Sunday, December 14, 2008

A year in review: 2008

This year HCCA celebrated our 30th birthday. We are the oldest health consumer organisation in Australia.

Consumers must be meaningfully involved in setting the agenda and priorities of health services if we are to have a health system that is responsive, respectful, accessible and affordable to all. There is a strong health care consumer movement that works to achieve this. We are proud of the role we play and appreciate the strong contribution our members make.

This year we have supported more than 50 active consumer representatives. This year they have spent more than 500 hours at committee meetings, 200 hours travelling to and from meetings and about 300 hours reading papers and preparing for meetings. And this does not include the hour is they spend building and sustaining their networks.

This year we have trained 15 new consumer representatives to add to our pool of committed and experienced reps. We are looking forward to working with them over the coming years.

Each year we survey our reps to help us evaluate our representative program. We are currently analysing the results of this year’s survey. I want to share with you some of the findings as I think it is useful in thinking about the contributions our consumer representatives make to the ACT community.

We asked our reps why consumer participation is important in health care. They responded overwhelmingly that it because it
• improves the quality and safety and quality if services and
• provides a way for consumers to shape the services we use

We asked our reps what we achieve with the consumer representatives program. And they responded that it
• improves the quality of services,
• increases policy makers and service provider's understanding of what health consumers want and
• brings about cultural change

Most of our reps say they feel that their contributions frequently influence the committee. This is an important measure.

We also surveyed ACT Health staff who work with consumer representatives and their responses are very interesting.

The ACT staff who responded said consumer participation is important in health care because it provides a way for consumers to shape the services they use

When asked what HCCA achieves through the reps program 75% of staff increases policy makers’ and service providers’ understanding of what health consumers want.

Kerry Snell will be analysing the results of the survey in January and will report at the first consumer representatives forum for the year. We will also include a summary in Consumer Bites.

I would like to thank the great staff team that we have in the office. We have had a busy and successful year and even managed to have a bit of fun. The HCCA office will be closed between 24 December 2008 and 2 December 2009 inclusive (so that the staff can recharge).

We want to thank you for your contribution this year. It has been a busy year, especially with the service planning processes and the Capital Asset Development Program. I hope you all have a restful summer break and look forward to continuing our work in the new year.

Best wishes

Darlene

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