The Consumer Council was established in 2014 as a way for consumers to have a strong voice in planning, designing and delivering services on the West Coast.
The Consumer Council is invited to participate in, and comment on, many of the West Coast DHB initiatives to enhance a patient’s experience.
The council is made up of a range of people, with diverse backgrounds and areas of interest. Their brief includes:
The Consumer Council meets approximately two-monthly in Greymouth, generally for around two hours. Council members are appointed for two years, and need to have a general understanding of West Coast health issues.
The council is made up of a range of people with diverse ethnic backgrounds and areas of interest that include Māori health, Pacific health, mental health, people with long term conditions, people with physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities, older people, youth, men, women, rural communities, people with visual and hearing impairment and people with alcohol and other drug addictions.
My UK work was with public and private enterprises, primarily in the NHS fields of HR, Organisational Development and Project Management. Prior to moving to NZ, I had my own business as an External Auditor contracted to the UK Security Industry Authority. Now a NZ citizen and settled on the Coast at Nelson Creek for 3 years, I work part time for the National Brain Injury Association of NZ. I am involved in community groups; Secretary on the Nelson Creek Community Committee and Treasurer for the Kowhai Project.
My interest in serving on the WCDHB Consumer Council is focused primarily on the patient journey, and how the disconnect between necessary organisational policies and procedures can get in the way of communication patient focus and community needs. I have my own health issues (heart problems) which have necessitated inpatient stays in Greymouth Hospital and in Christchurch hospitals, experiencing the issues of “being in the system” to “rural discharge” first hand.
We do most things well, but we could do a few things better. My aim during my tenure on the Consumer Council is to bring a patient view to the processes, and ensure that by working in partnership with the DHB we can continue the good work by previous Consumer Councils both in DHB and Community engagement.
I am on the West Coast District Health Board’s Advisory Committee, Consumer representative on WCDHB Child and Youth Committee, I am also a member of the Accessible West Coast Coalition Group. In 2018 I completed my study towards NZIM Diploma in Management.
In recent years I’ve been an active member of the Thyroid Association of NZ (TANZI). We are campaigning for better diagnosis and treatments for thyroid patients in New Zealand. I’m also a member of Westland Soroptimists. My working life has included sheep and beef farming and work in tourism information. After spending nearly five years caring for my late husband at home through cancer and a debilitating stroke I became aware that although we have good services in the West Coast being rural is a significant problem. I look forward to being part of the Consumer Council during the transition to the new hospital.
I have been on previous health committees and action groups – I am currently in the local Health Workstream group, and a member of the Health Advisory Group. When attending these meetings my thoughts are always on impacts the decisions have on the consumer and their family and community. I enjoy advocacy for those who need it and believe many need more support and advocacy while on their health journey.
I am interested in being part of Consumer Council as I’m passionate about the West Coast and would like to make the Coast a better, safer place to live.
I work in education, working with children that have a learning or behaviour difference. Alongside supporting their school and family, using health providers are a big part of our student’s journey.
I have a son with Downs Syndrome who was born here, and has successfully been through the health and education system on the Coast.
I have been involved in many committees over the years from CCS to rugby league. I am currently involved in establishing a Special Olympics club on the West Coast that caters for all ages. The aims are keeping people active, participating in community events and enjoying friendships of other athletes.
On the Consumer Council I see my role as being a strong advocate for families as they negotiate the tricky health system so that living in an isolated area has no negative effects of our health and well-being.
Through personal experience of Traumatic Brain Injury from a motor vehicle accident I have been a patient and client of the Health and ACC systems for many years.
I was brought up in South Westland and attended boarding school in Canterbury. Further education at Massey University after a Traumatic Brain Injury enabled me to gain skills and expertise in Rehabilitation Studies and Community and Social work. I have worked in Canterbury and the West Coast, More recently working with clients with special needs in an education/community setting.
Over the last 10 years I have been employed at Buller REAP as the Youth Service Provider and an ACE (Adult Community Education) facilitator. I have had experience on various boards; the most recent being the Staff representative for REAP. My years working in these roles mean I have had the chance to supply advocacy and support as requested and hope to be able to carry on in the future through our local communities.
My recent diagnosis of High Functioning Autism after a lifetime of struggling with depression, anxiety and being suicidal as symptoms of my ASD, has made me passionate about improving services and obtaining more support for people suffering with mental illness, ASD and other disabilities on the West Coast.
I am also a mother of a teenager with ASD and Sensory Processing Disorder and I feel the earlier a child is diagnosed, the better their quality of life and the more hopeful their future will be. My brother also has Asperger’s.
Now that I am on the Consumer Council, I can advocate for people with ASD and Mental Illness and help to raise awareness and obtain more wrap-around support for them and their families.
The experiences of myself and my family have given me great understanding of the things that help and the things that could be improved within our health system.
I look forward to the journey the next 2 years will bring.
Before, I was very fit, working as a Geological Field Assistant at Stockton Opencast Mine. I am medically retired now, but consider myself lucky. My American surgeon saved my life after I was finally transported to Christchurch General in a fixed wing plane, not a chopper (because I was on too much life support – exactly one week after the first Christchurch earthquake). I had 4 operations on my brain, and then I was transferred to Burwood Brain Injury unit for a long recovery. I had to learn everything again; speech language therapy, the works. The surgeon told my wife that 80% of individuals who have abscesses burst in the cerebral cortex outright die, and the remaining 20% in wheelchairs, rest homes with constant minders.
For a 63 year old I am physically fit, can drive a car and live independently. I just can never work in that role again, but I can definitely represent the consumers of the medical services on the West Coast. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead.
The links below will take you to a listing of Consumer Council Meeting Documents
Page last updated: 5 April 2019
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