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
How does the way the WA Health system is managed impact consumers, carers and the community?
The Health Services Act 2016 introduced a new governance structure (how the health system is run and managed) to the WA Health system. The East, North, South, Country and Child and Adolescent Health Services (HSPs) as well as PathWest were created. An Independent Review into that governance structure started in April 2022.
Day Two began with a Welcome to Country from Olman Walley, prior to the Aboriginal Patient Experience Panel. Panellists included WA Health’s Wendy Casey who is Director of Aboriginal Health Policy Directorate, Michelle Nelson-Cox, Chair of the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, Consumer Miranda Farmer and General Practitioner and Professor Paula Edgill. The panel was chaired by Glenn Pearson, Head of Aboriginal Research at Telethon Kids Institute. It was an interesting blend of the viewpoints of Government, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector, a frontline GP and an Aboriginal woman whose story highlights there is still some way to go.
Author Talk – Kate Ryder
Kate Ryder has written a book called An Insider’s Guide into Getting the Best out of the Health System. Kate is a Registered Nurse who lives and works in NSW. Her book was launched in early 2016 and covers many useful topics to support health consumers to have a safe health experience. You can find out more about her book here.
Lunch Box Session – Involving Consumers in Organisational Governance
HCC’s Pip Brennan, Steph Newell and Louise Ford facilitated this interactive session which reflects the importance of involving consumers at every level of the health service. Key definitions of governance were considered, and the fact that our National Safety and Quality in Health Service Standards one on governance, and two on partnering with consumers underpin all other standards. The audience was asked to provide examples of how consumer partnerships within the governance levels of organisations are occurring or can be planned to be strengthened. The session closed with key points to consider when involving culturally and linguistically diverse consumers in health service governance.
Panel Discussion – Measuring the Patient Experience
The Final Patient Experience Week panel discussion was on the key topic of how you measure the patient experience. Panellists, from left to right were; Lorraine Powell – Consumer, Karen Lennon – WA Health, Candice Patterson – WA Health, Melissa Vernon – WA Health Country Services, Todd Gogol – WA Health Royal Perth Hospital, Petrina Lawrence – Consumer and Carer, Learne Durrington – WA Primary Health Alliance, Anne Williams – Murdoch University. Missing from the picture is Patient Opinion’s Michael Greco who spoke during the discussion but had to leave to catch a plane. The panel discussion was filmed by West Link TV and includes final comments by Majok Wutchok.
Westlink is available to country viewers who receive their Free to Air TV via satellite on Channel 602 on the VAST service. The debate will air on Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays at 10.30 and 3pm on these dates: June 6,8,11,13,15,18,20,22,25,27,29.
Health Consumers Council Excellence Awards
Patient Experience Week events concluded with our Excellence Awards. For all the details about the winners and nominees, see this page.