Monday, May 18, 2015

ACT Health - Partnering with Consumers

Last week ACT Health underwent accreditation against the new national standards.

I was invited to speak at the opening meeting with the surveyors. My speaking notes are posted here for the information. Throughout the week we had the opportunity to speak with the surveyors in more details about the work of the Health Directorate and staff at Canberra Hospital and Health Services about how they partner with consumers at three levels, as patient, consumers and as citizens.

Darlene Cox
Executive Director

The Health Care Consumers’ Association is the longest running health consumer group in Australia. We receive funding from ACT Health to train and support consumer representatives and to provide consumer perspectives on policy and operational matters.

We do not have Consumer Advisory Committees like other health services. Consumer and carer representatives and consumer organisations are heavily embedded in ACT Health and health services. The consumer voice is heard across all levels of the health service - as patients and carers, as consumer representatives, through consultation with consumer groups and the broader community.
HCCA supports more than 50 consumer representatives who are participating in over 100 committees across ACT Health. There are also more than Mental Health Consumer Reps and Carer Reps.

We run training sessions 3 times a year to recruit new members of the community who are interested in becoming involved. I want to touch on a few of our achievements.

Consumer representation has been a constant through quality and safety processes and clinical governance.

We have had a consumer representative on the Canberra Hospital Clinical Review Committee for almost ten years which is significant.

We also have consumer reps on the Interagency Clinical Review Committee, Quality and Safety Committees, Clinical Ethics Committee, Awards Panels, and the Medical and Dental Appointments Committee.

The consumer perspective is also valued in the corporate governance with consumer representatives on the Executive Directors Council, and Executive Council as well as the Local Hospital Network Council.

We also have consumers as members of selection panels for senior staff, including Clinical Directors, the Deputy Director General and Director General positions, a well-established indicator that an organisation has a culture of consumer centred care.
Consultation with consumers and carers is embedded in the policy development and review processes.

We also have significant involvement of consumers in the Health Infrastructure Program with active involvement of consumers in User Groups and project management committees. There is also consumer and community consultation to inform the designs and models of care. There are consumer representatives in the governance committees for HIP, so consumer voices are part of the strategic discussions and decisions.

Since the introduction of the national standards we have had Consumer Leads. This is a group of experienced and well connected consumer representative who take on a leadership role. We are very proud of this model and it reflects the commitment of ACT Health to partnering with consumers.

This year the Consumer Leads are participating in the ACT Leadership Network, a welcome development and builds on the involvement of consumers in training of ACT health staff.

We have built strong relationships and have a good working model of participation that works for us.
We have enthusiasm and commitment to continue to improve the way in which the consumer voice shapes the services for our community so that we have health services that are safety and consistently of a high quality.

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