September 2016

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Mental Health Month

This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is Learn and Grow.

WayAhead is encouraging people and communities to learn more about mental health and use that knowledge to grow personally and take control of their mental wellbeing.

Nearly half of all Australians (45%) will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime, and those that don’t will most likely know someone that does. But there’s still a lot of stigma and confusion around the topic and that’s where learning and growing comes in.

It’s important to make sure that as many people as possible know what mental illness looks like and what can be done to treat it – even if it’s not an issue for you right now, it might be one day, either for you or someone you know.

The theme also encourages everyone to learn new and exciting things, as the very act of learning can have many positive outcomes on our mental health and wellbeing – no matter what you choose to learn about.

During the month of October, communities around NSW will be holding events focusing on this theme - find out what’s happening.

Personal and consumer stories
50 Shades of Care Partnering

Sheryl McIntyre sheds light on the colourful job description of care partners and all the roles they play in support of their loved ones. If Crayola had a representative colour for every care-partnering responsibility, it would fill one of those big boxes that make an artist deliriously happy.
One part nuts, one part bolts: A Journey of Lung Cancer Advocacy

Ros Miller shares her story about how she's come to be an advocate for her daughter and the many other lung cancer sufferers out there. She reveals what she believes it takes for advocacy to work and to work well.
Doctors need to partner with families to save lives

One thing Bonnie Friedman has learned as her husband's advocate is that her role is just as important as the doctors and nurses; it's just different.

When 'Better' Feels Like a Mocking Mirage

In this post, Jeremy D. Kleinhans performs a brave act of mental health advocacy as he describes a vulnerable place where his mental illness almost met with suicide.
News and current affairs

Consumer perspectives are vital to the modernisation of Medicare

In an article for Croakey below, CEO of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF), Leanne Wells, says consumers hold different views to providers when it comes to some important aspects of Medicare, and points to the importance of including a diverse range of perspectives in the ongoing review process.

Consumer participation and engagement in the decision making process is as important as clinical stewardship, in the conversation about waste and value in our public health insurance arrangements.

The detail and complexity of this long overdue exercise led by Chairman Professor Bruce Robinson presents a variety of complex challenges.

The scope of the review makes it imperative that the consumer interest has a central place. Professor Robinson has made it clear he wants to hear the consumer voice.

It is the firm position of the Consumers Health Forum that there should be more training and support for informed consumers to participate in the review’s various clinical committees to ensure the best outcome.

Consumers have knowledge, perspectives and experiences that are unique and that add depth and integrity to essential evidence being taken into account as recommendations for change are framed.

This not only assures that public, rather than provider, interests are at the forefront, but also facilitates legitimacy, transparency and credibility to decision-making, and ensures that the diverse needs of consumers are understood.

While the stated aim early on was to encourage consumer input, the belated release of the interim report (it was apparently delivered to the government in January by not released publicly until September 6) prompts our concern that the review process itself has been moving ahead without the promised level and depth of consumer input.

Read full article

Hospital carparks costing patients and families a fortune

IT’S BAD enough that every fortnight Gidon Goodman has to hang around hospital being treated for his rare blood disorder.

But what 13-year-old Gidon finds really galling is that since he became sick his family has had to shell out more than $10,000 in parking fees.

He is so outraged by the bills that he has started a petition to encourage health ministers to fix the problem and reduce fees.

In the past three years the cost of hospital parking has soared by 37 per cent, about three times the rate of inflation, a Sunday Telegraph ­investigation has revealed.

Patients and their families have had to fork out $39 million this year in NSW alone.

Nationally, that figure is more than $100 million.

Gidon has been a patient since he was three months old. He requires an infusion of medicine at the ­Sydney Children’s Hospital every two weeks to control his symptoms.

“Over that time the parking prices have been going up crazily. It used to be $16 for two hours-plus, now it’s $28 for 2½-plus hours and I’m in hospital for two to three hours depending on the treatment,” he said.

“The parking prices went up again a month ago and that motivated me to set up a petition.

“I know it’s an issue, people can’t believe the fees. It’s something that needs to be tackled and I want to try to tackle it.”

So far he has over 60,000 signatures on his petition at

Read more


Take control over the end of your life: what you need to know about Advanced Care Directives

Nola Ries gives the low down on Advanced Care Directives and how you can exercise control and ensure your values and wishes are known, even beyond a time when you can no longer speak for yourself.

Mediscare resonated because being sick can be so damn scary

Through a personal account, El Gibbs explains why a campaign about our public health system had so much impact. During a recent health scare in hospital, she knew she didn't have to be afraid of being unable to afford the care she needed thanks to her little green Medicare card.

Those little green cards that we pull out in emergency, in the doctor’s office, when getting a blood test,  are part of the safety net that catches everyone when they are sick. Australians understand this and value it highly. 

Read article.

This Is What The Parents Of Children With Cancer Want You To Know

For Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in the UK, six parents tell The Huffington Post UK what they want other parents to know about having a child with cancer.
Here's why we need nurse-resident ratios in aged care homes

Sarah Russell of Monash University stresses the importance of experienced registered nurses onsite to manage the varied and complex conditions of aged care home residents and raises concerns about nursing home providers employing less-skilled personal care attendants (PCAs) who aren't adequately trained for the job in order to cut costs. Read full article.

Have your say

Consumer Consultation: Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review

The MBS Review Clinical Committees have now released six Clinical Committee reports and the First Report of the MBS Principles and Rules Committee for public consultation:
  1. Report from the Gastroenterology Clinical Committee
  2. Report from the Obstetrics Clinical Committee
  3. Report from the Thoracic Medicine Clinical Committee
  4. First report from the Diagnostic Imaging Clinical Committee - Low Back Pain
  5. Second report from the Diagnostic Imaging Clinical Committee - Bone Densitometry
  6. First report of the Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery Clinical Committee on Tonsillectomy, Adenoidectomy & Insertion of Grommets
  7. First Report of the MBS Principles and Rules Committee

This is an opportunity for the Australian public, including health professionals, to have their say about the recommendations proposed by the Clinical Committees prior to these recommendations being made to Government.

Public consultation with stakeholders, including consumers of MBS services is integral to the process established by the MBS Review Taskforce.

The Review Taskforce wants to hear your opinion on the recommendations and give you the chance to provide further evidence if you do not support the recommendations.

You can choose to complete one or more of the Clinical Committee online surveys by Friday 7 October, 2016. There is also the opportunity to attach a submission at the end of the survey as part of your response.

For full information, please visit the MBS Consultations Page.

OPEN VACANCY: Consumer Representative

St Vincent’s Hospital is currently recruiting Consumer Representatives in a voluntary capacity to undertake exciting and valued roles with a particular focus on being involved with St Vincent’s Darlinghurst Campus Redevelopment. We believe consumers have a key role in the decision making on organisational initiatives that will assist the hospital in continually improving the quality and safety of healthcare for everyone.

St Vincent’s Hospital is keen to appoint members who can represent the diverse interests of the community including Aboriginal communities, multicultural communities and young people. In the role as Consumer Representative you may be expected to:
  • Offer specific experiences as: a consumer of health services; as a patient or, as a carer to assist the Hospital in meeting the needs of consumers accessing its services
  • Serve as an advocate for consumer/ patient/family needs on Hospital committees / working groups such as; Clinical and Research Working group, Planning and Design Working group
  • Be involved in the development and review of quality improvement activities including mapping of patient journeys, review of consumer resources (brochures, posters etc.)
To support you in this role, we can provide mentoring, a corporate hospital orientation program, relevant professional development/training and reimbursement of travel costs.

Please download advertisement for full details about the role and the selection criteria.

If you want to be part of a team of dynamic and compassionate health professionals and consumers, and you have an interest in improving healthcare services to better meet the needs of the community, please send your application (how you meet the selection criteria) along with a brief resume to

For further enquiries, contact Christine Choy, Consumer Participation Coordinator on 02 8382 2250.

Consultation: Basic Training Curricula Renewal

The Royal Australasian College Physicians (RACP) is seeking feedback from its members and external stakeholders on its revised curriculum standards for Adult Internal Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health. The curricula outline the learning objectives and associated knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours required from graduates of RACP training programs. 

Feedback is sought on the proposed curricula via a series of questions. You can find out more information on the RACP website.

Submissions close Friday 21 October, 2016.

Have your say on 'Revalidation' of medical practitioners

The Medical Board of Australia is seeking feedback from the profession, stakeholders and the community about the proposed approach to support medical practitioners to maintain and enhance their professional skills and knowledge and to remain fit to practise medicine. The Board has adopted the term ‘revalidation’ for this process.

The Board wants the process leading to revalidation to be practical, effective and tailored to the Australian healthcare environment.

The Board has appointed an expert advisory group (EAG) to provide it with technical expert advice on revalidation. The Board has asked the EAG to develop one or more models for revalidation in Australia and to provide advice on how to pilot the models so that they can be evaluated for effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability.

The Board has published a discussion paper and the interim report of the expert group. You can join the consultation in a number of ways:

  • have your say in our online discussion
  • take a short survey to provide your views on the approach
  • send your written submission by email or mail
  • read submissions made by others.

The consultation closes on Wednesday 30 November, 2016. The expert advisory group (EAG) and the Board will consider all the feedback received and the EAG will recommend actions to the Board in a final report due in mid-2017.

For full information, including access to the Discussion Paper and Interim Report, please visit the Medical Board of Australia website.

Resources and events
REGISTER NOW for our upcoming training courses!

HCNSW's two-day consumer representative training program introduces the concepts and practises of consumer engagement in the NSW health system and is facilitated by two experienced leaders. It is suited to health consumer representatives engaged with Local Health Districts, Primary Health Networks, or Public or Private Hospitals and health related NGOs.

We have just confirmed some training dates for 2017 as follows:
  • Thursdays 16 & 23 February
  • Saturdays 20 & 27 May
The two-day program is $500 + GST per person.
For full information and to register, please visit our Training Page.

Care and Support Directed by the Consumer Forum

The University of Sydney, Flinders University, Kolling Institute and Northern Sydney LHD take great pleasure in inviting you to the Care and Support Directed by the Consumer Forum taking place on Wednesday, 12 October 2016 at the Northside Conference Centre, Sydney.
The conference is funded as part of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant Project LP110200079. Registration is complimentary.
The Forum is for consumers and health professionals who are committed to improving care and support services in the community and making them more ‘client centred’. It will explore the introduction of Consumer Directed Care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme with a view to developing strategies to inform their implementation.
It will be bringing together key stakeholders including; consumers, service providers, researchers, policy and program makers.
For more details regarding the Forum, please review the Program and Registration Form. Registration is essential if you would like to attend. It is also possible to register online.
Your presence at this conference is important to us as we value your perspective and input and we look forward to seeing you there.
If you have any questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Liz Gill at the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research in the Kolling Institute by phone 02 9926 4967, or by email


Central and Eastern Sydney PHN presents: Rethinking Mental Health 3.0

The “Rethinking Mental Health 3.0” Forum will explore new innovations and best practice in Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Drug and Alcohol.

Rethinking presents an exciting opportunity for practitioners across the health and community sectors to:

  • Build a shared understanding of best practice
  • Gain insights into current national mental health reforms
  • Connect with mental health providers from across the Central and Eastern Sydney region.

MC – Julie McCrossin

When:            Friday 21 October 2016, 8.30am – 5.00pm (morning tea and lunch provided)

Where:           Rydges Sydney Central - 28 Albion Street, Surry Hills

Cost:              $80.00 Buy Now

BOOKINGS:  Tracey Claridge on (02) 9330 9959  or

enableme Resource for Stroke Survivors & Carers

enableme is a free online resource and community developed with stroke survivors for stroke survivors and their families and supporters. 
It's packed with fact sheets and videos on a wide range of practical topics impacting daily life after stroke.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink Ribbon Day - Monday 24 October 2016

Cancer Council's Pink Ribbon campaign aims to raise awareness about breast and gynaecological cancers, as well as raise funds for prevention programs, support services and vital cancer research.

Every day in Australia around 50 women are diagnosed with breast or a gynaecological cancer. Whether it’s volunteering on Pink Ribbon Day or joining a Pink Ribbon event, help the fight against women’s cancers. Visit
Answering the same questions over and over: how to talk to people with dementia

Claire M O'Connor and Lee-Fay Low from the University of Sydney provide some helpful tips for carers and loved ones supporting people with dementia on how to best respond to frequently asked questions, asked frequently.

4th NSW Aged Health Collaborative Forum

This year’s NSW Aged Health Collaborative Forum will showcase collaboration in the care of older people. The event is for health professionals, consumers and managers who can lead and influence collaborative change.

When: Friday 14th October,  9.00am - 4.30pm
Where: Westmead Education Conference Centre - Level 2, Education Block, Westmead Hospital, Cnr Hawkesbury Road and Darcy Road, Westmead
Cost: FREE

Register now 

For further information please contact: Glen Pang (Aged Health Network Manager ACI): / 02 9464 4630.
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 customised training?

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


Latest edition of BHI Hopsital Quarterly

The Bureau of Health Information's (BHI) Hospital Quarterly is a series of regular reports that track services provided in NSW public hospitals and the timeliness with which they are delivered. The report is structured around two types of measures:

  1. Activity measures
  2. Performance measures.

You can find out how your local hospital is performing by reading the individual profiles of more than 80 public hospitals in NSW. Additional comparative information at a local health district (LHD), hospital peer group and individual hospital level is also available in the BHI interactive portal Healthcare Observer.

View April to June 2016 reports.
Healthcare in Focus - How does NSW compare in 2015?

BHI's sixth annual performance report Healthcare in Focus compares the performance of NSW’s healthcare system with Australia and 10 other countries including the UK, the USA, Canada and Sweden.

It uses around 130 measures of performance and draws upon both national and international data, including the results of the 2015 Commonwealth Fund Survey, to place the NSW results in an international context.

GPs working harder as chronic illness grips middle-agedLast report from the Bettering the Evaluation of Care and Health (BEACH) program

This report is the 41st and last book in the General practice series from the Bettering the Evaluation of Care and Health (BEACH) program. It highlights changes in general practice activity over the most recent decade (April 2006 to March 2016) including the characteristics of GPs and the patients they see, the problems managed, and the treatments provided.

Amy Coopes from Croakey provides an interesting summary of the report.
A snaphot from our twittersphere...
Retweets by Health Consumers NSW
13 Sep - Health Consumers NSW @HCNSW
Maria Dahm ‏@MariaDahm You are bringing your experience. Nobody else is able to give the information you are able to give. You matter as #consumer! @HCNSW

14 Sep - Health Consumers NSW @HCNSW
Tara Lee ‏@tara_l_lee Very grateful to have the chance to attend @APACForum Thank you @nswaci and @HCNSW #APACForum
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