While staff are experts in their field of knowledge, the community are experts about what is important to them.
Fiona Brew, Executive Director of Innovation and Performance, explained that GV Health consumer and carer representatives provide vital input into planning as they participate in a wide variety of roles throughout the organisation.
"Consumers and carers have very powerful voices, they provide opinions, new ideas and participate on a variety of committees to support planning for the future.
“Being a consumer representative is a different and rewarding way of volunteering.
“Consumer representatives receive training and support to enable them to be actively involved in the planning of our services," said Fiona.
If you are interested in becoming a consumer representative at GV Health, please contact Margo Koskelainen (03) 5832 2701.
Meet Elizabeth Perry, consumer representative
Why did you decide to become a consumer representative?
I originally became a representative about 28 years ago when I joined the consumer committee at the GV Health Waranga Campus in Rushworth. At that time, it was called the Waranga Memorial Hospital, which had an independent Board of Management. I am still involved in the Waranga committee. For several years I have also been involved with the GV Health Community Advisory Committee (CAC) in Shepparton.
I initially wanted to be involved to ensure that there would be ongoing and improving health facilities for the Rushworth and district residents and, in particular, for my children.
Over the following years, I became familiar with GV Health, Shepparton, through inpatient experiences, either my own or those of my family and friends. I joined the Consumer Advisory Committee so that I could contribute to achieving best outcomes for GV Health consumers.
Today, I am privileged to work with professionals across the whole GV Health organisation through my involvement with both the Waranga and Shepparton committees.
Tell us a bit about your role and what you do?
My role is to bring ideas to the organisation from a community perspective and to work with management to achieve best outcomes.
At Waranga, I have worked closely with the local Director of Nursing, working towards improving local services and ensuring that community members are aware of the services and how to access them. My major focus has been working with senior GV Health Management and Members of Parliament in a bid to obtain funding for major infrastructure at the campus.
In Shepparton, and in relation to the National Standards, I have been involved in the Deteriorating Patient Committee, which was formed to address Standard 9. This has been particularly interesting, with all possible steps being taken to protect patients from clinical deterioration.
My involvement in the development of the ‘Partnerships with Patients’ concept ensures that patients and their families will now feel confident to speak up if they are concerned about the health condition of a patient and ultimately ensure timely medical intervention.
How do you feel about the feedback you are able to provide to staff?
It is important that staff see consumer involvement as ‘a positive’ and that collaboration is seen as beneficial for the organisation. Acknowledging positive outcomes and working to resolve issues raised, encouragement and constructive feedback are all vital in maintaining a positive working relationship between consumers and staff. I see myself as a link in the chain, which provides healthcare to the community in our local catchment.