Month: February 2016

Patient Experience Week is Launched!

Patient Experience Week Event Series_Poster

In 2015 the Health Consumers’ Council took the decision to begin a tradition of running events during the global Patient Experience Week which takes place annually in the last week of April. We have also shifted our Consumer Excellence Awards to close Patient Experience Week rather than being held at Christmas.

We are very excited to be able to build on the momentum of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards, Partnering with Consumers, the current environment of change, reform and re-focus on the patient by bringing you our inaugural Patient Experience Week Event series on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 April. Highlights include; new author Kate Ryder talking about her book, ‘An Insider’s Guide to Getting the Best out of the Health System’ (Kate will have signed copies of her book available for purchase). Professor Michael Greco, Patient Opinion Australia CEO; Dr Karen Luxford, Clinical Excellence Commission of New South Wales, Director of Patient Based Care; Professor Anne Williams, Murdoch University, Chair of Health Research and Helen Fernando, Consumer Advocate and ‘Patients for Patient Safety’ champion, will present on the latest and best patient experience tools. Click here to book your events now!

Patient Experience Week is an initiative of the Beryl Institute. It is an annual event to celebrate healthcare staff impacting patient experience every day. Inspired by members of the Institute community, Patient Experience Week provides a focused time for organisations to celebrate accomplishments, re-energise efforts and honour the people who impact patient experience every day. From nurses and physicians, to support staff and executive professionals, to patients, families and communities served, the Institute hopes to bring together healthcare organisations across the globe to observe Patient Experience Week.

Patient Experience Week will close with the annual Health Consumers’ Council Health Consumer Excellence Awards. Since 1997 the Health Consumers’ Council has been celebrating the achievements of the unsung heroes in WA Health, from the administrator to the clinician and to recognise health consumers that go out of their way to make a difference. Nominations are now open, and close on April 15th, 2016.

You can always call (08) 9221 3422 or email for more information.  Find us on Facebook or Twitter. Hash tag #hconcwa_PatientExpWk16

Your Say on Cancer WA

A recent state-wide survey shows that many people don’t know that 30 – 40% of cancer cases in WA are preventable. With almost 12, 000 Western Australians diagnosed with cancer every year, this is both shocking and heartbreaking.


This information comes from a report recently released by the Department of Health entitled Priorities and Preferences for Cancer Control in Western Australia


This report summarises responses to an online public consultation conducted last year on the seven cancers which have the greatest impact on the WA community and greatest opportunity for prevention: bowel, breast, cervical, lung, melanoma, prostate and oesophageal/stomach cancer. The report has revealed that a third of participants were unaware that much could be done to prevent cancer.  In particular, many people were not aware of the dietary risk factors for bowel cancer and that cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable.


A poor understanding of the preventability of cancer is not necessarily surprising as historically, much of the discussion about cancer in the community has focused on treatment, sometimes to the detriment of prevention messages.  However, it does highlight the potential for reducing the pain, anguish and cost associated with treating cancer.


The value of this new report is that, in seeking out community views on priorities and preferences for cancer control it has identified some clear areas for increased action in the immediate future, including: Increasing the number of Western Australians participating in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program; Strengthening health promotion messages around recommended red meat intake; reducing processed meat consumption; reducing alcohol consumption; and reducing salt intake, as well as links between obesity and cancer risk; Working to raise the profile of cancer prevention and early detection; and Building on gains made in tackling harm caused by smoking, exposure to ultra violet radiation and asbestos, as well as exploring new and innovative programs to reach vulnerable groups and address emerging issues.


This is the first time the Chief Health Officer of WA has asked the community for feedback in a report and the first time (to my knowledge) an online forum has been used to gather community opinion on cancer prevention in WA. As a co-author on the report it was a privilege to bear witness to the frank, open and creative ideas for cancer prevention from our consultation participants.  We are very grateful for their input and the time they devoted to answering our questions.


The report was prepared in collaboration with a number of agencies including the Health Consumers’ Council WA, Cancer Council WA, Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA, Curtin University and WA Clinical Oncology Group.


To read more about the findings of the consultation and how the Department of Health is responding, you can access the full report here:


As a project team we also had a lot of fun planning and putting together a consumer website with a range of supporting material including a summary of the report findings, some innovative infographics of cancer data, and expert videos.


Check out the website for yourselves here:

Guest Blogger: Dr Jennifer Girschik