Upcoming Focus Groups

Community-based Health Service Focus Group


Are you aged between 18 and 30?

Do you live in Canberra or the ACT?


Have you attended a community-based health service* during the last 6 months?
We want to hear about your experiences!


You are invited to help the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care to develop a questionnaire which will enable patients to have a say in improving the quality and safety of health care all over Australia.


You can do this by participating in a focus group for people aged between 18 and 30 who live in the ACT and have accessed a community-based health service* in the last 6 months. Your input is essential to making sure that our questionnaire is appropriate for the needs of young adults, and allows their voices to be heard.


You will be asked to talk with the rest of the group about your experiences.


The focus group will be held on Monday, 31 August 2015 from 5.30pm to 7:30pm. The venue will be HCCA, 100 Maitland Street, Hackett. Light refreshments will be provided, and you will be reimbursed for your time and for your travel to the venue.


Please register your interest in participating in the focus group by emailing the Patient Experience Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , using ‘Canberra youth focus group – primary care’ in the subject line.

*’Community-based health service’ means a non-GP health service based in the community which you can access without a referral. For example:

• Chiropractor, osteopath, physiotherapist, podiatrist
• Community nursing, health visiting, nurse-led walk-in clinics
• Community-based rehabilitation services
• Mother and baby services, antenatal and maternity services
• Optometrist, optician, orthoptist
• Dietician, nutritionist
• Complementary or alternative therapist
• Dentist, orthodontist, dental hygienist
• Audiologist, speech pathologist
• Sexual health services
• Aboriginal primary health providers
• Community based drug and alcohol services
• Psychology, counselling, psychotherapy services

Questions to Ask Your Health Professional

You will have questions about diseases or conditions, medications or treatments. You might find it helpful to take a list of questions when you visit your health professional.

Depending on the reason for your visit, these questions may include:

  • What’s wrong with me?
  • Exactly what type of procedure or treatment are you proposing?
  • What are the risks of the procedure?
  • Is there any alternative treatment?
  • How long will the procedure take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Will my health fund cover the cost?
  • What drugs will I be given? What side effects might they have?
  • How long will I be unwell or unable to work?
  • Can I have a second opinion?
  • If I sign this, what am I agreeing to?
  • Can you explain everything again in terms that I can understand?



Health Services in the ACT

A complete ACT Health Services Directory is available online (pdf 125kb)

The ACT Government also has a Find A Health Service page on the ACT Health website.


Quick Telephone Reference

  • Canberra Hospital (02) 6244 2222
  • Community Health (02) 6207 9977
  • Calvary Hospital (02) 6201 6111
  • healthdirect (previously called healthfirst) gives you easy access to health advice, and information about general practice and after hours medical, pharmacy and dental services in your local area. Call 1800 022 222
  • Mental Health ACT 1800 629 354
  • ACT Pathology (02) 6244 2930
  • Community Health Intake Line to access a range of Community Health services and information 8am - 5pm Monday to Friday (02) 6207 9977
  • Interpreter Service 13 1450



Using medicines safely



The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and the ACT Health Directorate are committed to the quality use of medicines (QUM).  Quality use of medicines is about ensuring that medicines are used most effectively to achieve longer and better lives. This includes prescribing and providing access to the right medicine for each particular health consumer, ensuring that these medicines are being used correctly, as well as access to alternate and complementary therapies.

There are a number of projects that are looking to improive medication safety and the qaulity use of mediciens by health profesisonals as well as consumers.  There is National Strategy in place for QUM to make the best possible use of medicines to improve health outcomes for all Australians.

Medicine Update
is an online publication produced by National Prescribing Service, designed to be used by consumers who are considering new medicines. It aims to highlight important information about how the medicine is used in therapy, how it compares with other therapies, provides any important safety information and explains the conditions of its listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).


To report on or advice seek advice regarding adverse drug reactions or errors associated with medicine use, please contact the Adverse Medicines Event Line on 1300 134 237 between 9am and 5pm (AEST) for the cost of a local call.


The Adverse Medicine Events (AME) Line :

  • Provides consumers with a mechanism to report adverse experiences with medicines.
  • Provides an opportunity for consumers to consult with a pharmacist about medicine safety.
  • Ensures that consumers' concerns about medicine safety are taken seriously and reported to the relevant authority.


Making Complaints

For health services to improve it is important that consumers provide feedback on their experiences. This can include compliments, suggestions or complaints.


ACT Health Directorate

ACT Health has an online feedback form that we encourage people to use.



You can also download a Consumer Feedback Form (298kb PDF) and mail it to:


The Consumer Feedback Coordinator
Patient Safety & Quality Unit
ACT Health PO Box 11

ACT Health Services Commissioner


HSC logo


The ACT Health Services Commissioner is Mary Durkin. The Health Services Commissioner's mandate is to deal with complaints about the provision of health services and services for older people, and complaints about contraventions of the privacy principles or of a consumer's right of access to his or her health records under the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997.

The Health Professionals Act 2004 involves the Commissioner in working with Health Professions Boards to maintain minimum standards in service provision and to protect public safety by ensuring health service providers meet suitability to practice requirements.

Compaints are required in writing and the Commission staff are able to assit you to compelte the complaints form. You can contact the Commission by phone on (02) 6205 2222.


Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

PHIO logo


The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) provides an independent service to help consumers with health insurance problems and enquiries.

The Ombudsman can deal with complaints from health funds, private hospitals or medical practitioners. Complaints need to be about private health insurance or a related matter. They can be about a private health fund, a broker, a hospital, a medical practitioner, a dentist or other practitioners (as long as the complaint relates to private health insurance).

However, complaints about the quality of service or treatment provided by a health professional or a hospital should be directed to the health care complaints body for your state or territory.

The Ombudsman cannot deal with complaints about Medicare. Complaints about Medicare should be directed to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.