May 2016

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2016 Mens Health Week

During Men’s Health Week, communities across Australia reach out to men, boys and their families to promote health and wellbeing through engaging activities, events and promotions.

These events create the right setting for conversations about the elements that make us healthy - life, purpose, health and wellness and everything in-between - because they are locally tailored to the needs of men and boys and their local communities.

The 2016 theme 'HEALTH ELEMENTS' is about encouraging communities to start those conversations about the elements of life that build health and life’s purpose.

Men’s Health Week is your week of conversation, reflection and action on what issues impact on the health of boys and blokes in your community - and doing something that makes things better.

Visit to find resources and ideas for getting involved.

Personal and consumer stories
Jodie Smith

Lung cancer fighter, Jodie Smith, tells of her experience battling this deadly disease with the support of her family and friends and a healthy dose of positivity.
Myeloma: I am ready to enjoy each day more

As the Director of the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research at Griffith University in Brisbane, Professor Alan Mackay-Sim would soon need his own stem cell transplant to deal with the myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells) lurking in his body.
Junior doctor: my patients don't know I have cancer

Experience of ‘the other side’ has led to awkward conversations with colleagues, but has also taught this junior doctor so much and means their patients get a better deal.
Excuse me, doctor: I can still hear you

Marije Klein reminds healthcare professionals how important casual conversations can be in creating or destroying patients’ confidence and sense of safety.
News and current affairs

BUDGET 2016: Health experts react

In this special article, authors from The Conversation share their reactions to what the 2016 budget holds for healthcare.

The government is putting $2.1 billion towards the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in this year’s budget. This money will also this come from savings by cutting the NDIS advertising campaign, ceasing to back-date Carer Allowance claims and the reviewing of people’s eligibility for the Disability Support Pension.

There’s $1.7 billion in funding for the Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme leaked before the budget and the agreement made at the Council of Australian Governments for $2.9 billion funding for public hospitals, with reforms to reduce hospital admissions, improve patient safety and boost quality of services.

This budget also marks the start of the Healthier Medicare package announced earlier this year. This includes funding of $21.3 million for a trial of “Health Care Homes”, designed for people with chronic diseases and complex conditions. The trial will go for two years and will aim to keep these people out of hospitals. The package will also create bundled payments and incentives for GPs treating the chronically ill.

A series of 12.5% increases in tobacco tax over the next four years is estimated to generate $4.7 billion.

New and amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will receive $45.2 million in funding over five years, these include for new treatments for hepatitis C, asthma and cancer.

Read full article

Important read: CHF media release and CHF 2016 budget analysis

Further reading:
- DoH 2016 budget health facts sheets
- Croakey - Health budget analyses: Part 1 and Part 2
- The Guardian opinion piece: The invisible aged: the people politics forgot

Sydney tech community comes together to help those suffering from chronic pain

Dominic Powell reports on the World's First hackathon for Chronic Pain, which aimed to build online solutions for the needs of people living with Chronic Pain. The #hack4pain event was run by Chronic Pain Australia and HCNSW supported the hack as a sponsor.

Members of the Sydney tech and startup communities have come together to come up with new and innovative ways to help those dealing with chronic pain.

Run by Chronic Pain Australia, the hackathon took place over 20-22 May and saw more than 60 people get involved, forming six different teams.

About 30 of the participants were developers, with the rest consistently mainly of sufferers of chronic pain, who offered the hackers a unique inside view into what they experience on a daily basis.

Startup advisor Anne-Marie Elias designed and ran the competition, which she labels a “social design” hackathon.

“I’ve worked in government for 30 years, and in that time I realised what we were doing was not making solutions,” Elias tells StartupSmart.

....“Startups and tech people don’t have a vested interest in achieving a forced outcome like government does,” she says.

“When you get all these unrelated and inspired people together in a room, magic happens.”

Elias says the magic wouldn’t have been possible if not for some of the hackathon’s mentors, which included chronic pain sufferers.

These mentors offered advice and points of view from the perspective of someone living with chronic pain, something Elias says was essential.

“When you have an end-user contributing to design the whole way through, you get fantastic results,” she says.

Read more

Could Artificial Intelligence replace your doctor?

If the predictions of two New Zealand experts are true, could Artificial Intelligence (AI) assist or replace the role of Doctors in healthcare? Read article
Australian Universities Make Health and Wellbeing a Priority

The University of Sydney announces the formation of the Australian Health Promoting Universities Network, which will see representatives from 25 Australian universities work collaboratively to create healthier university campuses and communities.
Cancer: not so pretty and pink

Campaigns to raise awareness about an illness are often celebrity-driven, gimmicky and memorable. But can they do more harm than good if they ignore the brutal truth about what life is like for people living with the illness? SBS's Amal Awad reports.
Have your say
Genetic Alliance Australia (GA) has launched the “Australian patients and families’ perspectives on genome sequencing” project - the first of its kind in Australia. 

The aim of the project is to produce an “Australian Patient Charter on Genome Sequencing”. The Charter will become an important reference guideline for policy and decision-makers when incorporating genome sequencing into the Australian healthcare system.

This worthwhile project will provide a voice for patients and families in what is becoming a huge step forward in providing better diagnoses and treatments for those affected by genetic conditions.

The project involves a survey and focus group for individuals and families affected by genetic conditions. The survey is accessible online and hard copies are available upon request. Visit the GA website for more information. Submissions close Friday 8 July, 2016.

The focus group will be held towards the end of June 2016 to further explore the answers provided in the survey and gather more robust views.

If you have any questions about the survey, or are interested in taking part in the focus group, please contact Dianne Petrie or Ayesha Wijesinghe on 02 9295 8359 or email:
Resources and events

Drug and Alcohol Innovation Forum 2016 - Your ideas making a difference

The NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation's (ACI) Drug and Alcohol Innovation Forum is the first forum of its kind in NSW, showcasing innovative and creative solutions to address the diverse and complex needs of people accessing drug and alcohol services.

Come along to hear about the inspiring work being done across NSW. The event will be live streamed for those unable to join in person. At the end of the day you will have an opportunity to vote on your favourite project to be taken forward by the ACI and the Drug and Alcohol Network.

When: Thursday 11 August 2016, 8.30am - 4.30pm

Where: Kirribilli Club, Harbourview Crescent, Lavender Bay

Cost: FREE


For more information, contact Antoinette Sedwell, ACI Drug and Alcohol Network Manager at or 02  9464 4634.

Sydney consultation on consumer participation, leadership and influence

Consumers are invited to attend a consultation to share their experience of advocating for change to mental health care in their community, and of providing feedback to improve the quality of mental health services.

Consumers will also have the opportunity to share ideas on how to increase the leadership and influence of consumers in NSW.

Guest speakers:

  • Bradley Foxlewin, Deputy Commissioner, Mental Health Commission of NSW
  • Jenna Roberts, Project Manager Consumer Experience - InforMH, Health System Information and Performance Reporting Unit, NSW Ministry of Health
  • Allison Kokany, Consumer Conultant, Western Sydney Partners in Recovery
  • Lily Wu, Peer Support Worker Sydney South West, Local Health District

When: Monday 6 June 2016, 9.30am
Where: Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt Street, Sydney 
Cost: FREE. Lunch will be provided.
RSVP: Register online 

Sponsorships are available for regional consumers to attend - please send enquiries to Sage Green (details below).

This consultation is part of a consumer-led project being undertaken by a Steering Group established by the Mental Health Commission of NSW. The project is exploring participation, leadership and influence of mental health consumers in NSW.

For further information, please contact: 
Sage Green, Senior Advisor
Mental Health Commission of NSW
P: 02 9859 5214

When was your last service?

Knowing when to have your car checked is no different than keeping your body in peak condition.

The 'Spanner in the Works' initiative by the Australian Men’s Shed Association provides men with some tools and checkups to help improve their health and chances of a longer and happier life. Often minor adjustments can have a major impact on health, relationships with loved ones and friends and work.

Visit and get in the driver's seat to good health.

SkillsLink2Work website - a carer's toolkit to match skills to employment

The SkillsLink2Work website is a new interactive website that helps carers to understand how their skills, knowledge and experience as a carer translates into employable skills when they are looking for paid work.

SkillsLink2Work will translate daily caring activities into “employer language” that can be used in job applications or in getting recognition for training. The website takes the difficulty out of identifying carers’ employable skills so they can combine caring with paid work or return to work when caring ends.

For more information, go to

SkillsLink2Work is a joint initiative of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and Commonwealth Government Department of Social Services.
Practical guide to healthy caring

NHS England, with Carers UK, Carers Trust, Age UK, Public Health England and carers networks, has produced a Practical Guide to Healthy Caring. This is a companion guide to the Healthy Ageing Guide and provides information and advice to older carers about staying healthy whilst caring.

Register now for upcoming HCNSW training courses

The next round of HCNSW Consumer Representative training will be held on Mondays 20 and 27 June, 2016.

This fully catered, two-day program introduces the concepts and practices of consumer engagement in the NSW health system and is facilitated by two experienced leaders in the field. 

Visit our website for more information and to register.
From House to Home: The 2016 Recovery Conference comes to Sutherland this June

Being's 2016 Recovery Conference will be held on Wednesday 8 June at Club on East in Sutherland, 9.30am - 4.30pm.

The Recovery Conference is an annual state-wide event run by BEING and is an opportunity for people with lived experience of mental illness to learn from consumer advocates and help create change in their community. The theme of this year’s conference is 'From House to Home'. This theme explores the connection between home and wellbeing, and ways to advocate for a supportive environment for mental health recovery.  

The Recovery Conference is an event dedicated to sharing skills and assisting consumers to champion change in their local area. It is also a great time for open discussion, and the opportunity to connect with local service providers and other consumers.

This event is free for mental health consumers.

For program and registration details, visit the Being website.

Get certified in Consumer Engagement - course returns by popular demand!

Due to the overwhelming response to our Graduate Certificate in Consumer and Community Engagement course, we are now accepting expressions of interest for a second course to be held later in the year.

This accredited program is designed for people with responsibility for consumer and community engagement. It is relevant for staff in government, private and NGO health services, as well as health consumer and community organisations, including: consumer and engagement staff, quality managers, health service education officers, complaints managers, clinical staff and experienced consumer representatives.

The upcoming course will run over four (4) days on 8-9 September (Thursday-Friday) and 22-23 September (Thursday-Friday), here in our CBD offices.

Please visit the training section of our website for full course information. Enrol 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. 

There are two-day comprehensive programs or one-day short courses available, both of which can be tailored for your organisation depending on your needs. 

Contact us on 02 9986 1082 or to make a booking or enquiry.
Research and academics
Landmark report profiles Indigenous and tribal peoples' health

A landmark report describing the health and social status of Indigenous and tribal peoples across the globe was officially launched in Melbourne last month.

Professor Richard Madden from Sydney University's Sydney Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics is a co-author on the report, produced by the The Lowitja Institute in partnership with The Lancet.

The report includes data from 28 Indigenous populations from 23 countries (representing about 50% of the world's Indigenous population), collated against eight key themes. These include measures of population, life expectancy, infant mortality, birth weight, maternal mortality, relative educational attainment, relative poverty and relative nutritional status.

Access the report and accompanying infographic at The Lancet.

A snaphot from our twittersphere...
20 MayHealth Consumers NSW @HCNSW
Listening to really brave people sharing their stories of chronic pain #hack4pain @ChronicPainAust

Retweets by Health Consumers NSW
4 MayHealth Consumers NSW @HCNSW
Excellent summary. @CHFofAustralia shines the light on budget implications for health consumers

6 May - Health Consumers NSW @HCNSW
What would be the one thing you should teach your doctor about consumer engagement?? Betty Johnson: LISTEN!! #PEXs2016 @HCNSW

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