What is the Consumer Representatives Program?

The Consumer Representatives Program (CRP) recruits, trains and supports health care consumer representatives to provide input on health related committees and other consultative fora. It is a major activity of HCCA and is our Association’s ‘public face’. The CRP supports HCCA members to work within their committees to set priorities, make decisions, plan strategies and implement them, to achieve more consumer input and control of health services and better overall health and wellbeing for consumers.

HCCA strongly believes consumers must partner with health services to achieve a health care system which is aware of and sensitive to consumer’s individual needs, background and cultural context. The CRP facilitates open communication between the health sector and the broader community and fosters partnership and collaboration between consumers and health services and across all levels of government. HCCA is committed to providing flexible systems to enable our members to engage in health matters, and achieves this by ensuring that members can participate in person, electronically or over the phone, and at locations and times which are individually suitable.

The CRP has a reputation for providing strong, committed consumer representation. The CRP program is an important way for HCCA to achieve its objectives of achieving equity in health and ensuring equal opportunities and resources to enable all people to achieve their greatest health potential.


What is a consumer representative?


A consumer representative is a committee member whose role is specifically to voice a consumer perspective and take part in decision making processes on behalf of consumers (patients, carers and their families). Consumer representatives use their strong links with their community to represent a broad perspective, not just their own views. By taking on this role, consumer representatives empower their community to positively change the way health services for them are provided.

A consumer representative plays an important role in any committee. Consumers bring an essential and unique perspective - that of the people for whom the service is designed - and can contribute to better decision-making by providing a balance to the views of healthcare professionals, policy makers and business managers. (SOURCE: http://ourhealth.org.au/consumer-rep-support/overview-reps#.VaXiSvmqpBc)


Who are consumer representatives?


HCCA’s consumer representatives are volunteers who are passionate about partnering with health service providers to enable them to better serve the needs of consumers and our communities. Our representatives come from many different backgrounds. Some have had intensive experience of the hospital system, while others live with long term chronic diseases and conditions or have been a carer for someone who has. Our representatives choose to nominate for the particular opportunities which interest them, within the health system. We are all health care consumers and our lived experience qualifies us to contribute to improving the quality and safety of services.

HCCA is committed to endorsing consumer representatives who are from all walks of life, to enable health service providers to become aware of the diversity of consumer needs. Consumer representatives are expected and assisted to seek out and represent a broad range of consumer views, including vulnerable communities and people living with disadvantage. The CRP encourages consumer representatives to focus on health promotion in providing input in their work as consumer representatives.