Sunday, March 30, 2008

The positive aspects of blogging

This blog has been set up for the purpose of sharing information and gaining views and perspectives from our membership and networks. It is an experiment in how community engagement can use new information technologies to strengthen our contribution to public policy.

It has been set up to help people to:

  • be involved in the activities of HCCA,
  • make comments on health policies up for review and
  • raise any issues with HCCA staff
I received an email from one of our members who is very happy for me to post her comments. Her message identifies some of the positive aspects of setting up and contributing to a blog.

What a great initiative Darlene! Most exciting for me is the potential you have now opened up for HCCA to capture the voices/experiences of other people in the community, who have otherwise been constrained from participating in the activities of HCCA [eg conflicting paid working hours or other life commitments which physically prevent some people from attending on site activities]. I shall be watching with great interest - thank you!

Cheers all,


Friday, March 28, 2008

National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for Health Professions

Tony Greville has spent some time looking at the national registration of health professionals. He has been reading the Intergovernmental Agreement attached to the COAG Communiqué of 26 March 2008 and has prepared this summary for us.

What is the objective?

To set up a single national registration and accreditation scheme for health professionals

with effect from 1 July 2010.

Initially including the nine health professions currently registered in all jurisdictions:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Optometry
  • Nursing & midwifery
  • Chiropractic care
  • Pharmacy
  • Dental care (dentists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists, dental therapists)
  • Medicine
  • Psychology
  • Osteopathy

What structure and function will it take?

The scheme will consist of:

· a Ministerial Council – the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council

· an independent Australian Health Workforce Advisory Council

· a National Agency with an agency management committee

Agency Management Committee

· a national office to support the operations of the scheme

with at least one local presence in each State and Territory

· Profession-specific National Boards

National and local committees (**the local committees may represent an opportunity for consumer reps)

· Committees of the Boards

What is the process for implementation?

There is an Intergovernmental Agreement dated the 26 March 2008 between the Commonwealth and all jurisdictions to establish and operate the scheme.

The structure and functions of the national scheme are to be set out in State-based legislation establishing the scheme.

Queensland will host the substantive legislation to give effect to the national scheme – the legislation is subject to AHMAC approval. Queensland will then take the lead in enacting the primary legislation to establish the scheme. (Queensland is probably the lead agency having a unicameral legislature.)

Western Australia will then enact corresponding legislation. Following on, the other jurisdictions will enact legislation. All legislation is to be aimed at establishing the scheme on 1 July 2010.

Each jurisdiction will repeal their existing health professional legislation, thereby abolishing the current state-based registration boards.

Each jurisdiction will legislate for entities in their jurisdiction to investigate and hear serious disciplinary matters and appeals from less serious disciplinary matters arising from the registration function. Selecting the entity responsible will be a matter for each jurisdiction but in accordance with national criteria agreed to by AHMC.

The AHMC will administratively establish the national agency, with an interim CEO, as soon as possible to commence the implementation of the scheme.

There will be a jurisdictional presence of the national office of the national agency (with existing jurisdictional registration board staff being given first consideration in staffing the new presence).

Until legislation establishes the Ministerial Council, the AHMC will, from the signing of the Agreement, be responsible for the implementation of the scheme.

Tony can be contacted at

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Consumer Reps Training Completed

Congratulations to the recent participants of our consumer rep training program!
Lorraine, Saffie, Phyllis, Angela, Chris, Siva and Kim

Over the last four Thursday mornings have been running our training sessions. It has been an enjoyable time during which we have shared stories and learnt how we can use these stories to identify issues in the health system that need to be improved.

Our new reps feel that they have learned a great deal about the importance of consumer representation and that they have learned strategies to put forrad the consumer persepctive in meetings.

One of our new reps commented all of the topics were invaluable and they would like it to go for a few more weeks. I can assure you that there will be many more opportunities to connect with HCCA and this is just the very beginning.

Our new reps also appreciated our informal and supportive approach to learning and the morning teas went down well also.

I have to say my involvement in the training is always a highlight as it provides me with a lovely opportunity to meet new people and connect them others who share their vision that we can make health services healthier.

The new reps have also had the benefit of the experiences and skills of many of our more experienced consumer reps. Thank you Janne, Anne-Marie, Roger, Anna, Denis and Russell.

I look forward to working with our new reps in the very near future, whether than be on committees, attending forums and discussions, commenting on policies or posting comments to the blog.

This year the training was co-facilitated by Lou Bannister. Lou has many years of rep experiences and a range of other skills that made her contribution extremely valuable. Lou has done a great job on pulling together the training manual based on the work of previous employees including Prue Borrman and Pam Boyer. Thank you Lou.

I would also like to thank Lydele who supported Lou and I in preparing for each training session and providing delicious morning teas.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

National registration of health professionals

HCCA supports national registration of health professionals

Russell McGowan was interviewed by WIN News today about our view on the national registration of health professionals.

We support national registration and see that it can strengthen the system that is already in place to ensure that consumers are treated by registered health professionals. It's not just about eliminating rogue doctors, rather a means of bringing the registration of a broad range of clinical practitioners into the 21st century by ensuring currency of clinical competence and portability of skills across state and territory boundaries

A single national registration system will provide a significant reform from the existing State based regime with 8 separate State/Territory systems, and will

  • ­ facilitate the improvement of consistency, safety and quality of health care
  • ­ remove variations in standards between jurisdictions
  • ­ significantly increase the protection for patients and the public from professional malpractice by reducing the potential for gaps in the
  • ­ reduce duplication of effort and resources
  • ­ increased mobility for health professionals to facilitate practising in all states/territories across Australia
  • ­ improve the possibility for greater flexibility between the professions in the health workforce

CHF have issued a media release on this in which they argue for an on-line Register to enable consumers to check on the current registration status and accreditation of health professionals.

What are your thoughts on national registration?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Welcome to HCCA

The Health Care Consumers' Association provides a voice for consumers on local health issues. We do this by:

There are a number of ways you can be involved by:

Health Care Consumers' Association of the ACT Inc is a member of Consumers' Health Forum of Australia (CHF) which is an independent member-based non-government organisation providing a national voice for health consumers.

We are also members of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA). AHCRA is a coalition of 46 organisations representing consumers and health care providers advocating for a fairer and more effective health care system.

About HCCA

The Health Care Consumers' Association of the ACT (HCCA) was incorporated in 1978 and is the principal health consumer advocacy organisation in the ACT. It has supported and developed health consumer perspectives and policy in the ACT for 30 years.

HCCA is a body through which health care consumers can participate in policy, planning and service decisions that affect their health. We work to improve the quality and availability of health services, supports consumers to identify shared priorities about health, and represent these views to the ACT Government.

The organisation is the lead organisation in the ACT advocating for the inclusion of consumers on health boards and planning structures. It has grown from a small group to a substantial organisation contributing a consumer perspective across the ACT health system.

HCCA involves consumers through:

Consumer Representatives

Consumer Representatives

The HCCA Consumer Representatives Program is a focal point for both consumer groups and government for the nomination, training and support of consumer representatives. It provides skilled representatives to more than 50 committees across the ACT health system.

HCCA provides training, policy support and resource materials for consumer representatives, establishes channels for representatives to feedback to the community and identifies potential nominees for committees and advisory boards.

What is a consumer representative?

A consumer representative is someone who is endorsed by the Health Care Consumers' Association of the ACT (HCCA) to represent the views and interests of health consumers.

HCCA consumer representatives have experience of health services primarily as consumers of services. They commit to being well informed about relevant health issues and representing a broad range of consumer views by ensuring they are accountable to others through HCCA and/or other community groups.

Why a consumer representative?

Representatives are people who use health care have particular knowledge not otherwise available to policy makers. They ensure health service users have input into policies and direction and remind committee members that the public interest is of primary concern.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Consumer Rep Training

HCCA provides training for people interested in becoming consumer representatives. The training is free and conducted in a relaxed atmosphere. People share their views and experiences of health services in the ACT, and learn about consumer participation and how it benefits the health system. Participants meet experienced consumer representatives and hear about the consumer representative role first hand.

Participants have described the best part of the training as:

The training course runs twice a year. Contact HCCA if you would like more inforamtion or would like to register for the next HCCA training schedule.

Module 1
Understanding the Representative Role: This module includes discussion on consumer participation and consumer rights, the roles and responsibilities of being a representative and consumer representatives stories

Module 2
The Context for Representation - HCCA and ACT Health: This module explains how HCCA works and how members are involved, it looks at the ACT Health system, the current consumer priorities in ACT Health and how decisions are made in the system.

Module 3
Committee and Presentation Skills: This module looks at how committees work and provides information about the different committees in the ACT health sector. Learn how to prepare for meetings, get noticed and how to put your case and influence the agenda.

Module 4
Diversity in Representation: This module looks at networking and how to obtain consumer views. It provides tools to enhance your representative role and how HCCA can support you in the role. It outlines the nomination process and guidelines for representation.

For more information contact HCCA Office on 02 6290 1660 or E-mail: