If you cannot see the image below, please CLICK HERE.

Health Care Reform and Innovation

Campaign for Consumer-Centred Health Care



Consumers and Carers in
Primary Health Networks

The Commonwealth Government has created 31 primary health organisations called Primary Health Networks to steer reform in primary health care.

PHNs replace the Divisions of General Practice and Medicare Locals as failed mechanisms for integrating care and streamlining consumer journeys through the health care system.

For PHNs to work where their predecessors failed, consumers, carers and support organisations will need to get organised in each PHN region to develop and incubate innovative projects and alternative funding models. PHNs can progress these initiatives and support them, in areas such as chronic illness, mental illness, aged care, e-health and home-based management of complex care.

Consumers and carers in each of the 31 Primary Health Network regions can establish pools of enrolled consumers to purchase localised and personalised care in chronic and mental illness. We want to trial alternatives to fee-for-service through these consumer and carer-governed purchasing pools. It's time for consumers and carers to get organised.

The National Campaign for Consumer-Centred Health Care aims to enable PHNs to succeed in enabling reform. The Campaign will gather ideas and innovations from consumers, carers and support organisations through Co-odinators in each PHN region, and Team Leaders in areas such as chronic illness, mental illness, aged care, e-health and home-based management of complex care.

The Primary Health Networks are:


  Central and Eastern Sydney
  Northern Sydney
  Western Sydney
  Nepean Blue Mountains
  South Western Sydney
  South Eastern NSW
  Hunter, New England, Central Coast
  North Coast NSW
  Western NSW
  North Brisbane
  South Brisbane
  Gold Coast
  Darling Downs West Moreton
  Western Qld
  Central Qld, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast
  Northern Qld
  Country SA

  North Western Melbourne
  Eastern Melbourne
  South Eastern Melbourne
  Western Victoria
  Perth North
  Perth South
  Country WA

Maps of the areas covered by each of the 31 PHNs are available here.

Call for Participants

Expressions of interest are invited from people wishing to participate in reform and innovation in each of the 31 PHN regions in the following roles:

The role of a Coordinator in each
PHN is to monitor innovative developments locally and act as a contact person for consumers, carers and support organisations who want to develop innovations. The Coordinator will administer a social media networking site for consumers, carers, and support organisations in their PHN.

Consumers, carers and support organisations are invited to register their interest in participating in their PHN region.
Where there are, say, 10 or more consumers in each region who want to participate in a new way of doing things in mental health, or chronic illness self-management, for instance, they will connect up via their Coordinator and take initiaties as a team, in their region.

Team Leader
The role of Team Leaders is to lead the development of strategies for innovation in areas of mental health, chronic illness, aged care, e-health, self-managed packages of care, home-based management of complex care, and health care management tools. Team Leaders will liaise with Coordinators in PHNs about their work in these areas.

CLICK HERE to express an interest in any of these roles.

An example of the work we have in mind:
The Commonwealth Strategy on Mental Health includes 'flexible care packages' for 24,000 people with a severe mental illness, attached to a Care Facilitator for each person, $383 million allocated to it. We would like to develop a process where we support people who are eligible for these packages to take them up in an innovative way, based on consumer self-direction and mutual support. Self-direction can be done in a variety of ways, and we will develop self-direction and support options and appropriate self-management tools.


Our Five-Point
Express your Interest
Your Feedback
Reforming Mental Health
22March 2016

CLICK HERE to become involved.

Our Campaign

The health policy and health reform debate in Australia is thoroughly dominated by provider and practitioner peak bodies in both private and public sectors. Politicians take their policy cues from these peak bodies. Consumer voices are poorly-developed, under-resourced, and almost entirely ignored in public debate.

The National Campaign for Consumer-Centred Health Care is a response to this imbalance in the Australian health system and health reform process. It aims to generate a broad movement for transformational change in health policy towards consumer-centred health care.

Commonwealth Health Minister Susan Ley has placed consumer-centred health care as a priority for the Turnbull Government. Her speech in October 2015 to the Canberra Press Club signals a hopeful change of direction. The
speech is about placing the consumer at the centre of the health system, finding alternatives to fee-for-service in chronic and mental illness, re-instating a person-controlled electronic health record with an opt-out rather than opt-in process, and emphasising innovation in preventing illness and over-servicing.

 Our Aims

     The aims of the Campaign are:  

  • To develop a movement of citizens and consumers for change in the Australian health system towards consumer-centred health care.
  • To participate in the health reform debate in Australia and influence its direction; and
  • To influence the thinking of politicians, policy makers, journalists, practitioners and consumers about health care and health reform.

 Our Principles

  Our four principles are:

  • My Life. My History
    Information about a personís health history and care strategies belongs to that person, and authority in management of and access to this information resides with each person.
  • My Life. My Care
    A person requiring health care interventions should be resourced with the means to acquire independent personalised information and support in making decisions about care options and coordination.
  • Self-Care and Self-Management
    A person with chronic or complex health conditions has a right to expect support from providers and practitioners in developing their capacity for self-care and self-management in their journey towards better health.
  • My Life. My Money
    A person requiring health care interventions has a right to know the price,
    quality and safety credentials of these interventions.

 On 20th January 2010, the West Belconnen Health Co-op opened its doors in a Canberra
 suburb as a health service owned by consumers and community organisations, with a
 philosophy of integrated, holistic person-centred care.

 A century ago, most of Australia's health organisations
 were  consumer-initiated, consumer-centred and
 consumer-managed.  Most general practitioners were
 contracted to collectives of consumers (friendly societies)
 for primary care services on a capitation basis (payment by
 person rather than episode of care). Bush nursing
 associations ran small hospitals and clinics on a capitation
 basis (payment by subscription). Hundreds of pharmacies
 were run as community services by friendly society
 dispensaries. Charities and membership-based
 organisations ran most of our larger hospitals.

 A century later, politicians, bureaucrats and provider peak
 bodies act as if health care belongs to politicians,
 bureaucrats and provider peak bodies. It doesn't. It belongs
 to consumers.

 Our 5 Point Campaign

  • A Person-Controlled Electronic Health Record

    The Final Report of the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission in June 2009 recommended that by 2012 every Australian consumer should have an electronic health record which will be used by providers and practitioners across service and disciplinary boundaries. Each person should be able to authorise access to the record to the providers and practitioners of their choice.

    This has yet to happen. In May 2010, the Rudd Government committed itself to introduce this system from 2012 on an opt-in basis for those consumers who wanted it. A vast amount of public money was wasted in trying to implement this Record with little consumer input into the process. With a lack of strategic vision for effecting change in health systems, the Commonwealth's version of a Patient-Controlled Electronic Health Record died a sorry death.

    In 2015, the Turnbull Government has re-instated a commitment to introduce a Patient-Controlled Electronic Health Record, this time on an opt-out basis, rebranding it as My Health Record. Two trials will be undertaken in 2016 involving one million consumers in Far North Queensland and the NSW Nepean Blue Mountains region.

    We believe a PCEHR is best developed as an initiative of collaborating associations of consumers and health care organisations with government support. It must be independent of provider and practitioner control, and designed to enable consumer self-care and self-management, and consumer-generated innovation

    The critical step to a consumer-centred health system is the development of a consumer-controlled electronic health record by collaborating associations of consumers and health care organisations.
  • A Care Coordination and Brokerage Payment for Every Consumer with a Diagnosed Chronic and Mental Illness

    Every consumer with a diagnosed chronic and mental illness should receive a Care Coordination and Brokerage Package. We propose that this Package should comprise an initial amount of $2000 would be followed by an annual $1000 payment thereafter.

    This Package would be for the purpose of purchasing the services of a care coordinator/ care broker /health coach as required by the consumer to guide them through the maze of services, costs, waiting lists and information overload. Payments may be made for coordination, advocacy, health literacy training, self-management training, individual or collective purchasing and tendering, contractual arrangements, and personal health and fitness coaching.

    An eligible consumer would nominate a Care Coordinator and Broker to receive and then manage the Package on their behalf. The Care Coordinator and Broker may be a community health organization, an illness-specific association, a health fund, a GP or nurse or allied health practitioner, or a consumer organisation. It would be the consumer's prerogative to choose a Care Coordinator and Broker who has the capacity to manage the financial allocation, enter contractual arrangements on their behalf, and manage their support and care relationships to their satisfaction.

    A consumer must be free to select their Care Coordinator and Broker, and free to transfer from one to another annually.

    Every consumer with a chronic or mental illness should be resourced to find a pathway through the complexity and fragmentation of the health system. A system that does not resource and empower consumers to do this in a personalised way effectively denies access.

  • Funding for Regional Pools of Consumers with Chronic and Mental Illnesses to Purchase Localised and Personalised Care

    Fee-for-service models of health funding are suited to acute and episodic care. They are not suited to funding care for consumers with chronic and mental illnesses. Fee-for-service systems provide no incentive for practitioners and providers to develop the self-care and self-management capacity of consumers. On the contrary, they incentivise multiple, disconnected interventions and drive over-servicing.

    The Commonwealth should redirect Medicare funding for single episodes of care for chronic and mental illnesses, to regional pools of consumers with these conditions who opt to collectively purchase localised and personalised care through a Regional Pool of Consumers. Where consumers in any of the 31 Primary Health Network regions establish a pool of consumers, with consumer-based governance, we propose that this enrolment pool of consumers be recognised and funded by the Commonwealth, on an opt-in basis, to purchase localised and personalised care. State governments should redirect funding similarly.

    We also propose that an independent third party to commissioned to monitor expenditure by regional pools of consumers, and measure movements in productivity in each enrolment pool.

    Over time, we propose that additional funding and management functions be transferred from providers and practitioners to these enrolment pools of consumers.

    Where consumers in any of the 31 Primary Health Network regions establish a pool of enrolled consumers to purchase localised and personalised care in chronic and mental illness, these regional pools of consumers should be recognised and funded by governments.

  • A Health Care Price and Safety Information Service

    The Commonwealth should establish an independent Health Care Price and Safety Information Service to make available to consumers comparative price and service quality data on hospitals, providers and practitioners so that consumers can know what they are using and purchasing.

    This entity would be a statutory authority, independent of providers and practitioners, with authority to require information from providers, insurers and practitioners for public disclosure online, including:

    - Hospital payments for the services of medical specialists
    - Health fund payments for medical specialist charges
    - Hospital errors and deaths
    - Hospital-based infection rates
    - Specialist fees in private practice

    In a consumer-centred health system, consumers and their Care Coordinators and Brokers, must be able to access information about the price and quality of the services they use and purchase.
  • Consumer-Elected Consumer Participation in Health Service Governance

    Public and community health services and networks should enable one third of their governing board positions to be filled by consumers elected by registered users of these services.

    Our preferred composition for governing boards of public and community health services is one third funders (government), one third practitioners/providers, and one third consumers.

    It is a very simple exercise for complex organizations to establish a system of opt-in registered users of their service and allow a periodic election in which these registered users vote.

    One third of governing board positions in public and community health services and networks should be filled by consumers elected by registered users of these services, as a condition of eligibility for public funding.


There are many ways you may become involved in our National Campaign for Consumer-Centred Health Care.

  • Join up (there is no cost)
  • Invite a speaker from the Campaign to visit your group or organisation
  • Express your interest in acting as a Coordinator in your PHN
  • Participate in developing care innovations in your area
CLICK HERE to become involved in any of these ways.


The ideas in this Campaign were initially generated at the Consumer-Centred Health Care: Policy Innovation and Empowerment conference in Melbourne on 22-23 March 2010, and in subsequent consultations.

These 4 points are not the last word in health reform. They are simply starting points for the re-direction of reform efforts away from a narrow pre-occupation with hospitals to a focus on the total consumer experience of health and health care. As starting points in this process, our Campaign has a focus on the funding and structuring of consumer decision-making, empowerment, self-care and self-management.


Become Involved
Express your Interest
Your Feedback
Reforming Mental Health
22March 2016


Tell us what you think. We would be pleased to receive your comments or suggestions.

CLICK HERE to open a feedback form.

If you no longer with to receive information from us,
simply reply to this email with 'Unsubscribe' in the subject line.