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Five Questions With . . . SCDHB Consumer Council co-chairs Anne-Marie McRae (left) and Mark Rogers. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

SCDHB Consumer Council co-chairs Anne-Marie McRae and Mark Rogers take part in the Courier’s five questions.

Q. How will this new concept benefit the South Canterbury community?

Anne-Marie and Mark: South Canterbury DHB Consumer Council was established in August 2017 in order to provide a strong and viable voice for the South Canterbury community on the planning and delivery of health services.

The council will have a quality improvement role aiming at providing services that best meet the needs of the community.

This will be achieved by providing a consumer’s perspective on such matters as strategic direction, health priorities, patient journey and new and existing services and facilities.

Q. Who is on the consumer council?

Anne-Marie: There are 10 council members who reside throughout the district. We range in age and have a variety of skill sets and consumer health service experience.

For example, I have been a lawyer for 16 years and have 12 years of national and local governance and management committee experience, including Hockey New Zealand, Timaru Parents Centre and Trust Aoraki Ltd.

I wanted to become involved with the consumer council because our family has used local health services regularly and I want to ensure the community is receiving high-quality and accessible health care and experiences are as positive as possible.

Mark, on the other hand, brings to the table over 16 years in the banking industry.

He has spent 20 years with YMCA in governance roles.

Mark is also linked in to other DHB committees, including credentialling, which includes a patient safety focus.

As a consumer representative on other committees, Mark knows the value of consumers in making quality recommendation and so he has joined the council with a view to enhancing this.

Q. What is the best way for the community to get involved?

Mark Rogers: The community has a really important role to play in health.

Not only are they the users of services, but they also elect the board who provide overall governance and direction.

At the consumer council level we are looking to involve the community in conversations around health by both disseminating information from the council back to our community, but also by listening to the needs of those we represent.

Q. What are some of the concerns or issues you welcome people to raise through the council?

Mark Rogers: As a new council we are still investigating what this relationship might look like. We are really conscious that we don’t want to be confused as a place to bring complaints or an advocacy service – there is already provision in place for both of these very important services. What we do want to hear is feedback on those strategic level priorities and what matters to consumers of health services in our community.

Q. What is the process for getting things through to the council?

The consumer council can be contacted via email: consumercouncil@scdhb. health.nz.