Consumer panel to aid healthcare

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 08:56 06/06/2014

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The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board is considering setting up a consumer panel to give the public a greater voice on how hospital services are shaped.

Board chief executive Chris Fleming said they would be asking the public to be involved in strategic planning.

It is a response to the top of the south review of surgical services at Nelson and Wairau Hospitals which recommends a patient and community focus when developing services.

A consumer panel would help consumers get a greater understanding of the increasing pressures on the health dollar as a result of the growing ageing population in Nelson Marlborough, Fleming said.

Consumer involvement was beginning to grow within mental health and paediatric services but there was limited consumer discussion in other healthcare services, Fleming said.

"We are not interested in setting up a process in which consumers are just ticking a box," Fleming said.

"It has to be an added value process and not just tokenism."

The board's clinical governance group was looking at setting up the panel.

Fleming said it was too early to say how many people would sit on the panel, when it would be configured and if members would have any powers.

"We are just grappling with how we should have appropriate consumer involvement in our planning.

"It is at the incubator stage at the moment."

The clinical governance group wants patients to be at the centre of their considerations.

The panel would learn from patient stories, consumer voices would be sought and heard, and services would be shaped as a result.

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- The Marlborough Express

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