the Ahpra consultations page for information about making a submission. 

The focus group has a limit of 10 participants. 

We will ask questions to help us assess if the currently proposed revised shared Conduct of conduct (the code) captures the expectations of consumers. The code has been written for health professionals to guide their understanding of the expectations of their professional practice and will apply to multiple professions including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice, Chinese medicine, chiropractic, dental, medical radiation practice, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathy, paramedicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy and podiatry.

You won't need to do any preparation for the focus group and don't need to have experience of all of these professions. However, you are welcome to review the consultation paper and supporting documents on the Ahpra consultation page if you would like. 

Key questions Ahpra would like to discuss in this focus group include:
  • whether you already know about the Code of conduct for health practitioners
  • does the code reflect your expectations of your health practitioners
  • how can we help make the code a more useful document for patients, carers and the broader community, and
  • how can we help people in the community learn about the code.
This focus group will be held in the Boardroom at Ahpra, Level 1, 541 Hay Street, Subiaco on Tuesday, 29 June 2021 between 09:30am-11:00am.

To confirm your attendance please email as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact either Karen Banks at Ahpra on or Clare Mullen at Health Consumers’ Council on

Consumer medicine booklet review – warfarin and DOACs

The Medicines and Technology Unit at the Department of Health is in the process of updating two consumer medicine information resources:
  1. Living with warfarin: Information for patients booklet
  2. Living with a direct-acting oral anticoagulant (DOAC): Information for patients booklet
A group of medical, nursing and pharmacy representatives have been involved in the update, and a consumer perspective is now being sought for the final review.

You will be asked to review and provide feedback on both booklets and will need to have experience with Warfarin or direct-acting oral anticoagulant (DOACs).

A consumer payment will be available.  

For more information, or to express your interest, please contact Michelle Sweeney on (08) 6373 2223 or
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