Monday, November 26, 2012

HCCA AGM 2012 President’s Report

Adele with HCCA staff Nicole and Heather

This year is my fourth and final year as President of the Health Care Consumers’ Association (HCCA) of the ACT.  During the past four years, our organisation has made a significant impact by providing respected, informed and strong consumer input to influence the development of quality health services in the ACT.

I am proud that we continue to consolidate our position as the peak body representing health consumers in the region.  The strength of our membership and our committed and passionate consumer representatives are pivotal to the achievements of HCCA and I sincerely thank them and all our members for their active involvement, keen interest and support.
I would like to begin by reflecting on some of the significant changes and achievements HCCA has seen over these past four years. 
In 2009, HCCA moved from the Community Centre in Pearce to ACT Sports House in Hackett. This increased office space for staff and gave us much needed, and indeed, much used, rooms for training and meetings.

Since that move, HCCA staff numbers have almost doubled.  This is due to an increase in funding, but also to the larger number of part-time staff.  We have gone from a staff of 7 in 2008 to 12 staff members today.

HCCA’s active participation on committees within the ACT has increased from 58 committees in 2008 to 93 committees as at 30 June 2012. 

Increased funding to employ staff to ensure that consumers have input into the Health Infrastructure Program.

We have established two Consumer Reference Groups for ehealth and Cancer Services. These groups are convened monthly and bring together consumers and staff from the Heath Directorate and other organisations together to work through issues. I would like to thank Russell McGowan and Sally Saunders for their work in convening these groups.

These Reference Groups play a very important role in providing consumer input into development of health policies and we are considering establishing other groups around Primary Health Care and Aged Care.

We have entered into a new partnership with the University of Canberra to work on a number of research projects and are also working with the Uni in supporting ways to increase clinical placements of students in aged care.

We continue to hold a Health Issues Group every two months, providing fora for discussion about a variety of topical health issues.

The demand for consumer input on policies continues to increase. During this financial year, we completed 18 submissions, compared with 11 in the previous period.

Health literacy is the cornerstone of consumer empowerment and plays a significant role in delivering better health outcomes for individuals and the broader community.  The HCCA Health Literacy Program develops the expertise of health consumers to actively engage with health care systems and health professionals to make informed decisions about their own and their family’s health.

From a financial perspective, I am pleased to report that HCCA continues to operate within a sound financial base.  Equity is currently $141,614 as we enter the final year of our three year funding round with Health Directorate.  This equity has allowed us to introduce a consumer scholarship program and undertake the review of the Consumer Representatives Program.

I firmly believe the strength of our membership and the significance of our combined voice has cemented our excellent reputation today as the peak advocacy organisation for health care consumers in the ACT, which will enable us to deliver quality input to these important policies.

I sincerely thank all of our consumer representatives and members for their active involvement, their empowering support and their engaged interest. 

I thank my fellow Executive Committee Members for their commitment, energy and vision over the past year and, on behalf of all our members and the Executive Committee, I deeply thank our outstanding Executive Director, Darlene Cox, and her very capable and professional team for all their hard work during this challenging and productive year.

My thanks to Marion Reilly, who is leaving the Executive Committee after 13 years; I am delighted she will continue her active involvement with HCCA and I hope she continues her recovery from her recent illness.

And my thanks to Russell McGowan for his truly valuable contribution, over many years, as a member of the Executive Committee, where he has served as President for 10 years, Vice President and member.  He is stepping down from the Committee at the end of this term, but I know he will maintain his close association with HCCA.    

While I step down from the position of President I will continue to be an active member of the HCCA to advance consumer interests in our health system.

I have been honoured to hold the position of President for 3 years and I thank you all for your support to me personally, during that time.

Adele Stevens
Health Care Consumers' Association President 2008 - 2012

HCCA Annual General Meeting 2012

HCCA’s Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday 15 November at 5:00pm in the Drawing Room at University House. It was a magnificent event with a very strong turnout and I would like to thank to all attendees for their time and participation.
Ngunnawal Elder, Aunty Agnes Shea welcomes us all to Country
Professor Sharon Friel from the Australian National University gave a very informative and captivating speech about how public policy can reduce health inequalities experienced in our community. Professor Friel’s speech and presentation can be viewed on our website.
Professor Sharon Friel

Adele Stevens gave her last report as president. Adele has been the president of Health Care Consumers’ Association for four years and we have greatly appreciated her significant commitment to the organisation. Adele’s full report is available in the Annual Report and the speech she gave at the AGM will be posted to our blog.

Our outgoing President thanked Russell McGowan and Marion Reilly for their contribution to the Executive Committee, who have both stepped down from their positions. Although they are no longer on the Executive Committee, I am sure they will continue to be very active members within the organisation.

As part of the organisational business undertaken at the meeting, HCCA elected its new Executive Committee. The Executive Committee for the next year is as follows:

  • President: Sue Andrews (term ends 2014) 
  •  Vice-President: Adele Stevens (term ends 2014) 
  •  Treasurer: Bev McConnell (term ends 2013)
  • General Members: Therese Findlay, Sharon Eacott, Caroline Polak Scowcroft, David Lovegrove (term ends 2013), Michelle Banfield and Bill Heins (term ends 2014)
Our new Executive Committee

I look forward to working with the new Committee in the coming year.

Darlene Cox
Executive Director

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A visit to the Belconnen Enhanced Community Health Centre

Last week, members of the Community Health Centres Executive Reference Group, including HCCA's Yelin Hung, visited the construction site of the Belconnen Enhanced Community Health Centre. 

Construction is well under way on the new Centre, and the building is going to be huge!  While a lot of work has already been done, there is still certainly a lot left to do.  The Centre's Project team took the Executive Reference Group members through every level of the building, and up to the top floor where you can catch a panoramic view of Belconnen's commercial district. 

There is still a long way to go, and a number of things to do before construction can be completed but time flies and soon June 2013 will be around the corner.  

Yelin doing her best Bob the Builder impression,
minus the tool belt!