Consumer representative is the term we use to describe people who support us by providing a patient, carer and community perspective in decision-making, service planning and improvement. 

They are people who currently use our health services (patients, consumers and their carers and families) and community members who may need to in the future. 

Areas where our consumer representatives often help us include:

  • feveloping patient information, such as brochures
  • planning improvements and changes in how we provide services
  • being part of our discussions on quality, safety and patient experience
  • helping with staff and volunteer training and recruitment

How can you be involved?

As a consumer representative you may get involved by:

  • completing interviews or surveys
  • sharing your ‘patient story’ – your experience of being in the hospital
  • attending our annual Community Board Meeting
  • participating in focus groups
  • assisting with gathering patient feedback or audits of quality measures
  • joining a working group or a committee (these are often monthly meetings)
  • joining the Community Advisory Committee

Below are some examples of how consumer representatives have had an impact on what do.

Consumer representatives are active on more than 30 Melbourne Health committees. They also participate in incident review discussions and some project working groups.

AreaImpact
OutpatientsConsumer representatives worked with staff to design the new electronic check-in machines that patients use when they arrive for an appointment
Allied HealthPast patients have been invited to be part of interview panels for new staff. They have helped to provide their own perspective on the recruitment process – and have a say in what the allied health team who provide their care in future will look like
PharmacyRan a focus group with current and past patients asking for feedback on the information given to patients at discharge about their medications. We are making many changes to the information and how it is provided based on what was heard

Patient stories are told in many meetings here at The RMH. These help us remember what it is like to be a patient in hospital and reflect on both the good and bad experiences that patients have while in our care. There are many examples where having a patient share their own story has been a great opportunity for us to think about opportunities for improvement.

How to become a consumer or carer representative

Complete the consumer representative expression of interest application form or contact Consumer Participation for more information.

As a Consumer Representative we ask that you complete mandatory training, a police check and a confidentiality agreement. This will be arranged with you by the Community Engagement Manager. Participation is voluntary and you can choose to exit the program at any time.

Read the Information Pack for Community Advisory Committee Members.

Why be involved?

Being a consumer or carer representative can give you the opportunity to be part of a healthcare team and help to improve the services we provide.

To support you in this role we will provide you with regular updates such as:

  • opportunities to be involved as a consumer representative
  • training and education relevant to your role
  • opportunities to meet with other consumer representatives for networking and support
  • newsletters and publications about Melbourne Health activities and programs

Why do we value partnership with consumers and carers?

Consumer representatives are important to us in keeping the perspective of the patient and their carer and family central to what we do and helping us to see things from a different perspective. We need to know what is important to our community in order to help make Melbourne Health a health service that meets your needs.

Evidence shows us that this partnership can deliver improved health outcomes for patients including reduced chance of re-admission and hospital acquired infection and level of function for patients and improved delivery of preventive health care.

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