CHF Summit 2021: Shifting Gears


The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) is the national peak body representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers. CHF works to achieve safe, quality, timely healthcare for all Australians, supported by accessible health information and systems.

CHF does this by:

  • advocating for appropriate and equitable healthcare
  • undertaking consumer-based research and developing a strong consumer knowledge base     
  • identifying key issues in safety and quality of health services for consumers
  • raising the health literacy of consumers, health professionals and stakeholders
  • providing a strong national voice for health consumers and supporting consumer participation in health policy and program decision making

CHF is made up of a number of member organisations from around Australia. These members include state peak health consumer organisations, health consumer organisations and networks dedicated to particular health conditions and objectives and organisations with a general interest in healthcare consumer affairs. CHF members are highly valued partners in our efforts to ensure consumer and community-centred care is a priority for decision makers.

If you or your organisation are interested in becoming a member of CHF you can find out more about the benefits of membership and join up on our website.


Foundational to reform processes in the Australian health system and in leading global thinking about the drivers of health reform is the notion of consumer centred care.

Consumer participation brings a credible voice and perspective and can work with system leaders to create a compelling case for change. It is well recognised that health systems need to maximise the efficiency of health services and long-term care. They also fundamentally need to deliver improvements that matter to patients and their changing health care needs. Recognising that people-centred care should better guide the course taken by health care in the future, the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) released a White Paper, “Shifting Gears: Consumers Transforming Health” in November 2018.

The White Paper is CHF’s philosophy and aspirations for the future role of consumers shaping health. It describes the major shifts that need to occur in health policy if our system is to be people-centred and sustainable. It highlights that the consumer role in health is not one dimensional but has many roles and functions. The roles and responsibilities, skills and knowledge that consumers can contribute to the health system is an emerging one.

The CHF Summit 2021: Shifting Gears is designed to continue the conversation begun in the white paper. The Summit’s Big Ideas Forum will allow us to hear from consumers about the types of changes our health system needs. Many of the sessions at the Summit will be focussed on celebrating current consumer leaders and learning from their experiences. There will also be sessions on providing emerging consumer leaders and health professional with the skills they need to work effectively together.


CHF wishes to thank the members of our Program Advisory Committee who are assisting in developing the program for the CHF Summit 2021: Shifting Gears.

  • Ms Leanne Wells, CEO of CHF and Chair of the Program Advisory Committee
  • Dr Anthony Brown, Health Consumers NSW
  • Dr Paresh Dawda, Prestantia Health
  • Ms Kate Lyttle, CHF
  • Ms Lisa Gelbart, CHF
  • Ms Renee Greaves, Counties Manukau Health, New Zealand 
  • Ms Anne Marie Hadley, NSW Ministry of Health
  • Ms Debra Kay, Consumer advocate
  • Ms Lea Kirkwood, NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation
  • Mr Tony Lawson, Chair of the CHF Board
  • Ms Belinda MacLeod Smith, Safer Care Victoria
  • Ms Lynne Maher, Ko Awatea, Counties Manukau
  • Dr Fiona Martin, Australian Digital Health Agency
  • Ms Michelle Maxell, NSW Health
  • Professor Jennifer Muller, Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance, and Stroke Foundation Consumer Council
  • Ms Jennie Parham, CHF
  • Ms Bronwyn Smith, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
  • Ms Alison Verhoeven, Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
  • Ms Christine Walker, CHF Board
  • Associate Professor Yvonne Zurynski, NHMRC Partnership Centre for Health System Sustainability