Community advisory committees give consumers, carers and the community a voice in the running of public health services. These committees operate according to Department of Health (DoH) legislation and guidelines.
St Vincent’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC) was established in 2001 to provide an additional mechanism for consumer, carer and community input into the service we provide. The CAC advocates to the St Vincent’s Board on behalf of the community, consumers and carers.
The Consumer and Community Participation and Carer Recognition Plan has been developed and is reviewed annually to reflect the changing needs of the health service and our community. It aims to provide guidance to healthcare staff in achieving appropriate levels of consumer participation across the health service.
The plan is based on five objectives:
- Continue to strengthen the capacity of the Community Advisory Committee to fulfil its Charter.
- Increase workforce capacity to facilitate appropriate consumer participation.
- Increase opportunities for consumers, carers and community to participate in service planning, delivery and evaluation.
- Strengthen partnerships to foster participation.
- Meet and exceed the requirements of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards in relation to consumer participation.
Sarah Gray is a medical scientist who works full time in a large diagnostic pathology lab. She read about the St Vincent’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC) in a newsletter and thought it sounded like a good opportunity to have a say in how the health system operates.
“I really enjoy the meetings – I feel my contributions on the CAC are valued and it is very satisfying to see suggestions and observations acknowledged and acted on. I’ve also learnt so much about the way health systems work. I was given the opportunity to attend a quality and safety conference which really helped me fulfil my role on the committee. It has been a great learning experience.”
In May 2009 St Vincent’s began inviting current or past patients, family members and carers of friends to join our Consumer Register. Members of the Consumer Register will have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities from completing surveys, evaluating services, reviewing written information and participating in working groups.
To find out more about the Consumer Register or to apply to become a member of the Community Advisory Committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the CAC resource officer on (03) 9288 3940.