What is a consumer representative?
In health, a consumer representative is a community member who has taken up a formal, specific role, in partnership with a health service, to advocate on behalf of other consumers. Consumers can be involved in helping health services to plan, organise, deliver, monitor and evaluate their services.
Consumers have experience of health services, and through their training and networks, bring lived experience perspectives to the work of health service committees.
Consumer representation is one way that health organisations can ensure that their services are consumer-centred and meet the needs of the people who use them.
Benefits of involving consumers
Collaboration with consumers at an both the individual care and service level is part of person-centred care and can help to improve the safety and quality of health services.
Partnering with consumers is also a requirement of the Australian Standards for Quality And Safety in Healthcare.Further information about this can be found on the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare’s website.
Best practice for involving consumers
It’s important that the involvement of consumers in health services is well planned and supported. The Health Consumers Queensland’s A Guide for Health Staff Partnering with Consumers will give you a good idea of some of the things to think about and what best practice looks like. Staff at HCCA are always happy to advise on consumer participation. You can contact the consumer participation team at any time to discuss your questions.