Consumers should be meaningfully involved in decision-making
about their healthcare and treatment, and broader health policy,
planning and service delivery.
There is genuine commitment and effort from the Department of
Health and health services to facilitate meaningful consumer
participation. The department has led implementation of consumer
participation through strong policy direction and this has
translated into appropriate policies, systems and activities in the
four audited health services.
Implementing consumer participation is relatively recent and a
challenging process, and health services do not always provide
sufficient staff training, resources or support to integrate
consumer participation across their organisation. Consequently,
achievements both between and within health services vary. There
are opportunities to enhance consumer participation at all levels,
including better supporting consumers to understand and engage with
basic health service information, and better involving consumers in
organisational strategic planning and evaluation. This will become
increasingly important as new national accreditation standards are
implemented from January 2013, with significantly higher
expectations and evidence requirements for consumer
The department’s leadership has firmly placed consumer
participation on the agenda of Victoria’s public health services.
However, to further improve, the department needs to address gaps
in its own implementation of consumer participation, provide better
oversight of health services’ consumer participation activities and
evaluate the impact of its main consumer participation policy.