Healthcare consumer representatives from Counties Manukau, Auckland and Waitemata District Health Boards gathered at the Wesley Centre in Mt Roskill for the Regional Consumer Rep Forum on Friday 11th March.
The Forum was part of Patient Experience Week, a programme of events held between the 7th and 11th of March that focusses on patients, whaanau (family) and staff working together to improve services and care delivery.
About 50 consumers attended the event, as well as staff from each district health board (DHB).
“We had a very diverse group, but one thing they all had in common was lived experience as a patient or whaanau member at one of our DHBs,” said Renee Greaves, one of the event organisers of Patient Experience Week.
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“The Forum was an opportunity to bring together consumers who are currently working with our DHBs or would like to engage with us. It helped them to get a better understanding of what’s happening in the healthcare sector and how they can help to shape that. It also enabled consumers to network with others who are interested in becoming consumer reps or are already working alongside DHBs.”
The Forum offered four workshops, which focussed on finding out how DHBs work and how consumers can contribute. The four topics covered were:
• Understanding the health and disability system in New Zealand
• The role of the consumer representative and how to make sure you’re heard
• How do we involve a greater diversity of the community in DHB decisions?
• The role of consumer representatives in relation to communicating and engaging with the community.
An experienced consumer representative led each workshop, and people chose which session they wanted to participate in.
“There was great engagement. People were keen to share opinions, suggestions and thoughts. And they all want to be linked up in a network so it doesn’t stop just with the one day. The next step for us is to see who would like to be part of that and what they’d like us to do to enable a network for them,” said Ms Greaves.
“There were lots of key points and takeaway notes for the DHBs. We got feedback about what the consumers felt was important and the barriers to engagement. For Counties Manukau Health, the key lessons were about how to make sure we include hard-to-reach populations in our consumer engagement and how to build and manage relationships as we increase the number of people we’re working with.”
The three DHBs will hold a regional meeting to understand key themes from the Forum. Information will be fed back to each DHB’s patient experience team to work out the best way forward as a region and for each DHB individually.