Access to affordable and quality health care is consistently identified as a priority issue for older Queenslanders. This includes access to primary health care, hospital-based services, medications, information, and activities that help people age well as well as linkages with aged care and other support services.
COTA Queensland’s vision is for a statewide healthcare system that is linked up, responsive, safe, efficient, innovative, and most importantly has the needs of patients at the centre – receiving the right care at the right time and in the right place.
In keeping with the World Health Organisation’s integrated care framework, we believe high quality healthcare should be available to all Queenslanders, regardless of where they live or what they can afford, and that care should be coordinated and continuous throughout a person’s life.
What we do
We work with Queensland Health, the Primary Health Networks, and Hospital and Health Services to promote health outcomes for Queenslanders, support a sustainable health system, enable effective engagement with stakeholders, and promote empowerment of consumers and the health workforce.
Some of our activities include:
- Frail Older Persons Collaborative
- Queensland Clinical Senate – Low benefit care
- Queensland Clinical Networks Executive
- Statewide Older Person’s Health Clinical Network
- Steering Committee for the Implementation of the Health Care Plan for Older People Who Live in Brisbane North
- Metro North (Brisbane) Hospital and Health Service Community Advisory Board
- Brisbane South Primary Health Network Older People’s Health and Wellness Strategy Committee
People may need mental health support at any stage of life. We advocate for equitable access to mental health services, particularly services in the community to support people outside the hospital system. We are particularly concerned about suicide rates among older men and support for carers and families, particularly when trying to navigate the mental health system.
As well as ongoing discussions with the Queensland Mental Health Commissioner about older people’s mental health, we are also part of the Queensland Mental Health Commission’s Shifting Minds group, including involvement in their forum to provide advice to the Commission about their priorities.
We have been engaged by the Brisbane North Primary Health Network (PHN) to work with people and organisations across the Brisbane North region who have an interest and expertise in mental health through the Planning for Wellbeing project. Key areas the project stakeholders are working on include:
- Expanding and diversifying mental health services for older people;
- Delivering high-quality mental health and suicide prevention services for older people; and
- Supporting carers to sustain good mental health.
Palliative and end of life care
End of life issues and voluntary assisted dying continue to be key issues for Queenslanders. We believe that palliative and end-of-life care are poorly understood and services are not meeting the needs of older Queenslanders.
Along with Carers Queensland, Health Consumers Queensland and Palliative Care Queensland we have recommended initiatives that help to create knowledge and skills in communities and in families and support networks, practical support for consumers to navigate the system and make informed choices, and development of knowledge and skills among formal support providers.
COTA Queensland has also recommended that urgent attention be paid to the availability and quality of palliative and end of life care in Queensland, particularly the support and training provided to care staff and medical professionals, and broader community education, to reduce avoidable hospitalisations at the end of life and enable people to die at the place of their choosing.
Voluntary assisted dying
We believe that Queenslanders are ready for a genuine conversation about voluntary assisted dying. Our research suggests that it has support in the community, provided there are suitable legal safeguards. Critical to this is the adequate resourcing and availability of community, health, aged care and palliative care services and ensuring people are supported to make informed decisions.
We respect the views of both those who support and those who oppose the introduction of voluntary assisted dying in Queensland. The Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic Family Violence Prevention Committee’s Inquiry tabled a report on voluntary assisted dying in the Queensland Parliament. This report contains 21 recommendations on the possible introduction of voluntary assisted dying legislation in Queensland. We believe the appropriate place for this matter to be determined is the Queensland Parliament, where the elected representatives of Queenslanders can act on behalf of their constituents.
Find more information
You can find more information about the Planning for Wellbeing project here.
COTA Queensland made an independent submission to the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic Family Violence Prevention Committee’s Inquiry into aged care, end-of-life and palliative care and voluntary assisted dying. Our collaborative with Carers Queensland, Health Consumers Queensland and Palliative Care Queensland also made a joint submission to the Inquiry.