The Victorian Government has a policy on consumer, carer and community participation in the Victorian healthcare system.
Consumer, carer and community participation
The Department of Health & Human Services supports a range of initiatives that promote and support consumer involvement in:
- Decision making about their own treatment and care
- service development and quality improvement
- health policy developments.
The department has developed the Doing it with us not for us policy. This includes a number of participation performance standards and indicators for health services accommodating a range of measurement tools and reporting mechanisms.
- Doing it with us not for us: Strategic direction 2010-13 is the Victorian Government’s policy on consumer, carer and community participation in the healthcare system. Since the policy’s launch in 2006, its success has been well documented in health services’ quality of care reports to their communities. Participation remains highly valued as: an aid to improve health outcomes and the quality of healthcare; an important democratic right; and an accountability mechanism.
- A summative evaluation of the Doing it with us not for us: Strategic direction 2010-13 along with the Cultural responsiveness framework: Guidelines for Victorian health services was completed in 2014. This includes four reports that look at the impact of these participation policies and activities across the Department of Health and Human Services.
- The Background report on participation standards and indicators provides recommended consumer, carer and community participation standards and associated indicators. A number of sub-measures are included to guide health services in achieving the relevant standard. The Health Issues Centre developed this suite of standards in collaboration with a project reference group.
Consumer participation and information program
There are also a number of independent organisations that play a part in forging partnerships between health services and health consumers. These include the following.
The Health Issues Centre was set up in 1983 to be the consumer voice in health for Victorians and fosters meaningful partnerships between consumers of health services and the Victorian health sector. The centre provides training and support to health services and health-related organisations. It seeks to influence government health policy by providing a health consumer perspective for improvements to the health system.
The Centre for Health Communication and Participation (CHCP) at La Trobe University was set up in 2009 to improve health communication with and participation by health consumers and carers through evidence-informed policy and decision making.
Cochrane is a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health. Its contributors and groups are based all around the world and the majority of its work is carried out online. Cochrane’s vision is a world of improved health where decisions about health and healthcare are informed by high-quality, relevant and up-to-date synthesised research evidence.
Where to find consumers carers and community members
Finding consumers and carers: A guide to sourcing consumer, carer and community members for collaborative health service improvement. The purpose of this guide is to assist health services to involve consumers to participate in collaborative quality and safety activities for health service improvement. The guide is essentially a listing of consumer organisations that are interested in working with health services to improve the quality and safety of healthcare.
Consumer participation in the department
Consumers, carers and community members considering joining a Department of Health & Human Services committee or participating in a consultation should read and consider the information provided in the frequently asked questions (FAQ) sheet.
Department of Health & Human Services staff use the Consumer request form to request a consumer, carer or community member from the Health Issues Centre’s Consumers Step Up Program to join a departmental committee or to participate in a consultation.