Our history

We were first established in 1983 under the auspice of Victorian Council of Social Services with a grant from the Myer Foundation and subsequent funding from the state government.

In its early days, Health Issues Centre was funded for 12 months to run a complaints telephone line to inform the development of the Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1987. The Act created the Victorian approach to resolving health complaints and set up the Office of the Health Services Commissioner. We were involved throughout the development of the legislation.

At the time Health Issues Centre was created, the interests of health professions and funders were well articulated and represented through organisations like the Australian Medical Association. There was however another ‘interest’ in health – consumers and the community – who were unrepresented where decisions were made.

We became a voice in that space and gathered people with backgrounds in areas such as health economics, community health, hospitals, and consumer rights. We were fortunate to be part of a social movement that lobbied for consumer rights and for building a more democratic relationship with healthcare providers.  

Since then, we have developed a series of policy-related consumer research reports and had a strong focus on health rights, health financing, quality and safety in health care, and how consumers should have a say about their health and wellbeing.

Some of our well-regarded print publications were developed to inform the community conversations about improving the health care system. These include:

  • Getting off the Sickness Go-round
  • Our Better Health: Getting it Together
  • Where the Health Dollar Goes
  • Who controls where the Health Dollar goes
  • Casemix
  • Quality and Consumers: Fixing the Mix

In 1985, we published the first edition of our journal - Health Issues - a unique and respected publication that is still in production today.

The size of our organisation and the scope of our work has changed over the years due to fluctuations in funding and changes to government and sector priorities.

Through all of this and throughout our almost 30 year history we have remained committed to championing consumer participation and engagement in all aspects of our health care system.

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