Our Consumer Advisory Committee advises our organisation to help guide how we develop and deliver services and supports. They also pick the theme of our Quality Account and Annual Report each year. This year they chose the theme ‘accessible’ – one of the four strategic goals in our Strategic Directions 2017-2021. They felt this reflected a major focus of their work in the past year.
Here they share some of their observations on the year.
Highlight of the year
Norma: Attending Your Community Health’s LGBTIQ community meeting was very, very good and I’m pleased that an advisory group for this community is getting up and running. It was great to meet all these really dynamic people at that meeting and I look forward to seeing how things progress. I’m pleased Your Community Health has decided to go for the Rainbow Tick.
David: My highlight was attending the North West Consumer and Carer Networking Event as a Your Community Health Consumer Advisory Committee member. The afternoon session was a ‘market place of ideas’ where you could be a part of table discussions around topics. I was a part of three different table discussions.
Julie: For me, my highlight has been observing a maturation of the discussions that occur at the meetings. Since being an inaugural representative on the committee, I have seen committee members, including myself grow in confidence to raise issues, provide input and comment and volunteer when available to attend out of meeting sessions or learning events. The committee is engaging more with different programme areas of Your Community Health, for example when we had the visitor from the dental program and a very enlightening and engaging discussion about their work.
Bruce: I am proud of getting sensor lights in the toilets because that was a trap waiting to happen. It makes it much easier for all people now.
Tony: I am proud to support other people in the community and people with disabilities to get services they can use.
David: Just seeing some of the changes at Your Community Health that seem to reflect the discussions and suggestions of the committee, such as improving the amenity of the waiting areas. This tells me that committee is being effective.
Steps to improve accessibility
Nikayla: The Consumer Advisory Committee helps ensure accessibility improvements by suggesting improvements to infrastructure and spaces. I enjoy how each member brings individual knowledge from personal experiences giving a voice for the diverse community. However I have also learnt about limitations to community members accessing some public services. All this may mean that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and community could choose to go elsewhere and it can discourage their participation in Your Community Health programs and services. So we are working with Your Community Health to improve family centred approaches and culturally responsive services, as opposed to the western emphasis on applying assessment to and having client relationships with individuals in isolation to their family and community.
Tony: The suggestions we have made make it easier for people to get and use services, for example being able to make appointments on the website makes it easier for deaf people.
Norma: In our meetings we have looked at and discussed the disability access audit report and the action plan that has come out of that. Full implementation of this is really important to us, so the committee has made this a standing agenda item, we look at this every meeting and can track how our suggestions have been worked on in our action list.
Bruce: I look forward to helping plan how Your Community Health re-does the garden and Men’s Shed out the back of the East Reservoir health centre and using the courtyard better, for example as a waiting area. Also, being involved in the access audits and being able to go around with the auditors, because we have personal knowledge and experience of the centre – which door handle you can’t open, little things like that.
Nikayla: I look forward to being a voice for community, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, members of the LGBTIQ+ community and young people. And ensuring spaces and services are culturally safe and accessible.
Julie: I am looking forward to hearing more about the different programmes and modalities of care offered by Your Community Health. I think having the updates at the meeting has helped committee members and the presenters to have a shared understanding of the service.
You can read this article and more about how we are making services more accessible in the Quality Account and Annual Report 2018-2019.