Consumers told us they need a space of their own, to learn, to connect, and spark action. This is what the Victorian Health Consumers Community of Practice is here to do – we are so excited to welcome you in.

What is the Victorian Health Consumers Community of Practice?

The Victorian Health Consumers Community of Practice (CoP) is a consumer-only online group. It exists to expand your network and build your capability and confidence as a consumer to effectively influence the design, delivery, and improvement of the Victorian health system.

The community is driven by the values of:

  • Diversity
  • Inclusivity
  • Growth
  • Equity and social justice

To explore the full Terms of Reference simply download your .pdf copy or a .doc copy.

Is this CoP for me?

If you’re actively engaged in consumer roles within the Victorian health system, this is for you. Maybe you attend focus groups, are on a committee, respond to surveys, or are on a consumer register. You might resonate with titles like ‘Consumer Advisor’, ‘Consumer Representative’, ‘Lived Experience Advisor’…. (We just use the term Consumer Advisor for consistency).

If you’re not currently actively involved but are interested in bringing a new perspective to health organisations and being a voice for what really matters to health consumers, this is a space for you too. The CoP is here to support and encourage you to take the next step!

We strive to foster an inclusive and psychologically safe space for consumers. Our processes are designed for accessibility, and we ensure CoP members feel able to contribute without stigma, judgements, or assumptions.

Why should I join?

1. Access to education and training

Training and development are core areas of the CoP program. Training and development will ensure the sharing of current best practice. It will take the form of:

  • Interactive training sessions that provide opportunities to practice and develop new advocacy and leadership skills.
  • Presentations from experts in their relevant field.

These will be delivered by a diverse mix of consumer leaders and HIC team members.

2. Opportunities for networking and learning from experience

Being able to network and reach out to others with similar experiences is incredibly valuable. The CoP program centres strongly on providing opportunities for connection, sharing experiences, gaining insight, peer-learning and creating constructive discourse amongst your peers.

3. Growing the power of our collective consumer voice

As a CoP, we have a responsibility to advocate on the issues that matter most to consumers at a systems level. We recognise that this takes time and careful planning and will emerge as the community develops.

Sounds great, how do I join?

To register as a member of the CoP please complete this Google Form.

A .doc version is also available – just email

You need to be over the age of 18 and have a keen interest in consumer roles within the Victorian health system. This includes public and private health services, community health services, not-for-profit organisations, and charities.

When will we meet?

Initially, the CoP will meet online for four sessions between February and June 2023. This will be an opportunity to test out different types of programming and activities. It is likely that the format of the CoP will shift based on member feedback.

The details of the first meeting:

Topic: Consumer leadership – having our voices heard

Date: Tuesday 21 February 2023

Time: 10.00am-1.00pm

Location: Online via Zoom

Access to meetings will only be available to registered members of the CoP.

How did we get here?

The Victorian Health Consumers CoP exists because of the ideas and passion of consumers to support other consumers. For years HIC has been delivering training to consumers and we know how much you value these learning opportunities. You told us that you wanted more opportunities to network and hear from others with similar experiences. So, the idea of a consumer CoP was born….

July 2022 – HIC received funding from Safer Care Victoria to co-design a new CoP for consumers.

August 2022 – HIC put the call out to consumers to collaborate with us to design a new space for consumers to connect and learn.

September 2022 – 51 consumers responded to the survey, sharing their ideas for how this CoP could take shape.

October 2022 – A CoP Project Reference Group of six consumers was created with the job of taking all the feedback from the survey into the Terms of Reference for the CoP.

October – December 2022 – The Reference Group met with HIC five times plus lots of emails and document revisions back and forth. The Terms of Reference were developed and the program outline for the CoP meetings was brainstormed.

January 2023 – The Victorian Health Consumers Community of Practice is launched and membership signups open!

We are particularly grateful to consumers who joined the CoP Program Reference Group. What we are launching today is just a preview of all their hard work.

How can healthcare organisations support access?

We encourage healthcare organisations to share this opportunity with consumers in your networks, encourage them to register, and support them with this process if needed.

We also seek support from health services and other community organisations to enable participation of consumers who would like to be involved but may experience digital exclusions. Perhaps you can provide computer access or set up satellite sites for the scheduled meetings.

Please reach out to us at so we can support you to do this.

I’d like more information or need some assistance

We are here to help. Please reach out to Katherine Burnard (Training, Development & Projects Officer) at or give us a call on (03) 8676 9050.