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Waikato DHB launches new Consumer Council

Waikato DHB launched its new Consumer Council at a powhiri last week to enable the Waikato people to have more of a say into how their health service is run.

The Consumer Council will work in partnership with the DHB to provide a consumer perspective and help make sure our services meet the needs of Waikato communities. It will provide advice to the board and senior management on the DHB’s strategic priorities and improving aspects of DHB services.

Interim chief executive Derek Wright said: “This is an exciting time for the DHB as we move towards true partnership with the community. The council will challenge us about how we provide some of our services and hopefully move us out of our comfort zone and we welcome that.”

The council has 15 members and co-chairs Gerri Pomeroy and Louise Were are excited to be part of the new group.

Gerri said: “This is about giving people who don’t normally have a voice on the planning and delivery of health services, the opportunity to partner with the DHB to improve how they do things.

For instance, disabled people have worse access to healthcare and worse outcomes than other New Zealanders so we will be a catalyst for helping their voices be heard.”

Louise added: “There are solutions to the problems facing healthcare today and they are in the community. We need to bring them into the DHB to really create change. I was very encouraged by the number and calibre of people who put their names forward to be part of this council. There is great leadership in our community and we want to harness that commitment and passion to improve outcomes for Māori, and those that have been under served.”

In other DHBs Consumer Councils have helped health services change fundamentally by providing a consumer perspective, coming up with new ideas, and working in partnership with the DHB. They have also specifically:

  • Had major input into the new build of inpatient facilities
  • Helped co-design new home based treatment
  • Helped create training material for staff
  • Improved signage at a hospital
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