HCA has now completed its work creating a set of guidelines for the participation of consumers in health in South Australia.
The task of consulting with a diverse range of consumers and groups has now been completed with the release of the 12 guidelines which HCA believes should be in place for any consumer and community participation in health in South Australia.
Comments on a background discussion paper prepared by HCA were gathered and collated following a series of forums with consumers and consumer organisations held during February 2008. A set of draft guidelines was then developed for consideration by representatives from specific disadvantaged population groups including the youth, aboriginal and homeless sectors. This second consultation process provided especially valuable insight into both the content of the guidelines and helped create the format in which they are now presented. Consumers were clear that the guidelines needed to written very simply. They needed to be brief, easy to refer to and able to be presented on a single page. The possibility now exists for these guidelines to be visually adapted for specific groups and translated into different languages where desirable.
Consumers and consumer groups are welcome to use the guidelines as required.
- Participation means the right to be involved in decision making processes. South Australians want a variety of opportunities to participate in health which go beyond surveys or the consumer representative approach.
- Consumers are individuals, groups or communities who may receive health care services. Carers have a special role in participating in the health care of others and may have special needs themselves.
- Consumers expect their voice to be listened to and their views respected. When this happens consumers will see actions and changes as a result of their participation.
- Consumer input into any health decisions, large or small, should be automatic.
- Encouragement and recognition of consumer participants is vital. For this to happen participants require clear and honest communication.
- Participation activities need to be reviewed to assess if they are effective.
- The costs of participation need to be funded. Consumers need payment for the time and costs when participating on Government committees.
- Consumers want a broad definition of health. Health is about wellbeing not just illness, it is about the whole person not just a disease. Healthy environments, access to transport and the dentist are just as essential for good health as hospitals.
- Health inequality is of real concern to consumers. They understand the links between inequality in society and inequality in health. Disadvantaged groups need to be reached out to encourage their participation.
- Health care should be easily available for all regardless of where you live, your income, gender, race or age.
- Health information needs to be plainly written so it can be understood by all.
- The use of technology should not be a barrier to consumers who want to participate in decision making processes.