Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Healthcare / People

Consumer leaders sought to shape policy on Australian health and social care

By Andrew Sansom 26 Jun 2020 0

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) of Australia is launching the ‘Consumer Commission: Beyond COVID-19’, where 20-30 consumer leaders will be chosen to contribute views and ideas about the future of the Australian health and social care system.

With the COVID-19 pandemic under control in Australia, national conversations are now turning to the future directions and priorities for the country’s health and human services systems in a post-pandemic environment, as well as responses to the community health and wellbeing fallout of the economic impact. According to the Forum, many argue that there is an opportunity not only to reimagine healthcare but to recreate it.

A National COVID Co-ordination Commission (NCCC) has been formed with a secretariat in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Its terms of reference are economically geared and explicitly focused on critical non-health factors.

The CHF believes that post-pandemic policy must pay attention to equal access to healthcare and social welfare, distinctive patterns of disadvantage, and enhancing social wellbeing and mental health. There is a further need, says the CHF, to approach the measurement of ‘social wellness’ differently, and strengthen the participation of civil society and consumers in recovery policy and planning.

The Consumer Commission aims to fill this need and make a significant consumer-focused and driven contribution to the national policy discussion already unfolding about the future direction of healthcare policy and investment.

Those chosen to participate on the Commission will need to have time and IT capability to join and contribute to the following online workshops:

  • at least one of the following two-hour divergent workshops: 9-11am on Tuesday 4 August; Wednesday 5 August; Tuesday 11 August; and Wednesday 12 August.
  • A half-day convergent workshop on Friday 18 September.
  • A two-hour finalisation workshop on the morning of Monday 12 October.

Participants on the Commission will be given an opportunity to:

  • discuss with fellow consumers the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and what the future of health and social care should look like;
  • contribute ideas and proposals to improve Australian health and social policy into the future;
  • develop tangible proposals to support equal access to healthcare and social welfare and reduce disadvantage across the Australian community; and
  • be instrumental in shaping and presenting the consumer voice in the policy debate.

There will be no sitting fees or payment associated with participating in the Commission. As all the workshops and meetings will be online, there will be no travel involved and participants will need to have appropriate IT access to contribute.

Policy outcomes

The Commission is being established to develop a policy paper that will be presented to the health minister and relevant government departments. The CHF will also use the paper to shape its advocacy and policy work after the pandemic. It anticipates that the Commission’s work and final paper will take a similar form to its previous important documents, such as the 2018 Shifting gears: Consumers transforming health white paper.

To be considered as a member of the Consumer Commission, potential candidates are asked to complete the application form. All expressions of interest will be assessed by an independent panel based on merit.

Expressions of interest close at midnight on Sunday 5 July. Following the selection process, candidates will be informed if they have been successful by Friday 24 July.

Questions about the process can be directed to the CHF’s senior policy officer, Lisa Gelbart, at