Inaugural advisory councils to shape health services

Community members are taking a seat at the decision-making table at West Moreton Health to make sure services directly respond to the health priorities of those who come to us for care.  

Two inaugural advisory councils – the Youth Advisory Council and the Consumer and Community Advisory Council – have launched to help achieve our vision for a thriving West Moreton community in which people experience the best possible health and wellbeing. 

Consumer and Community Advisory Council member Belinda Barrie said it was important for people's voice to be heard. 

“As a consumer and as a carer, being a council member is important to me so that we have the ability to speak up on behalf of the people sitting beside the consumers (carers), and find a way of incorporating their skills and knowledge into our health services and the community.” 

West Moreton Health Chief Executive Dr Kerrie Freeman said the input from the community was crucial to making well-informed decisions about improving access to care and the way that care is delivered. 

“Our staff have a proud tradition of caring for people in their time of need and we want to expand on that tradition by continuing to listen to the community about what they need from us as a health service,” Dr Freeman said. 

“We want the community we serve to have a say, and we know they will tell us when we get it right and what we need to do better”. 

The Youth Advisory Council is made up of 10 young people living across the region aged between 16 to 30 years while the Consumer and Community Advisory Council has 11 members representing a broad cross-section of health, social and geographical representative areas.  

The two groups include people living with mental illness and chronic conditions, youth residing in detention centres, carers of people with a life-limiting illness or complex care needs, as well as people who represent a diverse range of our community including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) community members. 

The establishment of the two advisory councils was an outcome of a co-design process with the previous Community Reference Groups that operated since 2014 to engage consumers and community in decisions about health care services. This is the first time a consumer council has been set up specifically to inform and guide how the health service improves the care we provide. 

Youth Advisory Council members said the health needs of younger people mattered. 

“This council will be a channel for young people to have a voice and be heard and to make a real change and difference,” a council member said. 

Board Chair Michael Willis thanked the new members for their role improving health services in West Moreton. 

“West Moreton is home to hugely diverse communities so genuine consumer and community input at West Moreton Health takes a diversity of views,” Mr Willis said. 

“That is why we are so delighted to see the diversity of our communities well represented in these two councils. 

“When consumers and community members share their stories, it allows the Board and Executive to see the health system through their eyes and to ask ourselves the question ‘do our services meet their needs?’” 

Mr Willis also thanked Health Consumers Queensland, which champions the voice of consumers, for supporting the formation of the inaugural councils. 

The councils will meet regularly to share ideas for improvement, offer feedback on service planning, processes and initiatives and help share information with their wider networks.