HCCA recognises the importance of creating supportive environments so that consumers can be involved to help shape services to meet our needs. Consumer representatives work closely with HCCA staff to ensure we have effective community involvement in setting health planning priorities, and infrastructure. Our vision is that all health and community buildings are designed to facilitate, person centered care, and are sensitive and respectful of cultural needs of our community. We work to open channels between the health sector and physical environment components.


Between 2009 and 30 June 2016 the ACT Government funded HCCA to provide consumer input into infrastructure projects. Our involvement in the infrastructure program and partnership with Government is unique to the ACT, we have found no other equivalent in Australia and consider this to be the best practice model for consumer involvement and advocacy in health infrastructure and service design.


Consumer Representative Engagement in Health Infrastructure

Consumer representatives are involved in various ways throughout the planning processes of new health facilities rolled out by ACT Health. Engagement varies from focus groups and facilitated community consultation, to involvement and feedback in health design, including reviewing plans and prototypes. The most prominent form of engagement for consumer representatives is through committees and user groups.

User groups are the main form of consumer representative engagement within infrastructure projects. User groups allow stakeholders to provide their point of view within the planning process. The consumer representative is there to provide a consumer perspective in the planning and design of new health facilities. This involvement can vary from building layout, signage and wayfinding to how the services will be delivered.

Consumer Representative Support in Health Infrastructure

Consumer representatives that are involved in infrastructure projects are not only supported by HCCA staff but also other consumer representatives. One of the main support mechanisms is a monthly consumer representative meeting, where consumer representatives that are involved in HIP  attend, share information and ask each other questions about the projects. This also provides an update on all projects  and any important changes.


HCCA consumer representatives are provided with information relating to health design and how this can improve the outcomes for consumers. This allows consumer representatives to not only talk from their own experiences and the experience of others, but also provide evidence based design examples to support their input.

Other sources of information consumer representatives have access to are information sessions on past, current and new projects, and carry these learnings into their work locally and around Australia. The information sessions provided an insight to other projects that not all consumer representatives are involved in. It also means that the HCCA representatives can be informed of past successes and failures.

Community Consultation in Health Infrastructure

Community consultation is an integral part to planning new services. It achieves and improves the design and efficiency of health facilities and services to meet the unique characteristics of our community.

The public consultation processes provides a platform for the community to both be informed of new projects being rolled out by the ACT Government and also provide feedback and thoughts on how these projects can be improved to better health services in the ACT.

HCCA provides a range of community consultations for many projects rolled out by ACT Health. Some of the key consultations HCCA has held are:


  • Planning of the new University of Canberra Public Hospital for both the design of the facility as well as the model of care
  • Community Health Centres, this includes Gungahlin, Belconnen and the renovation of the Tuggeranong Community Health Centre
  • Cancer Centre at the Canberra Hospital 
  • Changes around the Canberra Hospital with ward upgrades and the Emergency Department extension.


These consultation sessions not only inform and improve the design of health facilities in the ACT, they also inform the public on what is happening in their community and allow for public participation in their health care services. This allows for improved community knowledge of health services in the ACT.



Health Infrastructure Projects in the ACT History


In 2016, HCCA released a report on that compiled the history of consumer involvement in health infrastructure projects in the ACT from 2009 - 2016. To read the full report, please click on the file below:


Please see the form below to nominate for a committee. Each question relates to one or more selection critiera. Please read the selection criteria and the guiding questions in the boxes below before you write your answer. 



Your nomination form will not be assessed on your writing skills. The information in your answer is much more important than how you say it. Please don’t hesitate to contact the office if you have any questions or concerns about nominating for a committee.


For further guidance on how to complete the nomination form, please see here: 

Committee Nomination Form Guide
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For Frequently Asked Questions about the nomination process, please see here:

Committee Nominations FAQ
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To view the Selection Criteria, please see here:  

Selection Criteria for Committee Endorsements
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Committee Nomination Form
  1. Name(Required)
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  2. Address
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  3. Email address(Required)
    Please enter a valid email address.
  4. Name of Committee(Required)
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  5. What experience of health services or interest do you have in the area of health related to this committee? (Required)
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  6. What do you think the consumer issues are in the area of health related to this committee?(Required)
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  7. How would you ensure that the consumer perspective you would bring to this committee reflected broad and accurate consumer viewpoints and experiences, and not simply your own views? (Required)
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  8. Are you able to work collaboratively with a range of people with different viewpoints, including consumers and service providers? Please provide an example of when you have done this.(Required)
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  9. Can you provide an example of when you used your oral communication and negotiation skills to effectively contribute to a discussion? (Required)
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  10. Have you received consumer representative training delivered by HCCA or another consumer organisation? (Required)
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  11. If you answered yes to the previous question, which organisation did you receive training from and in approximately what year did you complete the training?
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  12. Are you a financial member of HCCA? (Required)
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The HCCA staff team are here to support you to be an effective advocate for consumers. HCCA provides its members with continuous access to information and resources, learning opportunities.


Joining a Network of Consumer Representatives

As an HCCA consumer representative, you will be joining a network of people committed to improving the quality and safety of health services and will help you to represent a broad consumer perspective. We all have experiences of the health system and it is important we come together regularly to share those experiences so we can better understand the health needs of our community.

All consumer representatives are invited to attend our quarterly Consumer Representative Forums where we discuss issues that have arisen from committees, bring in speakers who can encourage consumer representatives to broaden their perspective and support each other in breaking down barriers to consumer participation.

HCCA also maintains Consumer Reference Groups for members of our community with an interest in a certain area of health. These include eHealth, Aged Care, Quality and Safety and Maternity Services. These groups connect consumer representatives who have an interest and experience in a particular area of health, and are drawn upon as a resource when issues come up in that particular area.


One on one support


New consumer representatives will have the opportunity to have an experienced consumer representative as their mentor. The mentor may attend meetings with the new consumer representative and will assist them to understand their role and the consumer issues that will arise from their committee.

HCCA staff are always available for in-person meetings, and over the phone support, advice and debriefing for any consumer representative who needs assistance with any matter related to their representative work.


Ongoing Training and Educational Opportunities


 HCCA provides ongoing training to our consumer representatives to ensure they are effective advocates on their committees. There are formal workshops such as Using Personal Stories to bring about systemic change, as well as regular Health Issues Groups. Through ongoing education and support in their role, the CRP increases health literacy for consumers and their networks.

HCCA consumer representatives have the opportunity to apply for sponsorship to attend conferences relevant to their committee work. HCCA sponsorship includes the cost of registration, travel, accommodation and meal expenses if the conference is interstate. For more information, please see here.

The CRP team strive to ensure our consumer representatives are kept up to date with the latest health information and research. Our fortnightly newsletter, Consumer Bites, is a great way to keep informed.




The Consumers Health Forum of Australia also has a range of materials to support consumer representative and these are available on their website.



Experienced HCCA Consumer Representative, Russell McGowan, has created some guidelines for representatives which can downloaded below.  Thanks to Janne Graham for her input.


Russell's Rules for Reps
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Tips for Introducing Yourself for Consumer Reps
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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.