Macquarie University Health Sciences Centre has established a Community Advisory Committee that will offer relevant advice to help make participating organisations truly patient-focused.

In pursuing and embedding its patient-centred approach to the delivery of excellent clinical care, learning and research, Macquarie University Health Sciences Centre has established a Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC).

Aside from playing a pivotal role in Hospital and Faculty accreditation, the committee also has a strategic role in supporting the Macquarie University Clinical Associates Board to continuously improve on its patient-focused approach to healthcare.

“We have established the Terms of Reference and set up the committee to enable members to make a meaningful contribution to appropriate facets of the Centre’s planning and operations,” said Natalie Sequeira, Director of Health Strategy in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

“This will be largely in areas around planning, quality and safety, and communication to facilitate community engagement – either on issues identified by the Board, or on those that the committee deems important.”

The group will have input into appropriate matters relating to planning of clinical services, teaching and research. It will also engage in issues around quality and safety – for example, in helping the Hospital and Macquarie University Clinical Associates work through improvements in the way care is delivered to patients on an inpatient and outpatient basis.

Communication and community participation will be another key area in which the CAC will be involved. The group will be involved in ensuring all communication and marketing material is relevant to the diverse mix of patients and their families and carers.

“To have them actually contribute in a meaningful way, for example, we will be asking the committee to put forward and help deliver upon a plan for community engagement in our Health Sciences Centre,” explained Ms Sequeira. “This will be presented to the Board and relevant senior staff members.”

Corporate and commercial lawyer Clare Grech is one of the CAC’s inaugural members and brings a broad range of experience and expertise in corporate governance.

“I was attracted to the Consumer Advisory Committee because it can make a real difference to patient’s lives,” said Ms Grech. “Macquarie University Health Sciences Centre is a relatively new and a very innovative organisation – at the forefront of clinical and research activities. I think it’s important for an organisation like this to have consumer input into relevant areas to keep the patient at the centre, and remain relevant to the larger community.”

The CAC currently has seven members with diverse backgrounds and age ranges. Most have had personal experience with Macquarie University Hospital, Macquarie University or the Australian not-for-profit private healthcare environment, and have strong professional backgrounds on which they can draw. The inaugural
committee members are Mr Ian Chisholm, Ms Clare Grech, Ms Annabel Price, Ms Ruwindi Setunge, Ms Phyllis Sequeira, Mr Cheenu Srinivasan and Ms Tina Zhao.