Listening is first step on path to improving health system

Press Release – West Coast DHB

Listening to patients experiences to determine how to improve the health system is the aim of two consumer representatives on West Coast District Health Boards Clinical Board.
MEDIA RELEASE
23 May 2013
Listening is first step on path to improving health system

Listening to patients’ experiences to determine how to improve the health system is the aim of two consumer representatives on West Coast District Health Board’s Clinical Board.

Robyn Moore, consumer representative on the board from Greymouth, has a background in nursing and has been a patient herself both on the West Coast and in Canterbury. She says the way to improve patient safety and quality of care is to monitor what people are saying.

“Obviously there will be people that haven’t had a great experience or something has gone wrong and that is for me to listen to and take it along to the Clinical Board to listen and improve the system to make it work better,” she says.

Recently Robyn met a man at his workplace to hear his story. “He had an okay experience but he could see gaps that were not working in the system in terms of follow-up appointments,” she says. Robyn intends writing a report for discussion by the West Coast District Health Board (DHB) Clinical Board and to look at ways to improve the patient experience.

Initiated in July 2011 and officially launched in May 2012, the Clinical Board meets bimonthly. The Board’s aims include: Improving the health of the community; system quality improvement; encouraging and supporting best practice and innovation; contributing to strategic planning and resource allocation decisions; ensuring accurate and appropriate clinical data is captured and available to clinicians for decision making.

Robyn says she is well known in the community through her family’s business, Moore Construction. She also holds a position on the West Coast DHB’s Community and Public Health Advisory Committee) and Disability Services Advisory Committee (CPHAC / DSAC). She was nominated for the clinical board consumer representative role by the chairperson Stella Ward.

Robyn believes it is her outspoken manner in meetings which made her a good candidate for the Clinical Board. “I don’t have a problem with speaking up,” she says. However, she assures people the information they share is confidential and names are not mentioned at Clinical Board meetings. “People can come to me and have a chat in full confidence and privacy.”

Frances Stapleton, from Hokitika, is another consumer representative on the DHB’s clinical board. She is well known in the community as a councillor with Westland District Council. She is also very involved with community groups such as the Hokitika Cancer Support Group, Home Hospice, Community Patrol, Big Brothers Big Sisters, food bank and Safer Community Council, and is a deacon in the Anglican Church.

As a former nurse and midwife, she has always had an interest in the health sector.
She wants to see the Clinical Board taking action on topics like transport between South Westland and Grey Base Hospital, and access to specialists from Canterbury.

“It is an important role the Clinical Board has been assigned to do and it will be interesting in the next year to see what comes out of that,” Frances says.

Other members of the Clinical Board represent primary and community care, aged residential care, hospital and specialist services, Maori, mental health services, Rata Te Awhina, non- Government health and disability organisations, and Buller Integrated Family Health Centre.

Clinical board members serve a three-year term. They can be nominated for reappointment but cannot serve more than two consecutive terms.

Clinical board chair Stella Ward, who is also executive director of Allied Health for West Coast and Canterbury DHBs, says there is still one position for a consumer representative from Buller available on the Board and she is keen to hear from anyone interested in getting involved.

The Clinical Board’s terms of reference, last reviewed on April 11, say it will develop an annual work plan reflecting current priorities for improving patient and population health outcomes. The work plan focuses on reducing harm from smoking and promoting the smoking cessation work of the DHB; raising the profile of the South Island alcohol policy put together by Community and Public Health including licensing establishments which sell alcohol, testing underage sales, reducing alcohol harm-related presentations to the emergency department and raising the profile of the ways alcohol harms the community; and fall prevention in aged residential care, community and hospital settings.

Stella says the consumer representatives have a valuable contribution to make to the Clinical Board. They remind board members why the group was formed and for whom.

“They bring an important perspective. Their community standing or presence ensures we have an understanding of different communities that make up the West Coast. I think they are both great. We couldn’t have a Clinical Board without them.”
ENDS

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