Consumer Commission Report – What consumer-centred health and social care should look like

The Consumers Commission was setup in July by the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Australia’s leading advocate on consumer health care issues, to identify lessons from the COVID-19 experience.

Over the past 4 months, 30 consumer and health leaders of the Commission attended a series of workshops to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Australian health system. The observations and recommendations from the Commission have been compiled into the Consumer Commission Report, released today.

The Commission’s report recommendations include:

  • Training, resources and support to build consumer leadership capacity and capability
  • Adoption of a Health in All Policies approach and a national wellbeing budget and report card
  • Embed a mental health and wellbeing focus into COVID-19 recovery plans – Embed consumer leadership and participation in health system governance and culture
  • Fund a database of evidence-based consumer resources and research – Adopt blended funding approaches that incentivise consumer-centred, team-based care
  • Finalise, fund and implement the 10 Year National Primary Care Plan – Increase investment in prevention to at least 5 per cent of overall health spending as part of the National Preventive Health Strategy
  • Provide ongoing access to telehealth and ensure virtual healthcare is available to all.

Through this report – Making Health Better Together – CHF and the Consumer Commission demonstrated the value and power of partnering with consumer experts on significant policy and system reform. Only consumers and their families and carers see and experience the whole health care system. Different clinicians and providers only interact with the system at various windows across the course of a person’s care journey. Consumers’ observations and lived experience from before and during the COVID-19 pandemic are critical to understanding what worked, where the gaps are and what changes are needed to improve outcomes and experiences for the people our systems are designed to care for.

The report outlines a set of person-centred principles and recommendations, providing a clear picture what consumer-centred health and social care should look like and a roadmap for how Australia can get there after the significant period of disruption, during a pandemic. The full report can be accessed here:

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