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

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