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Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF)

CHF is the peak organisation providing leadership in representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers. We work to achieve safe, good quality, timely healthcare for all Australians, supported by the best health information and systems the country can afford.

Latest news

Op Ed by CHF CEO Adam Stankevicius

22 April 2014 - 

Few would argue that Australia’s health system faces extraordinary cost challenges if we are to maintain any pretence of a universal health scheme.

What may surprise many however is the wide range of apparently feasible options available to make health care both better and more cost effective in Australia.

That is what the Consumers Health Forum journal, Health Voices, found when it asked 20-odd experts to explain how we could get a “better bang for the buck” out of our $140 billion a year health expenditure.


Unshackle public hospitals from “archaic practices”, says Minister

16 April 2014 - 

The Health Minister, Peter Dutton, has foreshadowed drastic changes to the public hospital sector suggesting they can no longer be “shackled by archaic practices”.

Mr Dutton makes the comments in an article for the Consumer Health Forum’s Health Voices journal published today, Wednesday, April 16.

The journal’s special issue has commissioned leading health system experts and others to give their ideas on how to drive better value for the $160 billion Australians spend on health services and products each year.


Consumers Shaping Health April issue out now

2 April 2014 - 

The April issue of Consumers Shaping Health is now available.  CHF members can also access the April issue of healthUPdate in the members' area.

 


Means Testing would erode health system

17 March 2014 - 

Mean-testing patients to assess whether they should be bulk billed would further erode the principle of universal access to health care, expose the chronically ill to more costs and drive up overall health care expenditure, the Consumers Health Forum says.

“Today’s Fairfax poll results show that a slim majority of Australians say they would support a Medicare means test to limit bulk billing.   CHF would caution against such a step,” says CHF spokesman, Mark Metherell.

“Many Australians may only have to see their doctor once or twice a year, so a co-payment may seem minor. But those who depend heavily on accessible health care because of chronic conditions, families with sick children and the elderly would pay the consequences.


Statement on Pharmaceutical Benefits Pricing Authority

12 March 2014 - 

The Consumers Health Forum supports the Health Minister’s decision to dismantle the Pharmaceutical Benefits Pricing Authority if it means speeding up the listing of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“It appears the removal of the PBPA of itself should not impact negatively on the listing process,” says CHF spokesman, Mark Metherell.

“However the measure does remove a consumer representative from the overall PBS pre-listing process which we believe would be rectified by ensuring there is stronger consumer input on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

“Strengthening the consumer voice on the PBAC would be achieved by appointing a second consumer representative to the PBAC and enhancing  the consumer submission process, by such measures as making provision for the PBAC to hear from patient groups directly,” Mr Metherell said.


Medicare faces a double whammy

22 April 2014 - 

Medicare’s goal of making primary care accessible to all is under double threat if the Federal Government introduces a $6 GP co-payment and dismantles Medicare Locals, as is being speculated in the media.

“The Consumers Health Forum urges the Government against taking such substantial steps to undermine Medicare without at least first considering the report of the Senate committee into out of pocket health care costs,” says CHF Chief Executive Officer, Adam Stankevicius.


Consumers Health Forum welcomes report into getting better value in public hospitals

14 April 2014 - 

The potential for Australia’s public hospitals to meet accelerating costs by better exploiting the untapped skills of their clinical staff, has been shown by a new report from the Grattan Institute.

The report “Unlocking skills in hospitals: better jobs, more care” produces important evidence showing that Australian public hospitals can go a long way in unleashing existing capacity with their services without dramatic and unsustainable increases in the cost of care, says CHF Chief Executive Officer, Adam Stankevicius.


Health co-payments idea to get reality check

25 March 2014 - 

Health care costs loom as a central issue for the federal budget and the Consumers Health Forum welcomes a Senate inquiry into why Australians already pay so much out of their own pocket in health bills.

“Before the Government takes any steps to increase health costs for patients,  CHF hopes it will take note of the evidence of the financial burdens facing many consumers, particularly those with chronic conditions,” said CHF CEO, Adam Stankevicius.

“We support the initiative by Greens Senator Richard Di Natale in proposing this Senate committee inquiry to investigate out-of-pocket health expenditure and the sustainability of universal health care in Australia.


Drug resistant infections: let’s have the figures

13 March 2014 - 

The Consumers Health Forum has called for the release of figures showing the rate of drug-resistant antibiotic infections in Australia’s hospitals.

“The World Health Organisation has described antibiotic resistance as one of the biggest threats to human health today,” says CHF spokesman, Mark Metherell.

“The National Health Performance Authority today (Thursday March 13) publishes the latest figures on bloodstream infections caused by staphylococcus aureus in Australia’s biggest hospital.

“However it has not been able to give the rate of infections which involve antibiotic resistance for individual hospitals."


CHF welcomes Minister Dutton’s latest conversation on Medicare changes so long as co-payments remain off limits.

6 March 2014 - 

The Consumers Health Forum has welcomed signs the Health Minister Peter Dutton is open to other kinds of Medicare payment systems besides fee for service.

“We welcome any form of payment to doctors that achieves better health outcomes for patients, particularly those with chronic and complex conditions.   But we don’t think consumer co-payments should be part of this,” said the CEO of CHF, Adam Stankevicius.  

“The problem with the fee for service system that Medicare currently finances, is that it rewards patient throughput but not health outcomes.   Mr Dutton’s opening up of the conversation on blended payments which can be targeted at improving coordination and quality of care signals a worthwhile rethink of Medicare payment systems that is well overdue,” Mr Stankevicius said.