Consumer representatives: Michelle Banfield, Sue Andrews, Eleanor Kerdo and Fiona Tito Wheatland

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.

Health Infrastructure Resources

Health Infrastructure Acronyms and Glossary (PDF) – this document was developed by HCCA for consumer representatives participating in ACT health infrastructure projects to help them understand frequently used acronyms and terms related to planning, design and construction of health infrastructure.

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:

Consumer involvement in health infrastructure projects in the ACT 2009-2016 PDF

Canberra Hospital Expansion Project

In November 2020, HCCA ran a series of focus groups, in partnership with Major Projects Canberra and Multiplex, to hear from consumers and consumer organisations about what the building design elements are that improve consumer’s experience of health care. This consumer input will feed into the design work currently being done on the new Critical Services Building on the Canberra Hospital campus as part of the Canberra Hospital Expansion Project. You can read the final report here: Canberra Hospital Critical Services Building consumer focus group report(pdf).

Last updated: 23/6/2021