How can I get involved?
There are lots of ways to get involved in what we do depending your interests and how much time you have. You don’t have to jump straight in to being a consumer representative, you can start by signing up for our newsletter, Consumer Bites, coming to one of our events or consultation forums, or joining one of our Consumer Reference Groups.
Signing up for our newsletter is the best way to find out about all the options for you to get involved and what events or forums are coming up.
Our fortnightly electronic newsletter, Consumer Bites, lets you know about local health events and opportunities for consumer engagement and feedback in the ACT and at the national level. If you would like to receive Consumer Bites, you can sign up on this page.
What is a consumer representative?
A consumer representative is a person whose role is specifically to give a consumer perspective to a committee, group or other forum, on behalf of all consumers (patients, carers, and their families). Consumer representatives provide a broad consumer perspective, not just their own views, to help create systemic change in health care. They help to ensure health care systems are safe, high quality and person-centred.
Who are consumer representatives?
HCCA’s consumer representatives are a group of volunteers who are passionate about improving health services to better serve the needs of consumers and our communities. They have been through a training and selection process to be able to represent a consumer perspective in different health care projects. Consumer representatives come from many different backgrounds. Every one of us is a consumer, and our lived experience qualifies us to contribute to improving the quality and safety of services.
How to become a consumer representative?
HCCA is always looking for new consumer representatives. If you are interested in helping to improve our health system for all, please contact us to chat more about your interest and experience. Please note all HCCA consumer representatives must be members of HCCA and completed a health consumer participation training (either through HCCA or another consumer organisation).
Consumer opportunities are advertised in our newsletter, Consumer Bites, in our members-only Consumer Opportunities Newsletter, and on our website.
Consumer Reference Groups
HCCA’s consumer reference groups are a way for HCCA members to guide our work on topics of interest.
Health of Older People Consumer Reference Group
The Health of Older People Consumer Reference Group (HOPCRG) aims to:
- inform the ACT Health Directorate, Canberra Health Services and Capital Health Network about the needs of older health care consumers,
- foster relationships between consumers and health service providers, and
- provide a reference point for the development of consumer-centred care, particularly around the needs and experiences of older people.
The Health of Older People Consumer Reference Group prompted the research we did into home-based palliative care and informed the following HCCA submissions:
- Inquiry into End of Life Choices and Palliative Care in the ACT
- Single Charter of Aged Care Rights
- Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia
- Consultation on patient safety and quality improvement in primary care
- Submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety
Quality and Safety Consumer Reference Group
The Quality and Safety Consumer Reference Group aims to:
- raise consumer issues around the quality and safety of health services and
- work collaboratively with ACT Health to address these issues
- Contribute to processes to support accreditation of publicly funded health services in the ACT
It was established to support consumer representatives on National Safety and Quality Health Services Standards committees.
The Group was also instrumental in providing consumer perspective on the Review of the Charter of Healthcare Rights.
Accessibility and Design Consumer Reference Group
The Accessibility and Design Consumer Reference Group focuses on the consumer experience of access to and the design of health services. It aims to:
- raise consumer issues relating to accessibility and design of all health services in the ACT and region, and
- work collaboratively with health services to address these issues.
The Group has an ongoing arrangement with the various areas responsible for access and design within the ACT Health Directorate and Canberra Health Services. For instance, the Group reviews nominated areas of the health website and provides feedback for improvement. The group’s work has also led to planned improvements to external, internal and parking signs.