Health Alliance session at this year's Metro North Health Forum

Health Alliance session at this year's Metro North Health Forum

On 19 June, the Health Alliance hosted a session at the fifth annual Metro North Health Forum, engaging over 120 consumers and service providers in an energetic discussion about how the healthcare system could be improved.  

Since mid-2017 the Health Alliance group working to improve care for older people have been working to agree on a shared understanding of the current challenges within the health system, and to design an improved system response. This core group discussion was opened to a wider audience at the Metro North Health Forum.  

Ageing Revolution kicked off the session by facilitating discussions on what matters to older people and challenging the way we think about ageing. General Manager of the Health Alliance, Professor Don Matheson reflected, “What matters to older people now is not dissimilar to what matters to us now - just the way we go about meeting these needs has to change as we age”. 

Professor Matheson acknowledged that, “Revolutions of this nature can be slow and difficult and require leadership” and then introduced health sector leaders who have already made very significant contributions. These included Executive Director of Clinical Services at MNHHS, Dr Liz Whiting, and Executive Manager of Aged and Community Services at Brisbane North PHN, Michele Smith. Ken Whelan, former Chief Executive of MNHHS was also on hand to provide reflections from both the Australian and New Zealand context.  

After hearing from these leaders, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a ‘fish bowl’ discussion. To begin the ‘fish bowl’, Professor Matheson had a discussion with Laurel Scott, a Taigum resident, about her journey caring for her elderly husband and her hopes for a health system response to the care for older people.  

Core group members then joined the ‘fish bowl’ to discuss opportunities to collaboratively work together to keep older people happy and healthy at home. During this interactive discussion, other attendees had the opportunity to enter the ‘fish bowl’ and contribute to the discussion.  

While the Health Alliance will support further mobilisation around the key issues, Professor Matheson closed the session by encouraging attendees to continue these collaborative discussions given all parts of the sector have a role to play in keeping older people happy and healthy at home.