October 2015

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HCNSW 2015 Annual General Meeting and launch of the Consumers Toolkit

On Friday 16 October, we held our Annual General Meeting where our Annual Report 2014/15 was released and the Hon. Jillian Skinner MP, NSW Minister for Health, officially launched the Consumers Toolkit.

This toolkit was developed through a joint project between Health Consumers NSW and WentWest and is intended to provide consumers and communities with tools and resources to help them engage with each other and with health services.

The consumers toolkit is filled with tools and tips to equip health consumers who wish to take the first step in really making a difference to improve our health system.

Minister Skinner said “This is [really] a very important next step with engagement of consumers. One of the key priorities of our government is to improve the safety and quality of healthcare by delivering truly integrated patient-centred care.

“It’s important for all health consumers to know that they have a right to ask questions, to be listened to and to be informed about their healthcare.”

The consumers toolkit is available on our website. For more information or feedback about the toolkit, please contact us.
Personal and consumer stories
Five questions you need to ask about the healthcare you are receiving

Having spent much of her career as a journalist writing about amazing breakthroughs in medicine, Sophie Scott, when faced with health issues of her own, was being told that doctors didn't have the answers and that modern medicine couldn't help her. Sophie shares her personal story and gives advice on being an empowered patient.
Using digital media to amplify the voice of patients

Healthwatch in Hampshire, UK, has been working to understand the health and care needs of the Transgender community, exploring the 'patient pathway' through NHS services, from the initial GP appointment and referral to a gender identity clinic (NOT a psychiatrist), to hormone treatment and surgery.
Parent-child dialogue about cancer

Growing up with a parent who has been diagnosed with cancer isn’t easy. Ruth Schorr knows this first hand and tells parents out there how it can be much scarier for a child to be completely removed from the process than to be a part of it.
Dancing the dance

If I don’t dance to the tune of the care system I don’t get the care I need to survive. It may take two to tango, but one must lead while the other follows. This blogger from BMJ talks about the games they have to play with clinicians just to stay alive.
News and current affairs

Health care needs a shake-up, survey shows
Health care in Australia will require a big shake-up and investment in primary health care if the Government is to meet the responses of an official survey, the Consumers Health Forum says.
“The high proportion of people who told a primary health care survey they wanted a more co-ordinated approach to care for chronic illness provides yet another strong argument for a more patient-centred system,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.
“Many Australians not only need access to affordable health services but they also see the need for co-ordinated care of chronic illness provided by a team of health professionals.  For many patients that would represent a big change from the fragmented, uncoordinated care they receive now,” Ms Wells said.
“More than three quarters supported the concept of patient enrolment to a specific health care practice for chronic patients. This level of support for a patient centred health care home bodes well. We should expect no less from a 21st century primary health care system but it will mean both investment in and changes to the way primary health care is funded”. 
Read full article

A 21st-century health system means seamless care and ongoing reform

Australia’s new prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has announced what he calls a “21st-century government”.

This article from Stephen Duckett is part of The Conversation’s series focusing on what such a government should look like. 

Medicare served Australia well in the 20th century, but needs to evolve in the 21st. There has been a profound shift in the nature of illness in recent decades. Infections and injuries have become less common; chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease have become much more so.

The health system hasn’t kept pace. Chronic diseases aren’t remedied by a quick visit to the GP or a single surgical procedure. These diseases are often incurable, escalate without good care, and need to be managed over decades. They often require the expertise of several types of health care professional and, crucially, careful management by patients and their families.

Despite this, the vast bulk of Medicare funding pays for one-off visits. A patient is more likely than ever to need several types of health care, but we’ve made little progress creating a seamless health care experience.

Read more

Taking codeine off the shelves only hides abuse problem

Moving to make codeine products prescription only medications is a very blunt instrument to address what is a complex issue, and we need a more holistic approach says Jo Root, Acting CEO of Consumers Health Forum of Australia.

 “Clearly we have a problem of misuse and overuse of codeine, and we need to take action to address this. However, moving codeine products to prescription-only medicines is not the most effective way to do it,” Ms Root said.

Read full media release

Britain's GPs back pharmacists' call for access to patient records

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (UK) has launched a campaign to give pharmacists full read/write access to patient records held by GPs. 

Pharmacists – like GPs – are highly trusted healthcare professionals and this move could further foster a more personalised pharmacist-patient relationship, and has the potential to improve the overall patient experience.

Mental Health Magazine launched

Coinciding with Mental Health Month was the launch of the Mental Health Magazine (MHM). MHM is an information service for people with a mental illness. Their goal is to prevent suicide and help people with a mental illness toward a better quality of life.

MHM is a publication run by people with a mental illness and half of the content will be provided by people with a mental illness. MHM will showcase people moving forward toward their personal best and will celebrate weaknesses – the diversity of mental illness and  ‘that it is ok not to be ok.’

Have your say
The Australian College of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN) has developed standards for intensive care nurse staffing. As part of their final review stage they are seeking up to 10 consumers to comment on the standards via an online survey.
How long will the survey take?
Around 20 minutes from your choice of location, all you need is internet connection.
How will consumers provide feedback?
Via an online survey that uses a simple rating tool to respond to statements.  
Participants will receive a weblink to access the survey. This way, the responses will be anonymous.
Who is eligible to participate?
ACCCN is seeking about 10 consumers to complete the survey. It is preferable that consumers who nominate to participate are ex patients or relatives who have experienced intensive care.
I’m interested, what do I do?
Click here to complete the survey.
RESEARCH: Invitation for mental health consumers to participate

People with a lived experience of mental illness are sought to participate in a study seeking to identify the priorities of mental health consumers for Australian occupational therapy training programs.

Do you:

- have a lived experience of mental ill health and using mental health services provided by an occupational therapist, or
- work as part of the mental health peer workforce, either alongside an occupational therapist or with consumers who receive occupational therapy services?

If you or someone you know would be interested in participating in this study, please click here for more information.
The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce has released two consultation papers; one for a broad audience and another more detailed version which is more directed at organisations and people with expert knowledge of the MBS. 

These papers set out the background and context for the MBS Reviews as well as the proposed process for undertaking the reviews, and background on the MBS as well as a focus on some specific important issues. 

We are pleased to see that health consumers are invited to provide input into the process of undertaking the review and how it can be improved.

Clinicians and consumers are invited to provide responses to specific questions relating to the MBS review process and areas for action, including Medicare rules, via the Department’s online consultation hub. Written submissions can also be uploaded using this consultation hub. For further instruction on providing responses and submissions for the MBS Review Taskforce refer to consultation paper page.

Feedback is open until Monday 9 November 2015.
The MBS Review Taskforce also plans to host additional stakeholder forums in Sydney (and Cairns):

When: Tuesday 3 November, 2.30pm - 5.30pm
Where: Stamford Plaza, Sydney Airport O’Riordan Street and Robey Street Mascot.

The outline of the agenda for the forum is:

- Introduction to Review and progress update
- Feedback and experience of first Clinical Committees
- Break-out: Cross cutting issues and Rules that the MBS review should consider
- Break-out: Current consultation paper and opportunity to provide input on specific items
- Q&A with Bruce Robinson
- Wrap-up: Next steps including future plans for engagement and consultation.

If you are interested in attending a stakeholder consultation forum, please contact the Medicare Reviews Unit.  In your email please include "Sydney forum", as well as your name, email address and dietary requirements. 
Resources and events

Lung Health Awareness Month

November marks Lung Health Awareness Month. Lung Foundation Australia encourages everyone to take Just One Breath and celebrate the gift of breathing.

Lung health is vital and often overlooked by many Australians. We’re used to thinking about our heart, skin and breast health but our lungs are equally important.

In fact, one in seven Australians die because of lung disease every year, yet many of us continue to ignore the signs or symptoms of lung disease, often not doing anything about it for far too long.

Whilst we make special effort to remind everyone about the importance of good lung health during this month, the message is one for all of us, every day of the year.

Patient Solidarity Day - Save the date: 5 December 2015

Patient Solidarity Day (PSD) is a day when people from around the world stand together and raise awareness for patients.

After the success of its inaugural event last year, the International Alliance of Patients' Organizations (IAPO) have announced that Patient Solidarity Day will be back again this year.

Last year's PSD was an immense success because IAPO members and many others got involved in the day and rallied together for this important cause. 80 organisations from 32 countries took part.

Join IAPO in celebrating this year and help make the event bigger and better!


In early November Armidale will play host to the annual event that no rural health professional will want to miss.

The 4th NSW Rural Health and Research Congress will be held from 4-6 November 2015.

Organised by the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI), Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration, Hunter New England Local Health District and NSW Health, this year’s event focuses on the theme "Rural Health – building connections".

It will bring together health staff from across the state to present and attend stimulating, up-to-the minute presentations on a diverse range of rural health topics and research.

Expert keynote speakers, leading researchers and engaging concurrent session presentations will headline this key event on the rural health calendar. Visit the congress webpage for full information and details on how to register.


Indigenous Health Conference - 1-2 December 2015, Cairns QLD

The 2015 National Indigenous Health Conference is designed to bring together both government and non-government agencies who are working in the field of Indigenous health with the belief that working together can close the gap between the state of Indigenous Health as compared to the health of mainstream society. 

The event is based upon the principal beliefs of most Indigenous Peoples wherein the relationship between cultural heritage together with the relationship to spiritual lands provide the basis for the guidelines in the treatment of individual healing. The conference recognises that treating health must be done by treating the whole person in a holistic approach through mind, body, soul and culture. 

So if you are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or non-Indigenous allied health professional, student, health professional, policy officer, researcher or education provider who works or wants to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, step into action and attend the conference.
Challenging Ideas Event -  Linking Data for Better Healthcare Performance Measurement

The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) and the UNSW Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity is excited to be hosting a free ‘Challenging Ideas’ event onLinking data for better healthcare performance measurement.

This event will feature international and local healthcare experts exploring the use and benefits of linked healthcare datasets to assess performance.

The keynote address will be delivered by Dr Rick Glazier, Senior Scientist and Program Lead of Primary Care and Population Health at the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Canada.

When: Monday 9 November
Where: Civic Pavilion, The Concourse, 409 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood

This is a free seminar and you can register for the event by going to the BHI Events page.
NSW Respiratory Clinical Innovations Forum

The NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) is hosting a free forum on NSW Respiratory Clinical Innovations, which will provide an opportunity for NSW clinicians (adult and paediatric), managers and researchers to showcase their work across the following themes:
  • delivering evidence based care
  • integrated care and effective partnerships
  • patient centred outcomes
  • solutions to address local needs.

This forum is aimed at multidisciplinary clinicians and managers involved in the delivery of care to adults or children with respiratory disease across the acute, subacute, community and primary care setting.

When: Friday 27 November
Where: Aerial Function Room, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, Sydney.

Register online via the ACI website.
Check in with your lungs

Two lungs, eight questions.

Check how healthy your lungs are by taking Lung Foundation Australia's interactive checklist.
Handle antibiotics with care - Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015

Antibiotic Awareness Week will take place from 16–22 November and is endorsed by the World Health Organization, acknowledging the global importance of this growing public health issue.
With the theme “Antibiotics: handle with care”, all Australians are encouraged to play a part in addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

More information about Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015
Innovating to a Self-Care Future is the theme of the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) annual conference this year.  The conference will explore innovating ways to advance self-care and the non-prescription medicines industry. Speakers will look at global trends and drivers in self care; cutting-edge innovations in consumer healthcare; the changing complementary medicines sector; prescription to OTC switch as an exciting growth driver for consumer healthcare; big data and understanding the healthcare consumer and regulatory reform.

When: Wednesday 11 November, 9.30am - 5.15pm
Where: Waterview Convention Centre, Sydney Olympic Park

For more information and to register, visit the conference page.
Mental Health Rights Manual released 

The Mental Health Coordinating Council has released a Mental Health Rights Manual: An online guide to the legal and human rights of people navigating the mental health and human service systems in NSW.

The Manual incorporates the latest legislative reform and describes the mental health and human services environment.
Register now for upcoming training courses at HCNSW

The next round of Consumer Representative training will be held in our CBD offices on Tuesday 3 and 10 November.

It's not too late to register. Visit our website to find more information about our training programs or register now.
I want paper

Would you prefer to receive The Wrap as a printed hard-copy via post? Or do you know someone who would like to read it but doesn't have email?

If so, please write to us - or HCNSW, Suite 3 / Level 8, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000 - and we will send you a printed version of The Wrap going forward. 
Did you know you can book us for training that meets your needs?

Health Consumers NSW runs individualised training courses for health services interested in supporting their consumer representatives to be the best they can be. The training is also useful for staff to understand how to engage the community and consumer representatives and fulfill Standard 2 obligations. Contact us on 02 9986 1082 or to make a booking.
Research and academics

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) releases new report

The National Youth Information Framework (NYIF) data portal released by AIHW provides the latest available information on how Australia's young people aged 12-24 are faring. The portal is a successor product to the Young Australians: their health and wellbeing 2011 report, providing data in a new interactive format.

This release includes 38 indicators across the following 16 sub-domains: disability, deaths, mental health, injury and poisoning, chronic conditions, communicable diseases, cervical cancer prevention, overweight and obesity, physical exercise, nutrition, substance use, sexual and reproductive health, social capital, child protection, education and employment. Data on Indigenous young people is also included.
View the media release and data portal.

BHI releases NSW Outpatient Survey results

The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) has released the first results of the NSW Outpatient Survey which looks at the experiences of more than 18,000 patients who received outpatient services in a NSW public hospital in February or March 2014.

This is the first time information has been available about patients' experiences of care across nine different types of outpatient services, including oncology and chemotherapy, gynaecology and obstetrics, and orthopaedic surgery.

Their latest Snapshot Report shows significant variation in patients’ experiences depending on the type of outpatient services they said they received. Overall, oncology and chemotherapy patients were the most positive about their experience, while orthopaedic and other surgical patients rated their care least positively. The report also shows some aspects of care were rated consistently well across all nine types of outpatient services, and others consistently less positively.

Snapshot Report: Outpatient Survey Results 2014 is available to download on the BHI website.
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