The Health Issues Centre welcomes communication from Acting CEO, Ann Maree Keenan, Safer Care Victoria, regarding the future of consumer engagement.

In September 2019 the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kym Peake outlined a plan for organisational transformation. Reforms detailed in February 2020 included how Safer Care Victoria would review it’s structure and work programs to respond better to the changing needs of government, healthcare services, consumers and the Victorian community.

While delayed by the pandemic, SCV seeks to:

  • Improve opportunities for consumers to meaningfully engage with the full breadth of SCV’s work, by consolidating the number of specialist advisory committees and councils to better inform work across the agency. Such consolidation included the Patient and Family Council, and the Better Care Victoria Consumer Advisory Group; and
  • Improve how SCV partners with clinicians to tackle broader, more complex healthcare issues across clinical specialties through the transformation of SCV’s 11 specialty clinical networks into four population-based centres of excellence.

SCV’s core roles in quality improvement and patient safety have not changed. Nor has their commitment to partnering with consumers on key activities and decisions, as underpinned by the framework developed in conjunction with Victorian consumers – the Partnering in Healthcare Framework.

SCV are continuing to engage and work with consumers via many working groups and formal committees such as the Consumer Leadership Reference Group, the consultative councils and clinical centres of excellence. SCV also continues to employ consumers in the design, delivery and evaluation of their work such as safety reviews and improvement projects.

Whilst continuing to consult on what the structural options for ongoing engagement with consumers will look like, SCV will continue to make sure the way SCV partners with consumers is underpinned by the framework developed in consultation with Victorian consumers (Partnering in Healthcare Framework).

Advice has already been sought from outgoing council members regarding the opportunities for improvement, and SCV values the close working relationship enjoyed with the Health Issues Centre in its role as the peak body for Victorian health consumers.

Going forward, SCV looks to work collaboratively with the Health Issues Centre and Victorian health consumers on a range of consumer empowerment projects.