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Calling for consumer representatives

November 21, 2013

Calling for consumer representatives Consumer, Raymond Endean and his 'buddy' capital development coordinator, Jonathan Lazarus

Mother of three, Sandra King is giving up time in her busy schedule to assist the Eye and Ear with consumer input.

Almost two and half years ago, Sandra and her husband received the devastating news that their youngest daughter Lily who was just 11 days old, was profoundly deaf. Lily received bilateral cochlear implants when she was 10 months old.

Sandra says she signed up to the consumer register because she was grateful for everything the Eye and Ear had done for Lily.

“We’ll be forever indebted for what the hospital has done for our family. It has really changed our lives quite significantly,” says Sandra.

The consumer register was launched in early 2013 and will assist the Eye and Ear to increase consumer involvement in service improvements. It is about using the voice of the consumer to inform change.

The Eye and Ear is keen to recruit consumers to be involved in the planning, provision, monitoring and evaluation of hospital services. This includes committee membership, review of patient information brochures and participation in focus groups.

Some of the activities can even be done at home. Many of our consumers have been involved in reviewing patient information, which they can do from home and at a time that suits them.

Sandra says one of the benefits of the consumer register is that she can choose how much time she’d like to commit depending on her schedule. “I can pick and choose activities that meet my family’s needs, but I’m still able to support the hospital too.”

Raymond Endean is another consumer, who sits on the Public Interface User Group. A patient at the Eye and Ear for almost five years, he is a regular visitor to the hospital attending the retinal clinic for monthly injections to manage his macular degeneration.

“I’m retired now and I was keen to help out in any way that I could,” says Raymond. “The brief is very specific; the purpose is to provide feedback on design, materials, lighting and colour for the redevelopment.”

Having consumer representatives on our committees is important to ensure that our service is always delivered with the interests of the patient in mind.

Each consumer who sits on an Eye and Ear committee or group is paired with a ‘buddy’, someone who supports them to undertake their role on the committee.

Some priority areas for consumer participation are committees and groups associated with the redevelopment of the hospital and the working groups set up to address the actions of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.

For more information or to express your interest, please contact Debra Hailes, consumer liaison officer on 9929 8225 or debra.hailes@eyeandear.org.au.