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Health consumer group plays valuable role

1 October 2004

Health consumer group plays valuable role

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s consumer group is a forum for discussion and debate on the consumer perspective in the design and operation of Healthcare Services’ (the provider arm of the DHB) services and facilities.

“The group has achieved a great deal for people who use our services,” says the chief operating officer of Healthcare Services, Ray Lind.

The consumer group is comprised of twelve members of the community, along with two staff who meet monthly to provide comment on specific proposals such as new services, restructured services, new or modified facilities. The group is also asked to review new protocols and guidelines for the management of patients. They also propose possible changes to services that they believe will improve services to patients and their families.

In its annual report for the 2003/2004 year, the group highlights a number of issues that were discussed by the consumer group. The group has been active in the review of transport services between Napier Health Centre and Hawke’s Bay Hospital, particularly in voicing their concerns regarding the needs of a large elderly population in Greenmeadows/Taradale and of providing adequate shelter and signage for patrons of the service.

Customer services manager, Jacqui Eathorne, said it’s not always easy for those who work in health to see things from a patient’s perspective, and this is where the opinions and ideas from this diverse group were invaluable. “Over the past year the consumer group has constantly raised our awareness of issues for those with disabilities, including issues around accessibility of buildings and facilities.

“We recently held a consumer forum for a range of health interest groups, which was invaluable, as it provided an opportunity for us to hear from members of various community groups about issues they face when accessing health services in Hawke’s Bay,” Jacqui Eathorne said.

Members of the group in the 2003/2004 year included: Brenda Fine, Joanne Graham, Kim Halligan, Noeline Hudson, Phyllida Isles, Ray Metcalfe, Meria Mua, Kerri Nuku, Murray Orr, Maragret Percy, Mathilda Schorer, Deborah Scott, Joan Sye, Diane Taylor, Peggy van Asch, Ray Lind and Jacqui Eathorne.

Jacqui said the consumer group was looking for new members. “We have a number of members whose three-year term ends this year, so we’d like to hear from people with an interest in health who can spare a couple of hours a month,” she said. “We’re particularly keen to hear from those with experience of disability, mental illness, Maori or Pacific people and younger people.

Anyone interested in applying to become a member can contact Jacqui on (06) 878 1373, or by email to by 15 October 2004.


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