Consumer-Centred Care Position Statement
Consumer-centred care meets the physical, emotional and psychological needs of consumers, and is responsive to someone’s unique circumstances and goals.
Consumer-centred care tells consumers, carers and families what they can expect from healthcare providers and the health system.
HCCA’s commitment to consumer-centred care
HCCA’s research shows that consumers highly value care that is consumer-centred, but this is not consistently experienced in local health services.
HCCA commits to consumer-centred care as a foundation principle in all its work and to promoting consumer-centred care across the health system, within government and across the ACT community.
HCCA also commits to enabling all people living in the ACT to achieve the best health and wellbeing possible, whatever their circumstances.
Health Literacy Position Statement
The health literacy level of many Australians does not permit them to access, interpret, communicate and use health information. This can affect their access to effective health care and health improvement activities.
As a health promotion charity, Health Care Consumers’ Association of the ACT Inc. (HCCA)
- supports the Australia Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) definition of health literacy,
- acknowledges that some health consumers may need support while they gain the skills and confidence to improve their health literacy, and
- undertakes to become a health literate organisation.
HCCA’s Commitment to health literacy
HCCA will work
1. with consumers and health services providers to identify their information and training needs
2. to build the capacity of consumers, carers and community members in a number of ways, including the development of resources, delivery of information sessions and skills based workshops
3. with staff of health services to enhance their ability to communicate clearly to meet the needs of consumers and carers.
4. with staff of health services to standardise the development and provision of health information
5. with the ACT Government and local health services to develop and implement policies, training programs and systems to improve the health literacy of people living in Canberra and its surrounds
6. to become a health literate organisation.
Climate Change and Health Position Statement
As a health promotion organisation, the Health Care Consumers’ Association of the ACT Inc. (HCCA) recognises that climate change presents profound risks to health. Climate change will affect the health of many people in many nations, and will affect some people more than others. For example, rising temperatures increase the risk of heat-related death and illness and broaden the distribution of some communicable diseases, particularly those that are water borne and/or vector borne. Changes to rainfall bring droughts and floods, which can result in disease and death. Food production changes can lead to hunger and malnutrition in vulnerable populations. Research shows that ‘some population groups are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of climate change, whether because of existing socioeconomic inequalities, cultural norms, or intrinsic physiological factors. These groups include women, young children and older people, people with existing health problems or disabilities, and poor and marginalised communities.’
In recognition of the health impacts of climate change, HCCA acknowledges that:
- Climate change can cause serious and irreparable harm to the environment and human health. Urgent action by governments and corporations in cooperation with the community is essential to mitigate climate change and to adapt where necessary. We endorse Australia adopting a carbon emissions reduction target of 50% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 as proposed by the Public Health Association of Australia and the Australian Climate and Health Alliance.
- People and our health must be central to climate change policy and action. People need good health, a good environment and a strong community to flourish. A Climate Change policy should ensure that these basic human needs are met. It must reduce the risks to our health that climate change presents, build social cohesion and ensure food and water security for all people.
- Concerns about climate change may result in uncertainty, stress and mental ill-health. Assistance for people with jobs in industries which will need to change is an important structural adjustment strategy, specifically including retraining and relocation. Resilience and hope are key human resources and supporting access to mental health services is also important in a time of change.
- Climate change mitigation and adjustment strategies can deliver positive health outcomes. The community should be made aware of the negative health impacts of climate change and the potential positive health outcomes from climate change mitigation and adaptation.
- Addressing climate change requires connected solutions. The inter-relationships between infrastructure design, health and climate policy must be acknowledged and addressed. Solutions must be developed co-operatively and transparently by government, business, academic and other institutions in partnership with communities.
Codeine Upscheduling Position Statement
Medicines that contain codeine, like Nurofen Plus, Panadeine and Aspalgin, will only be available with a prescription after 1 February 2018. People with chronic pain are likely to experience the most immediate impact from this scheduling change.
This change will affect the majority of users who do not abuse codeine, and it will require all consumers who need pain relief to visit a GP and incur additional out-of-pocket costs. Increasing rates of misuse and over-use, as well as similar moves in other countries across the world, have prompted the Commonwealth Government to make these changes.
HCCA does not support the up scheduling of codeine as an adequate response to these issues. We believe that the over-use and misuse of codeine is a result of lack of policy commitment and real action to address the poor state of pain management in Australia. The National Pain Strategy needs to be implemented.
In our membership we have many people who are living with chronic pain and they have not been well-served by the existing services. Many have experienced poor pain management. We see the key issues for consumers to be:
- adequate access to appropriate pain relief medication;
- communication with consumers and their health professionals about the best medicines for them to use for their pain relief; and
- safety where there is risk of harm from codeine.
This issue needs a coordinated response. Pain can significantly diminish quality of life for patients and their families, and the risk of suicide is twice as high in people who have chronic pain. People living in rural and remote areas are even more at risk of poor services. Education for both consumers and health professionals to overcome barriers to effective analgesia, including attitudinal and regulatory barriers, is also needed.
Elective Surgery in the ACT Position Statement
HCCA has had a longstanding interest in the management of elective surgery in the ACT. We understand that improving elective surgery access is a very difficult task, but one that is of great importance for consumers.
Until mid 2017 there was information available to the public on the ACT Health website about elective surgery. It included a list of all the major types of elective surgery. For example, under Gynaecology there was a list of all surgeons, the hospital they were operating in, the median waiting time in days, the numbers of people waiting and the total number of people waiting. This was further broken down into Categories 1 – 3. General Practitioners still have access to this information through GP HealthNet.
This was very useful for us as advocates and consumers as we accessed the site regularly to monitor areas of need and where consumers faced delays in access. Consumers could also look up individual surgeons to see their waiting times and base their decisions on this information. With the removal of this information we now have no formal mechanism to monitor waiting times. I am hopeful that the territory-wide review of health data will conclude soon and we can work together to re-establish public reporting on elective surgery waiting times.
Last updated: 13/10/2018