Fireside Chats with…

Virtual Q&A virtual sessions with WA Health Leaders




Dr Chris Blyth, clinical academic at Telethon Kids Institute and Co-Chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), Australia’s peak immunisation advisory group to Government answered consumer questions on the vaccine(s).  Dr Blyth was able to talk to some of the main side effects of concern and clearly explain some of ATAGI’s key considerations when deciding who is eligible for which vaccine and vaccine strategy.

Click here to view the recording.


After a break from our Fireside Chats, we’re bringing the Q&A session back to talk to Chief Health Officer, Andy Robertson. WA’s hard borders are softening – now what?

Friday 18 December, 12:30pm-1:15pm


Click here to view the recording.


For our sixth Fireside Chat we were joined by the Chief Executive of Pathwest, Joe Boyle.

We discussed COVID testing processes in WA and the role testing plays in ongoing vigilance in avoiding community spread.



Click here to view the recording.



This was the second time the Director General of WA Health joined us for a Fireside chat, this time on Thursday 23rd July.

We discussed “COVID-19: What’s next for Western Australians”.



Click here to view the recording of this webinar (45m35s)

This is the fourth in our series of Fireside Chats and was held on Thursday 25th June. This 45 minute session addressed questions about how the WA health system has prioritised responding rapidly to the risks posed to, and the needs of, Aboriginal communities in Western Australia during COVID-19. You can find some of the work reflected on this webpage. Also discussed was the Journey of Health and Wellbeing Video developed in partnership with WA Health, Danny Ford and Tim Muirhead as part of the cultural competency training work, Mary G’s Telehealth video, and the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Framework

Click here to view the recording of this webinar (41m30s)

The third in our series of Fireside Chats was held on Thursday 11th June with Dr Denise Sullivan. It tackled your questions about how to minimise the risk of infection, how the impact of the pandemic is being tracked and preparation for recovery. It also explored what it’s been like for Public Health staff during this unprecedented time.

Click here to view the recording of this webinar (44m35s)


The second in our series of Fireside Chats was held on 28th May with James Williamson, WA Health Assistant Director General, Clinical Excellence Division. Health Consumers’ Council Executive Director Pip Brennan put your COVID-19 research-related questions to James Williamson in this informal, virtual event.

Click here to watch the video (58 minutes)

The first Fireside Chat was with the Director General of WA Health, Dr David Russell-Weisz, which was held on Thursday 14th May. Click on the image to watch the video (55 minutes – with closed captioning)

Click here for the video replay of the event (55 minutes)


During this unprecedented time, it’s important to get your Coronavirus (COVID-19) information from reliable sources. These are the places we’re looking at regularly for our updates:

COVID-19 Information Sources


The latest news and information on COVID-19 vaccines in Australia is available here.

You can find out more about priority groups here and more about the WA Covid-219 vaccination program here.


Consumers Health Forum – Consumer Commission – Beyond COVID-19

Our national peak consumer forum has instituted a Consumer Commission – a consumer-led thought leadership project on health policy after COVID-19. Workshops have been held with Consumer Leaders exploring key questions – see the timeline below and the Communiques from the four workshops held. The aim of the Commission is to develop a policy paper that will be presented to the Federal Minister for Health and relevant Government departments. CHF will also use the paper to shape their advocacy and policy work post the pandemic. HCC’s Representative is Susannah Morris, and the full list of members is here.

Questions explored in the workshops:

1. Which, if any, measures introduced during the pandemic response should be retained to help address issues of inequity over the long term?
2. What policy areas, if addressed, are most likely to create equitable access to healthcare and reduce disadvantage across the Australian community?
3. What structural changes are needed to address the underlying causes of inequity in Australia?
4. What consultation and engagement mechanisms can best support disadvantaged communities and individuals to be involved in decisions that affect their lives?

Communiques from workshops:

Statewide Network

If you would like to be a part of a statewide network of consumers and carers who are interested in being involved on COVID-19 responses, please register your details via the link below. We are still planning how we will organise this, but we can start collecting the names of those people who are interested. We imagine that this group will be a ready source of consumers and carers to call upon should COVID-19-related opportunities arise at short notice.

Register to join the COVID-19 Community of Interest


  • Health Issues Centre convened an online event entitled Who Makes The Call? which focused on ethical decision making when care may need to be rationed. You can read the report here or watch a video of the event here. (Note it is one hour 40 minutes.)
  • The health consumer peak organisations across Australia worked with Health Issues Centre to bring together a second forum entitled Will Technology Save Us? focusing on both the COVIDSafe App and Telehealth. You can see the video of the event here. (Note it is one hour 11 minutes.)
  • Will the Road to Recovery be paved with casualties? This event was held on 16th June 2020 and the Event Summary report is available here, and the video is available here. A full report is available here.


COVID-19 – It only took a Pandemic…. Caring after COVID-19

A row of four people holding blank speech bubbles above their heads









  • It’s an understatement to say that things in our health system have changed during COVID-19. For example, Telehealth implementation has soared with the introduction of a Medicare Number for GPs, and also for outpatient appointments. Visitor numbers were restricted, although these restrictions have eased now. We undertook a survey to reflect on these questions in relation to changes in our health services –
  • What STARTED during COVID that we want to KEEP ON GOING?
  • What STARTED during COVID that we want to STOP?
  • What STOPPED during COVID that we want to RE-START?

Att#3 It Only Took A Pandemic Responses

  • Community of Interest Survey conducted in April on elective surgery, consumer engagement and communications. Read the summary here.
  • A survey we conducted on 23/3 “How will you manage the Coronavirus” shows great confusion in relation to information about the virus, what they needed to do to avoid it, and fear of financial impacts. Read the summary here.
  • We repeated this survey and the results highlighted that as the situation has evolved, people have expressed concern about separation from loved ones, and impact on their mental health of social distancing. Read the summary here.


  • The WA Department of Health is conducting a survey in relation to people’s experience of cancer care in the time of COVID-19. Responses will help inform the implementation of the WA Cancer Plan 2020-2025 and guide future initiatives across WA Health with the intention of improving the care of people diagnosed with cancer. Click here for their survey. Click here for their new resources – Cancer care during COVID-19 and COVID-19 Travelling for medical treatment.
  • There has had to be a range of changes made to clinical services, the up to date clinical guidelines are here:
  • – We hope to be able to help create consumer-friendly explanations of what these service changes mean and what may need to be adjusted as the scale of the pandemic alters.


WA has a coordinated research response – see the WA Health Translation Network’s page here:

WA Health Translation Network’s Consumer and Community Health Research Network has developed a pool of interested consumers and community members who want to be involved with COVID19 health and medical research projects. They presented at our 20th April  Consumer, carer, community and family representative drop-in session, and you can watch their presentation here. (25 mins)

Keep up with all their latest on the link below:

COVID-19 Consumer and Carers in Research


See the WA Council of Social Services page which brings together information and resources across the wide range of social and community services.