What do consumer representatives do with health services?

Find out what common terms are used and what they mean.

What do consumer representatives do with health services?

Find out what common terms are used and what they mean.

Health consumers in NSW have participated in a wide range of activities with health services. As consumer participation grows across Australia, health services these activities will undoubtedly also grow.

The list below provides a number of examples of how health consumers have contributed to health service decision making and improving consumer-centred care.

The activities or roles towards the end of the list are examples of roles performed by the most experienced consumer representatives and are often paid positions.

 

Participating in forums and focus groups These are often one-off events, focused on a small set of issues and many consumers may be involved.
Committee roles with staff and clinicians A very common role for consumers where one or two consumer members are appointed to a committee to bring the consumer perspective to the work and decision making of the committee (for example a Safety and Quality Committee for a hospital)
Committee roles with other consumers A committee or advisory group of consumer representatives. The group will have a ‘terms of reference’ (defined role and responsibilities) and be responsible for providing the community and consumer perspective to a health facility, health service or region. Sometimes the members are nominated by various consumer organisations to represent a network of consumers.
Administering patient/client feedback surveys or service evaluations Consumers are effective at interviewing and surveying other consumers in a non-threatening way for service evaluations.
Advising on information designed for consumers It is important that written or visual information aimed at consumers is developed and tested with consumers.
Commenting on health service policy and strategic plans Consumers working with health services in a variety of ways can be invited to contribute to policy and planning.
Planning and facilitating community forums Consumer representatives can use local knowledge to help plan and run community engagement.
Community outreach Consumers are often engaging speakers for community groups on health issues and can speak with community members at expos or community days.
Participating in planning and project workshops with staff and management Involving consumer representatives in workshops with staff ensures the consumer perspective is taken into account in project and strategic planning.
Training staff and clinicians Consumers have made powerful contributions as trainers at many health services across NSW, sharing the consumer perspective through their own experiences.
Presenting at conferences and seminars Consumer representatives working as partners with a health service are strong advocates and also are very capable of presenting the outcomes of engagement programs.
Peer worker In mental health, particular peer workers are people with a lived experience of mental illness who are employed to work with and support clients living with mental illness.
Consumer consultant A paid position bringing a professional level of consumer advice and leadership to a health service.
Consumer director on health service boards Board director position on a skills based board with the skill of ‘consumer’. Not merely a ‘community representative’, a consumer director is a very highly experienced and skilled consumer representative with the professional skills to perform at board level.