Category: Blog

World Hepatitis Day

Today (28th July) is World Hepatitis Day and an opportune time to highlight that breakthrough treatments are now available for the thousands of Western Australians living with hepatitis C. There was an interview on Radio National this morning with the Kirby Institute about improvements in hepatitis C treatments. Thanks to the advocacy work by Hepatitis Australia and negotiations by our federal government with the pharmaceutical industry, treatment is affordable and has more success and less side effects. As a nation we have the eradication of hepatitis C in our sights.

Hepatitis WA’s Executive Director, Frank Farmer said “New hepatitis C treatments which have a 95% cure rate, and can prevent liver cancer, liver cirrhosis and liver failure.”

Latest figures indicate that due to the cheaper and more effective treatments which have been available now for five months, a record number of Australians have already commenced treatment. More than 800 people in WA have accessed new hep C treatments, but it is estimated that 20,000 people are living with hepatitis C in the state. These people are missing out on treatment, either because they are unaware or have not spoken to their doctor.

“Ask your doctor about new hepatitis C treatments. Don’t miss out. You can be cured in as little as 12 weeks and with far fewer side-effects than previous treatments,” Mr Farmer said.

Another important resource to support the uptake of these new treatments is this partnership project with WA Health and Edith Cowan University, to support health care providers in being aware, confident and competent in delivering these new treatments: http://hepatitis.ecu.edu.au/

In terms of hepatitis B, it is estimated that there are 14,000 people living with hepatitis B in WA, but nearly one in two people don’t know they are living with hepatitis B and over 80 per cent are not receiving the care they need.

For more information about the new treatments, contact HepatitisWA on Metro (08) 9328 8538  Country 1800 800 070 or visit www.hepatitiswa.com.au

 

After cancer treatment ends – Where to from here?

Lucy Palermo | Marketing & Communications Coordinator | Health Consumers’ Council (WA) Inc

This week I sat down with Sandy McKiernan, Cancer Information and Support Services Director at the new Cancer Council WA offices in Subiaco, to discuss the upcoming August Community Conversation in partnership with Health Consumers’ Council (WA) and Carers WA, ‘After cancer treatment ends – Where to from here?’.

Why are you holding the community conversation?

Cancer Council WA has a strong commitment to engaging with the community. My division and I provide a direct service to people affected by cancer; be that cancer patients, carers or their family and their children. We feel really strongly about having opportunities for meaningful conversations. That is why having Carers WA and Health Consumers’ Council WA involved in this meeting is really important.

It is not unusual that, when someone is diagnosed with cancer, their partner is also suffering from a chronic condition. This makes it all the more difficult to have support in the home during treatment. This is when our services can be invaluable by providing them and their family with support.

What services do Cancer Council WA offer?

Cancer Council 13 11 20 service is there to support consumers, carers and family members who are affected by cancer. Our metro team and our regional teams of registered nurses with oncology experience can provide information and support on cancer and cancer-related issues. If we don’t provide the service they need, then our team can connect consumers to other providers that do.

Cancer Council WA want to engage with consumers for which we provide a direct service. We enjoy the opportunity to speak to, assist and support consumers who are affected by cancer.

What are the key outcomes you would like to achieve by holding this meeting?

We want to identify the gaps; What difficulties have they experienced after treatment? How can we continue to support them? What challenges have they faced? Are our current services meeting their needs? Were or are they being well supported?

We value any opportunity to work with those with lived experience. To be able to gain feedback to improve our services, is priceless.

Who can attend this meeting?

The meeting is open for those who are still receiving treatment for cancer, their carers and family; and those who have ceased treatment, their carers and family. It is also important to remember that carers and family members have a lived experience with cancer too.

With the state elections coming up, the voice of the people has become all the more important. As strong advocates for good public policy in cancer, we want to find out what is the voice of the people. We know there are system issues, but gaining a better understanding of the lived experience and what consumers believe could help changee things, is important.

Is there anything more you would like to add?

It would be fantastic if we could attract future consumer representatives that would be willing to talk about their experience in a more formal setting. There is strength in talking about cancer and, with an increase of consumer representatives, we can grow our interactions with other agencies, increase our network and continue to champion improvements to cancer treatment in the WA health system.

We hope people are willing to share and use this opportunity so that we can discover what is important to them.


Have you been affected by Cancer?

Cancer Council WA, in partnership with Health Consumers’ Council (WA) and Carers WA, invites those who have been affected by cancer, their family and carers to share their real life challenges regarding life after cancer at a Free Community Conversation on 24th August, on living well after cancer treatment. Click here for further details.

ccwa logo

Step Forward – Together

CommunityWest in partnership with COTA Australia has been undertaking a national project, trialling co-production in the aged care sector.

The Step Forward – Together project has ten pilot sites using co-production in their organisations over the last eight months resulting in great success as a method for service improvement and innovation.

The consumers involved in the pilot site projects have also benefited from being involved and have reported increased confidence, improved relationships with staff, increased sense of self-worth and value, a renewed sense of purpose in life, and new skills and knowledge learnt.

Brenda Bryant is an avid writer and poet and has been writing a blog of her time during the Step Forward – Together project. She was delighted to be asked to take a peek behind the scenes and contribute to the renewal taking place in aged care nationwide. Brenda is 85 years old and has accessed home care services provided by Novacare Community Services since having a stroke three years ago.

By being involved in the Step Forward – Together project, Brenda feels even more appreciative of the effort made by Novacare to genuinely engage with the older people in her community. Brenda believes there has never been a better time to be old and has written this poem about her time with the project.

There was an old lady from Oz,

Who enjoyed co-production because,

She could add the odd thought

Though it might come to nought,

And compare the ‘what is’ to ‘what was’.

 

To appreciate aged care today,

We must bring every mind into play.

If we co-operate,

We can add much more weight,

And feel glad ‘cos we’re having our say.

 

I encourage you all to take part!

Use your brain for its bright and it’s smart.

Just have your say,

And you may, yes you may

Cause something unusual to start!

In this wonderful new world of caring

There is nothing so vital as sharing…

 

The ten pilot site projects complete 31 May and CommunityWest will be disseminating the learnings of the project over the coming months, including a documentary and ‘how to’ guide and toolkit on co-producing aged care services.

For more information contact Kelly Gray, CommunityWest Consultant, (08) 9309 8180.

Thieves target Perth hospital patients

 

“Low life” thieves are targeting vulnerable patients at Royal Perth Hospital, stealing personal belongings, money and even medical equipment.

A freedom of information investigation has uncovered 124 counts of stealing from patients, their family and friends and medical staff at RPH between January 2014 and August 2015.

Incident reports from the hospital’s security logbook revealed dozens of thefts of mobile phones, cash and computers from patients’ rooms.

Some of the stealing occurred from bedside tables when patients were asleep, or out of their rooms having surgery or tests.

“Unfortunately there are some pretty low life people in our society who will take advantage of anyone in a difficult situation,” Health Minister John Day said.

“It’s completely unacceptable and appalling,” he said.

On one occasion an amputee’s wheelchair was stolen.

In another case a man was asleep at a table at the hospital’s café when a thief was caught on CCTV stealing a backpack he’d left on the floor behind him.

“When you are unwell or when a family member is unwell you are just under so much pressure and it’s just so hard to think that people are also having to cope with losing their valuables as well,” said Pip Brennan from the Health Consumers’ Council.

Nurses and doctors were also victims, with several reports of staff lockers broken into and bags, clothes and cash taken.

Security cameras outside the hospital’s emergency department filmed a man stealing a mobile phone left on a stretcher by a paramedic while he worked at the back of an ambulance.

“It’s just got to be the lowest of the low I think,” said Ms Brennan.

The security log also recorded 24 incidents of stealing from the hospital, including at least three cases when thieves took mattresses and blankets.

Vending machines were also regularly targeted, with at least one recorded case of a man caught using a drill, hidden in a backpack, to break open the machine.

RPH’s Acting Executive Director Dr Aresh Anwar said thefts at the hospital occur” as they do in any large public place frequented by thousands of people every day”, and he’s urged patients not to bring valuables to the hospital.

“Whilst we appreciate some individuals are facing tremendous hardship we cannot condone theft of any kind,” Mr Anwar said.

“We take security incidents seriously and have processes in place to ensure incidents are thoroughly investigated and appropriate legal action taken.”

The West Australian

Patient Experience Wrap Up Day Two

Aboriginal Patient Journey Panel Discussion

IMG_0458Day Two began with a Welcome to Country from Olman Walley, prior to the Aboriginal Patient Experience Panel. Panellists included WA Health’s Wendy Casey who is Director of Aboriginal Health Policy Directorate, Michelle Nelson-Cox, Chair of the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, Consumer Miranda Farmer and General Practitioner and Professor Paula Edgill. The panel was chaired by Glenn Pearson, Head of Aboriginal Research at Telethon Kids Institute. It was an interesting blend of the viewpoints of Government, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector, a frontline GP and an Aboriginal woman whose story highlights there is still some way to go.

Author Talk – Kate Ryder

Kate Ryder has written a book called An Insider’s Guide into Getting the Best out of the Health System. Kate is a Registered Nurse who lives and works in NSW. Her book was launched in early 2016 and covers many useful topics to support health consumers to have a safe health experience. You can find out more about her book here.

Lunch Box Session – Involving Consumers in Organisational Governance

HCC’s Pip Brennan, Steph Newell and Louise Ford facilitated this interactive session which reflects the importance of involving consumers at every level of the health service. Key definitions of governance were considered, and the fact that our National Safety and Quality in Health Service Standards one on governance, and two on partnering with consumers underpin all other standards. The audience was asked to provide examples of how consumer partnerships within the governance levels of organisations are occurring or can be planned to be strengthened. The session closed with key points to consider when involving culturally and linguistically diverse consumers in health service governance.

Panel Discussion – Measuring the Patient Experience

Outcomes Panel 2The Final Patient Experience Week panel discussion was on the key topic of how you measure the patient experience. Panellists, from left to right were; Lorraine Powell – Consumer, Karen Lennon – WA Health, Candice Patterson – WA Health, Melissa Vernon – WA Health Country Services, Todd Gogol – WA Health Royal Perth Hospital, Petrina Lawrence – Consumer and Carer, Learne Durrington – WA Primary Health Alliance, Anne Williams – Murdoch University. Missing from the picture is Patient Opinion’s Michael Greco who spoke during the discussion but had to leave to catch a plane. The panel discussion was filmed by West Link TV and includes final comments by Majok Wutchok.

Westlink is available to country viewers who receive their Free to Air TV via satellite on Channel 602 on the VAST service. The debate will air on
Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays at 10.30 and 3pm on these dates:
June 6,8,11,13,15,18,20,22,25,27,29.

Health Consumers Council Excellence Awards

Patient Experience Week events concluded with our Excellence Awards. For all the details about the winners and nominees, see this page.

Patient Experience Wrap-Up Day One

On Thursday 28th and Friday 29th April the Health Consumers’ Council hosted our inaugural Patient Experience Week (PXW) with a series of events at The Boulevard Centre in Floreat. We are excited to be finalising our new HCC Podcast of those events we were able to record, and in the meantime, here are some event highlights for you from day one of PXW.

The Welcome and Introduction

Olman Walley gave a Welcome to Country on both days, providing his own unique and gracious welcome in language and with music. His didgeridoo playing was evocative and on the second day, and veered off into rap. Sense of humour that one!

Pip Brennan presented on behalf of the HCC and thanked the sponsors Illuminance and Empower ICT who provided essential support for the event. Pip then spoke about how HCC supported consumers individually through advocacy and supported health reform through consumer representative training and sector support. The importance of supporting the health sector in working with Aboriginal as well as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities was highlighted. Pip also referenced the December 2015 Clinical Senate Debate on the Patient Experience. She particularly highlighted the four Recommendations from that debate which were endorsed and therefore WA Health has a mandate to ensure they are implemented. The Recommendations are:

Pip Podium 4

  1. WA Health should introduce a system-wide, consistently branded ‘Patient First’ program that drives the patient experience agenda and under which all key patient experience improvement programs are measured, with results publically available.
  2. In consultation with consumer and carer peak bodies:
    •A statewide definition of a great patient experience is developed that incorporates a value-based, patient-centered approach. WA Health, as system manager, is to ensure this is adopted by the whole of Health.
    •Patient experience tools are developed or selected for use that reflect the indicators that matter to patients.
  3. The Senate recommends that a consumer is appointed as a member of State Health Executive Forum (or its equivalent post legislative amendments to create Health Service boards).
  4. The Senate recommends Chief Executive Officers visibly and actively lead consumer partnership programs and have related Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in their performance agreement with their boards.

To see the full presentation, click here.

The Director General

The Director General of WA Health formally opened the launch and stated WA Health’s commitment to patient care, patient safety and providing the best patient experience. He highlighted that it is essential to have an organisational culture where staff feel valued and respected, and patients are treated with dignity and respect. In order to achieve that, consumers must be involved in strategic processes that guide the planning, design and evaluation of health services. He referenced the December 2015 Clinical Senate Debate on Patient Experience  and highlighted WA Health’s commitment to developing a Compassionate Care initiative. Compassionate Care is about the way in which people relate to each other. This means the way staff treat each other as well as they way they treat patients. His powerpoint can be accessed by clicking here.

DG PodiumThe Director General closed with these statements:

  • The patient journey is unique to each person. Every interaction with patients and their families impacts on their experience.
  • We must transparently measure the patient experience.
  • Lessons learnt – through both positive and negative feedback – can be used to improve health services.
  • A system-wide definition of a great patient experience should be developed.
  • Consumers must be involved in the planning, design and evaluation of health services.
  • It is essential to have an organisational culture where staff feel valued and respected, and patients are treated with dignity and respect.
  • This starts with our behaviour and our values.

Dr Karen Luxford

 

We were then joined on Skype by Dr Karen Luxford, Director of the NSW’s Clinical Excellence Commission. The gremlins were with us at this point, so the Skype presentation didn’t record. After Patient Experience Week was over, Karen kindly agreed to be interviewed about the Clinical Excellence Commission, their Patient Experience Week events and why the patient experience movement is important. You can listen to that audio by clicking the link below:

The final presentation of the launch was by the irrepressible Jason Wolf, CEO of The Beryl Institute. The Beryl Institute is an international community of health professionals, consumer, carer and community members dedicated to improving patient experience in health care. His presentation was highly motivating, and can be watched by clicking the arrow below. Alternatively you can view his slide presentation here.

The Actors – Two Sides to the Patient Experience

Straight after the launch, Agents Improvocateurs took to the stage to enact a patient journey scenario, inspired by stories HCC hears from consumers who seek our advocacy assistance. In the scenario, a patient had been stung by a bee near her breast and attended the Emergency Department and was then put on a children’s ward where she endured hours of hunger, (children’s portion dinners) pain (failed insertion of a cannula to administer antiobiotics, then a reaction to those antibiotics) and being ignored. She was also confused and frightened by talk of a possible mastectomy in a discussion between two health professionals in a conversation in her hearing which excluded her. The audience offered suggestions for how things could be done differently and the scenario was played through again. It also explored the situation from the provider perspective – each interaction always has at least two people and in this one we explored the fears and humiliation of the nurse who had failed to insert the cannula. Alma Digweed from Bentley Community Advisory Council agreed to join the actors on the stage and was the star of the show.

Lunchbox Session – Organisational Approaches to Patient Experience

This diverse session included a presentation from Anita Deakin and Carmel Crock, in relation to the Emergency Medicines Events Register (EMER). This interesting and innovative tool is a change management mechanism in that in encourages both clinicians and consumers to report near misses and develop a culture which supports a learning approach to near misses to support a safer patient culture. The Powerpoint presentation is available here, and you can find out more about EMER here.

Next up was James Sherriff, General Manager of St John’s Ambulance and former paramedic. James’ presentation focused on the internal change that St Johns have actively sought within the organisation to ensure front line staff always have the patient at the centre of the care. You can view his Powerpoint here.

The session closed with HCC’s Dr Martin Whitely and Murdoch researcher Dr Norman Stomski describing a key research project they have been collaborating on. HCC provides individual advocacy for mental health consumers who are voluntary. HCC sought to better understand what the advocacy intervention meant for consumers whose patient journey was far from smooth. 60 de-identified individual advocacy cases were written up for research analysis. Martin and Norman’s joint presentation can be viewed here.

Workshop Session – Partnering for Patient Experience

The day concluded with a workshop facilitated by HCC’s Steph Newell. Presenting was Professor Anne Williams on her years of research and development of Patient Experience Tools – known as PEECE and PEECH. Helen Fernando from South Australia presented on the unique and effective Messenger Model that she has developed, and  a version of the concept runs at Flinders Medical Centre. The Messenger Model involves the consumer representative providing a conduit for information about health care needs and experiences to reach front-line staff during the episode of care. The feedback about what has gone well or otherwise alerts staff to issues that may be addressed whilst the patient and family are still in the care of the health professional team so that the patient experience can be transformed. Steph Newell explained the key factors of partnership – trust and common purpose. During the workshop session, audience members were encourage to view sections of this video on patient experience and consider the scenarios within the context of the tools discussed – PEECE, PEECH and the Messenger Model.

The Theme, The Crowd

We aligned with the international theme for 2016 Patient Experience – “Connecting for Patient Experience – We are ALL the Patient Experience”

EMER: How consumers & clinicians can improve patient experiences in Hospital Emergency Departments

1 in 10 diagnoses made by a doctor, is thought to be incorrect. It is estimated that each year in Australia 8,000 patients die from medical error. 300,000 hospital admissions are associated with potentially preventable adverse events. The Emergency Medicine Events Register otherwise known as EMER, was developed so that consumers and clinicians could report adverse incidents. To allow clinicians to learn from their mistakes and create an open culture of discussing patient safety.

 

Speaking at ‘Organisational Approaches to Implementing Patient Experience: Lunch Box Session’ from EMER are Anita Deakin and Dr Carmel Crock (Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital & ACEM). ‘EMER is an adverse event and near-miss reporting system that is peer-led, online, anonymous and confidential. It is a means of supporting improvement in safety and quality in emergency medicine by understanding of contributing factors and how the risk of harm to patients can be minimised or prevented.’ (emer.org.au)

 

An important factor to practice improvement in the Emergency Department (ED) requires hearing about the care experiences of patients and their family member or carer. Their experience and perspective (whether it be good or bad) is a key aspect to ensuring patient safety and high quality care in all areas of health care. It is important that health care staff are able to learn from consumer’s experiences to ensure they are providing the best quality of safe health care.

 

The following is an interview with Anita Deakin and Dr Carmel Crock:

Why did EMER consider consumer reporting?

Patients have a very different perspective to medical professionals – they see things that we don’t necessarily see and they are an essential part of the team. The patient voice is extremely important and has often been overlooked in patient safety endeavors.

 

What involvement did consumers have in developing EMER?

From the inception of EMER we have had a consumer advocate on the Steering Group. Every step of the way we have considered how EMER could benefit consumers and how best we could engage them in the process. When we decided to introduce a consumer portal into EMER we involved consumers in developing the content and in testing it.

 

How does EMER improve patient experiences?

We are hoping it will improve patient experience by changing the culture of emergency medicine to openly discuss patient safety concerns within the specialty. We want to hear the patient’s voice.

 

Once the data has been collected, compiled and analysed, are the findings conveyed to the health services to facilitate system change in health care?

Once the data has been collected, compiled and analysed the findings are fed back to the specialty so that trainees and specialists get to hear about the types of incidents that are occurring in Emergency Departments. Some of the ways that we provide feedback is by writing patient safety alerts, journal articles and conference presentations both nationally and internationally.

 

If so what mechanism is used to facilitate system improvements?​

We look for patterns or “common themes” within the incidents reported and feed this information back to the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) that is responsible for training emergency medicine specialists. In this way the college is able to address these themes in their education and training.

 

Why is it important that consumers report these adverse incidents and what benefit they get by reporting them? Why did EMER think it was important to include consumers in the reporting of incidents? I understand that this is revolutionary and that nothing similar is being conducted elsewhere.

 It is important for consumers to report adverse events so that system changes can be made to make Emergency Departments safer for all involved. Often consumers see things that clinicians aren’t aware of, or see it from a different perspective. The consumer and the clinicians are both essential team members in the patient safety quest.

 

The EMER model works in the following way:

Identify – Report – Improve

Identify risks to patient safety

The types of errors that EMER want reported into the system are any incident in the emergency department that either did cause harm or could have caused harm to a patient. This would include things such as diagnostic error, errors around procedures, medication error, errors around clinical handover and safe transfer of patients from the emergency department.

EMER records the serious incidents, but also near misses, good saves, and adverse events. Collecting near misses is very important because for every adverse event there are 10 near misses.

EMER want Emergency doctors and nurses to discuss error openly, they want them to think about patient safety, to think about how things could be done better. To discuss incidents with their supervisors, with medical students, with nurses, to create an open culture of discussing patient safety and error.

Report – Report adverse events and near misses.

The anonymous online system is easy to use and only requires five minutes to enter the incident. Everyone involved with the incident from the consumer to the clinician are able to enter the information required.

When the information is collected it is classified using the Advanced Incident Management System (AIMS), a tool that was used to develop the international classification for patient safety.

Improve – Inform clinical practice and system change

EMER provide immediate feedback to those who report an incident. Once they have read the report it takes them to a thank you page which provide information about the incident which includes a simple graphical representation of the data. It also includes an incident of the month, which provides users an example of what other people are reporting and information that is of interest to the research team.

Once the incidents have been classified using the Advanced Incident Management System (AIMS), specialists from multi-disciplinary groups then review the incidents to determine how they could have been prevented.

To find out more EMER register for the free session ‘Organisational Approaches to Implementing Patient Experience: Lunch Box Session’ on Thursday April 28, 2016. Sponsored by Illuminance Solutions and Empower ICT.

 

Sources:

  • Anita Deakin
  • Dr Carmel Crock, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital & ACEM

 

Slim chance of losing lots of weight

If you are obese your chances of achieving normal weight without surgery are slim to put it mildly. If you are male, you have a chance of one in 210. Women fare a little better; their chances are one in 124. These depressing statistics come from a ten-year study of 77,000 obese men and 100,00 obese women in the UK. To compound this picture at least half of those who managed to lose substantial amounts of weight put it back on within five years. No wonder the diet and gym industry is booming.

 

Dr Simon Rosenbaum, national director of Exercise and Sports Science Australia, writing in The Conversation says weight loss important but fitness, not fatness is a better focus. He says many people who start an exercise program to lose weight are setting themselves up to fail because exercise in the absence of dietary modification is not all that effective for weight loss.

 

An online survey carried out by CSIRO says Australians are their own worst enemies when it comes to eating better and controlling their weight. The survey, which looked at the weight management habits of more than 2300 Australians, found 69 per cent of respondents identified themselves as the main barrier to achieving their weight loss goals. CSIRO’s Research Director for Nutrition and Health, Professor Manny Noakes said it was critical that those looking to lose weight seek support.

 

“For many Australians losing weight is a challenging experience. The survey also showed that 40 per cent of dieters stated that no one supports them in their weight loss attempts.”

“Health professionals, friends and family can all play a role in helping dieters eat better and control their weight.”

 

The good news for seniors is that being overweight (but not obese) is not a health hazard. Ms Ngaire Hobbins – a dietician who specialises in the care of older Australians – warns that a healthy weight once you are over 65 is not necessarily the same as applies for younger adults. She says a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 23 and 28 is probably ideal for older adults. Being thin in older age is associated with a higher likelihood of dementia, of having a fall, of general poor health and even death. Those who are a bit heavier fare best. Ms Hobbins’ conclusions are supported by researchers at the University of Western Australia.

 

They studied over 12,000 Perth men selected at random from the electoral roll. All were between the ages of 65 and 84 and had no symptoms of dementia.  Overweight – but not obese – older men were healthier than either their slimmer or fatter colleagues. “We are struggling to explain the results,” said Leon Flicker, Professor of Geriatric Medicine and one of the study authors. “Being overweight after 70 doesn’t have the same negative effects that it does in younger men.” “Men over 70 and in reasonably health good health but overweight, are less likely to develop dementia. Exactly why we don’t know. We can speculate that fat tissue may have some important protective role in older men or it may build some resilience into the system.”

Dr Rosenbaum says exercise is important, but for other reasons. It helps protect against developing chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, even for people who are obese.

 

By Frank Smith – HCC Blog Contributor

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 info@hconc.org.au 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:

 

www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/~/media/Files/HealthyWA/Original/Your-say-on-cancer-wa/13009-chief-health-officer-report.ashx

 

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:

www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/yoursayoncancerwa

Guest Blogger: Dr Jennifer Girschik