There is a lot of reform taking place at the moment in the area of primary health care and how this interacts with hospital and community care.
As the needs of Western Australian communities may differ from those of other regions, it is essential that the voice of WA is heard in this reform work. There are several opportunities for WA consumers to participate in this important work, including watching a replay of a recent community briefing by the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) on the Medicare Taskforce report or registering for the upcoming session to inform their feedback on the report, which will be held on March 22.
Register for the next WA HCC Consumer Rep Networking session on 31 March where we will have the chance to hear directly from the CHF Chief Exec, Elizabeth Deveny, on this work and the implications for WA https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/556402614197
In early February 2023, the Federal Government released the “Strengthening Medicare Taskforce” report – Elizabeth Deveny, CEO of the national Consumers Health Forum (CHF) was the consumer voice at that table. Learne Durrington, CEO of the WA Primary Health Alliance was also at the table, representing Primary Health Networks.
Last week, 3 February, CHF held a community briefing session on the report. You can watch the recording of that webinar here.
CHF will also be holding another session on 22 March (2:30 pm AEDT) to inform their input to the next stage of this process. If this is an area of interest to you, we encourage you to register here: a pre budget follow up webinar to talk about the key messages for consumers that CHF want to promote to decision-makers and the wider community.
On 31 March (10 am – 12 pm AWST), HCC will be hosting the first of our consumer representative networking sessions for 2023. We’re delighted to advise you that Elizabeth Deveny from Consumers Health Forum in Canberra will be joining us virtually at that session so we’ll have a chance to explore the implications for WA with her directly. Register here.
HCC Executive Director – 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) Address
delivered 6 December 2022
It’s a privilege to have joined HCC in April this year (2022). HCC is an organisation with a strong voice built on experience, knowledge, and a proven commitment to really listening.
We are expert at creating space and conditions for people to be share experience and perspectives. We identify and act on opportunities to emphasise what we hear and learn, to influence decisions by government and health services, and create conditions for positive change.
We gained 14 new members in 2021/22, growing the HCC community of people involved in creating positive change to nearly 250, with more individuals and organisations joining each month.
In the coming year, we want to do more of what we know makes a difference to people’s lives. However, we operate in an environment where government funding to the community services sector has not kept up with wages growth and cost of operation increases. This is a hard ask. As such, we are making concerted efforts to grow and diversify our funding sources:
Providing consumer engagement expertise through projects and consultancy paid on a for-service basis.
Application to government proposing funding for expanded advocacy to reach more people who have prover health outcomes – we’re hopeful but competing with many other challenges for a finite bucket of money.
Expanding our consulting to new markets like aged care and disability services that are seeking to engage with consumers effectively and authentically.
Continuing to refine the information we collect and report to demonstrate our value and impact, which is challenging when our value is so clearly linked to relationships more than transactions and therefore much harder to measure and count. But we’re committed to keep trying.
When I started here, a statement in HCC’s strategic plan struck a chord – “learning as we go.”
Such simple words, yet so frequently they strike fear into the hearts of policymakers and funders. So, then nothing is implemented until it’s fully proven, and with governance frameworks and project schedules clearly aligned and articulated. Creativity, innovation, and consumer voice stifled by bureaucratic process, leading to “faux design” rather than co- design.
I feel like there’s a change afoot. The commitments of key reforms like SHR, of which my predecessor Pip Brennan was a driving force of consumer voice, recognise that what’s gone before isn’t working and it’s time for something new.
Doing new and different things requires a commitment to trying, learning, refining, doing, and learning, trying, and doing some more. At HCC we are small enough to be agile, responsive, and innovative while robust enough to be credible, reliable, and respected. These are the qualities that will see HCC step forward with confidence into 2023.
Suzanna Robertson | Executive Director, December 2022