Consumer voice is key in provision of healthcare
Published at: 20 Sep 2019
SINCE 2004, GOULBURN VALLEY HEALTH'S HEALTHCARE PROVISION HAS BEEN GUIDED BY ITS CONSUMER ADVISORY COMMITTEE (CAC).
Reporting to GV Health's board of directors, the CAC is part of the health service's Community Engagement Plan (CEP), according to GV Health Community Care Executive Director Josh Freeman.
“While staff may be experts in their field of clinical knowledge, community members are experts about the importance of services to people in the region and how they can best be utilised,” Mr Freeman said.
“The plan asks healthcare consumers to give feedback at all stages of their healthcare journey to allow GV Health to ensure the community is receiving excellent and reliable service at all times.
“The CEP sets us up for the next couple of years.
“At the end of the day our whole objective as an organisation is about healthy communities.”
Mr Freeman oversees a range of portfolios which interface directly with the community.
“I've always been a believer that you can only do things through and with the people who use the service,” he said.
“The signifi cant component of that is how we work and engage with our community and partner organisations to improve things. It's something I'm really mindful of.”
The CEP's vision statement is to partner with the community to help improve health outcomes in the region.
The CAC is one of the mechanisms through which GV Health receives feedback from the community.
Chaired by Shepparton's Geoff Long, he said it was important to have a consumer voice within the healthcare service.
“The consumer voice in healthcare must be at the forefront of health provided,” he said.
“It's got to be an integrated policy where doctors, nurses and specialists can listen to the consumer and the carers because without that two-way commitment, I don't think anything progresses.”
Mr Long said he joined the committee around five years ago through his position on various other committees at GV Health and said he thoroughly enjoyed sitting in these roles, now chairing the CAC for the past two years.
He explained the committee's role.
“All major hospitals in Victoria have to have a Consumer Advisory Committee and they represent the views of the community, consumers and carers, and we pass those views onto the board.”
And with the current redevelopment taking place at the Graham St Campus, GV Health's capacity and ability to provide healthcare to the region is set to increase, meaning the CAC will be more important than ever.
GV Health Foundation director Carmel Johnson said the CEP, which CAC helped to inform, was also about staff engagement.
“We are ensuring that, as ambassadors for GV Health, all of our staff are out there looking at how we can improve our communication with patients and external stakeholders on a day-to-day basis,” she said.
“That's something that's very important to us.”
Mr Freeman said the CEP had been focused on the study of community health literacy, looking at how patients were connected to and empowered by access to the variety of services they required.
“GV Health is just one touch point in a patient's health journey,” he said.
“We need to make sure people are able to find services that can keep them out of hospital and in the community living healthy lives.”
The CAC has nine representatives who have been selected to provide GV Health with an insight into their expertise in the delivery of health services.
The committee meets with senior members of the GV Health team monthly.
This often involves a presentation from a subject matter expert.
The presentations include feedback into improving services from a patient and community perspective.
“It's important to make sure, in all facets of our governance structure, we're actually working to improve the patient's journey,” Ms Johnson said.
“Partnering with the community means we can all achieve far better outcomes than we could alone.”
FEEL LIKE JOINING CAC?
You are invited to Goulburn Valley Health’s Consumer Advisory and National Standards Committees. GV Health is looking for people to help shape healthcare in the Goulburn Valley by focusing on consumer engagement. We are seeking people who reflect the diversity of the communities served by GV Health. Committee members will be required to have an understanding of what it means to be a consumer of the health service. Both committees will advise the Executive team and the Board on community views to assist in the planning and delivery of high quality care to our community. To apply for committee membership contact Carolyn McDowall at email@example.com
GV HEALTH’S CONSUMER ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Geoff Long (Chairperson)
Geoff Long is the chair of the Consumer Advisory Committee, and a committee member on the Consumer & Carer Advisory Council for Goulburn Valley Area Mental Health. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Shepparton. Geoff is currently semi-retired and works part time as a support worker. Geoff has three children with his wife Helen. They enjoy camping and travelling in their motor home.
John’s career in the banking and finance sector spanned 40 years. In 2004 he retired as an agribusiness manager in Shepparton. He sees his role as a member of the GV Health Consumer Advisory Committee as understanding how GV Health works, its strengths and weaknesses and how it relates to the wider community. John and his wife have lived in Shepparton for 20 years, have three daughters and 10 grandchildren. They are enjoying keeping busy in their retirement.
Rashidi was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is a member of one of the first two families to settle in Shepparton under the Federal Regional Settlement Program in October 2005. He is a member of the African Union’s Pan African-Australasian Diaspora Network and a recipient of a Universal Peace Federation Award, making him a member of the Global Network of Peace Building. Rashidi represented the Future Voices Inc. in Johannesburg on July 17, when the lecture was delivered by former United States President Barack Obama. He is also a board member of Shepparton Notre Dame College.
Dylan brings local and international commercial experience and skills encompassing customer-driven service leadership, operational excellence, sales and marketing development to a broad range of volunteer activities. Dylan worked for Mettler-Toledo Inc. for nearly 20 years and has held various management positions with global responsibility. The focus of Dylan’s work within the community highlights issues including local healthcare, chronic disease management and mental health, focusing on the role parents, caregivers and significant others have in patient care.
Jennifer has lived in the region for more than 25 years and is involved in several volunteer roles in and around Tatura. Her professional career in land and water management in northern Victoria had a focus and passion for community engagement. Being a member of the Community Advisory Committee she is hoping to ensure rural people have better access to the health services provided by GV Health. She is keen to see more services provided locally to reduce the need for people to travel out of our region to access health services.
Denise has a diverse background in program management and development, business management, administration, human resource management and recruitment. She has worked extensively in state government and Federal Government development, managing and implementing employment programs for vulnerable youth and disadvantaged Victorians. She currently works as projects coordinator at the Uniting Church, synod of Victoria and Tasmania.
Jo-Anne has lived in the Goulburn Valley for 30 years, spending most of her professional career as a Corporate Insurance Adviser for PSC Griffiths Goodall Insurance Brokers. She has volunteered across a range of school, sporting and community organisations during this time and in 2017 completed the Fairley Leadership program. Jo-Anne is a board member of SAM Foundation assisting to raise funds for the new Shepparton Art Museum. Having joined the Community Advisory Committee 12 months ago she is slowly gaining a better understanding of the services provided by GV Health and wants to contribute to improving the customer experience of all those in the community that utilise these services.
Ellie is a born and bred local Shepparton girl who was educated at St Brendan’s Primary School and Notre Dame College. She was raised in a loving, close knit family, supported by her parents and sister. This gave Ellie a solid grounding in her faith and has helped her to foster values, principles and a moral code that is beneficial to her and the community around her. She is a teacher at St Mel’s Primary School where she is very active in the school community. She is also a member of the Shepparton Festival board, which has allowed her to build strong and positive relationships with other members and further develop her skills. She is a graduate of the City of Greater Shepparton’s leadership course and now provides mentoring for new participants. Being a Goulburn Valley Health Consumer Advisory Committee member has given her the opportunity to be a part of a team that advises the hospital on community engagement, patient wellbeing and care and health service procedures.
Balvinder is a respected member of the Greater Shepparton community and actively contributes to the culturally diverse tapestry of the region. Balvinder has a long and varied history within the education sector spanning more than 30 years, including managing the delivery of English language programs as a manager of GOTAFE’s Multicultural Education Centre. Her passion for education and innovation has led to teaching and management appointments in Malaysia, China, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Balvinder has a broad understanding of the challenges faced by new arrivals and is well-positioned to advocate for change in ensuring their needs are met.