Last week, in a first for Queensland, 13 organisations wrote a joint letter to all political parties and candidates contesting the Federal election on 21 May.

The letter calls on all parties and candidates to commit to improving our health system to be agile, collaborative and better able to meet the diverse needs of Queenslanders.

Mellissa Fox, Chief Executive Officer at Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ), said HCQ formed a new consumer-focused partnership forum in January 2022. She said the idea was to connect consumer representatives, consumer and community organisations and health professional associations outside the public health system that continue to play a valuable role in supporting the COVID-19 response in Queensland.

“During COVID-19, we really saw the power of partnerships between consumers and clinicians, in terms of being able to put the concerns and issues for the users of our health system in front of the powers that be.”

“We’ve been really glad to have played that role. And I’m really grateful for everyone being at the table. It’s been amazing and we’re not aware of it happening anywhere else,” Ms Fox said.

The letter calls for action to provide equity of access and priority given to the healthcare needs of:

  • First Nations peoples
  • People with disability and complex health needs
  • People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Older people
  • Rural and remote communities.

It also urges improved integration between primary, community and tertiary healthcare and a  consumer-centred healthcare system.

The letter raises the need for investment in robust and ongoing health workforce planning to ensure consumers have better access to safe and sustainable healthcare. 

The Aged Care Royal Commission, Disability Royal Commission, Inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention and reviews of our systems all point to the imperative for action to improve health consumers’ access to equitable, quality and integrated healthcare built upon integrated workforce planning and delivery across the care continuum (prevention, primary, acute, sub-acute, community-based care, mental health, alcohol and other drugs care, palliative care, end of life care, and suicide prevention) with health consumers at the centre,” the health groups write.

Ms Fox said the issues at the core of their action are access and equity.

“COVID really showed the cracks that already existed in terms of health inequities, and that is why we were so passionate about making sure that people’s voices are at the centre – that’s the lens that we have tried to bring to everything that we do.”

“We all want to make sure that consumer voices are front and centre and, and that their needs are met.”

You can read the full text here.

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