The Board of HCA extends very warm seasons greetings to all our members, partners and supporters. 2018 has seen many successes for HCA. Our 2017-18 Annual Report includes some of these highlights and the report from the team in this eNews mentions some of the many achievements of the team in recent months. Our November AGM saw the election of four new Board Directors and the first meeting this week (17 December 2018) of the new Board demonstrated the commitment and expertise of the Board team.
As you know, HCA is facing arguably its biggest ever challenge. The withdrawal of government funding from our system-level consumer advocacy and representative training and support activities means that these can only occur in the future on a fee-for-service basis.
We will continue to offer strategic, policy and practical support to Local Health Networks and Primary Health Networks; this will also need to be on a fee-for-service basis. We have been told on a number of occasions that any funded service agreements with Local Health Networks is likely to be delayed until after the new boards are in place in the next financial year. We are exploring a number of other partnership options and governance arrangements; the challenge for the Board is to establish a sustainable business model that respects and retains our small and very skilled team so we can continue to deliver the high quality work for which we are widely acknowledged – including by SA Health.
It is likely the Board will call a Special General Meeting in the first quarter of 2019 to seek guidance regarding best options to pursue a strong and sustainable future for HCA’s work.
Debra Kay PSM, Board Chair
Seasons Greetings from the HCA Team
2018 has been an incredibly busy year for HCA. We have focused our efforts on our role as the peak health consumer organisation through enabling consumers, carers and lived experience representatives to work more strategically across South Australia and nationally in the health and research sectors. We have hosted and partnered with key organisations in a number of significant events that have provided an opportunity for consumers to be informed and heard on a variety of important issues.
Throughout 2018 we have been working very closely with two of the Local Health Networks – Central Adelaide and Northern Adelaide - to develop their Consumer and Community Engagement Strategies. These projects draw on the experience and expertise of consumers to support the Local Health Networks to deliver safe, high quality care. This is an area that HCA will be focusing on developing during 2019, as we look at ways to embed the value of consumer involvement in health policy, governance, planning, design, delivery, measurement and evaluation.
As part of these projects we have recognised a need to offer training for health professionals to support their practice to actively engage with consumers. In early 2019 we will be commencing a series of one-day education programs for health professionals, with topics focused on partnering with consumers, consumer-centred care, and responding effectively to consumer feedback and complaints.
In response to member feedback, we will also be collaborating with consumers, community members and stakeholders to develop new training programs. These will focus on: strengthening consumer capacity and confidence to navigate our complex health care system; advocating for people we love; negotiating planning and decision making about end of life; and engaging with the health system to drive change.
2019 will see HCA move to a new way of working as a result of the end of our core funding from SA Health. One of the impacts of not having a core funding base is that we will need to charge for aspects of our work that have previously been covered through the SA Health agreement, including consumer training. This is not a decision we take lightly, and we will advocate that health services and networks cover the cost of consumer training for consumers who are engaged in their services.
The decision to cease core funding for HCA is sure to mean some big challenges for us in 2019, but with your support, we will do all that we can to continue to put consumers at the centre of health in SA. We believe that a strong and independent voice for consumers is integral to achieving high quality, safe, consumer-centred care and we will work positively, practically, and strategically to ensure that SA retains a peak health consumer organisation.
HCSCC Website Redevelopment Focus Group
30 January 2019
The Health & Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC) are working on renewing its website to be more user-friendly and are seeking consumer feedback regarding their new website.
HCSCC assists people – service users, carers and service providers – with complaints about health or community services in South Australia. This includes government, private and non-government health and community services.
This focus group will review the website and provide feedback to HCSCC to ensure it is as user-friendly as possible.
You can register for the event here.
Registration closes 29 January or until full.
Health Services Focus Group
23 January 2019
10am to 12pm
HCA would like consumer input to inform our response to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council inquiry into Health Services in SA. This Inquiry is covering a very broad set of issues across the health sector in South Australia.
Some of the issues being looked at are: Transforming Health, EPAS, the reactivation of Daw Park Repatriation Hospital, State-funded services such as Adelaide Primary Health Networks, Medicare-funded GP services and other related matters.
As this is such a broad inquiry, we would appreciate broad consumer input.
You can register for this event here.
Registration closes 22 January or until full.
State Public Health Plan 2019 - 2024
The State Public Health Plan 2019 - 2024 has now been released. The Plan was developed in partnership with a range of public health stakeholders, including consumers across South Australia. The purpose of the Plan is to guide coordinated action over the next five years with a range of public health partners, including non-government organisations and local councils, to improve the health and wellbing of all South Australians.
The Plan is now available here.
The summary document is available here.
CHF - Value of showing where too much treatment is too bad
The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) has published a media release commenting on The Third Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation, released on December 11. The media release highlights high rates of caesareans, and increased use of medications for infants and children under age nine - in some cases, tripling rates of antibiotic dispensing for children in similar countries.