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Forum gives voice to SA's health consumer communities

Fifty South Australians have attended a first-of-its-kind consumer healthcare forum in Adelaide today to set the direction of the state's People's Health Voice (PHV).

Held at the Unley Oval Community Hub, the People's Health Voice Forum drew representatives from communities traditionally underrepresented in healthcare consumer engagement. These included people from First Nations communities, people who have been incarcerated, people from SA’s regions and LGBTQIA+ people, amongst a wide range of groups that experience difficulties with the access to and responsiveness of the health system in SA.

Prior to the forum, SACOSS had consulted with nearly 400 people across the state as part of the PHV project's first, or 'Define', phase, hearing about the healthcare issues that affected them, such as access, inclusion and responsiveness.

Today's forum marked the beginning of the second, or 'Design' phase, of the project. This event was for community representatives to draw on the findings from the Define phase, and set the direction for the shape, role and function of the People’s Health Voice into the future.

The next steps for the project will be convening a working group made up of community representatives (including those who nominated during today's forum, and others who were not able to attend but are interested) which will guide action on the priorities established. These priorities include ongoing consultation and communication with communities, advocacy on their issues of concern, and bringing together health system decision-makers to hear and respond to the lived experience of those who face health access and inclusion barriers. 

The PHV project is led by SACOSS through funding from SA Health.

Quotes attributable to SACOSS Acting CEO Dr Rebecca Tooher 

All South Australians deserve to have access to appropriate healthcare at the appropriate time.

The People's Health Voice project allows us to hear directly from those people who face barriers to receiving the healthcare they need - and ultimately, for these voices to be heard and incorporated into policy and delivery decision-making by government and healthcare providers. 

This project is particularly important for those community groups whose voices can struggle to be heard.

We have already heard in the first phase from nearly 400 South Australians with a wide range of backgrounds and healthcare experiences. Today's forum was attended by some 50 designated community representatives, and the level of engagement and conversation around the issues at hand was exceptional. The success of today's event shows there is a clear path to developing a People's Health Voice that will speak to a better, more accessible and inclusive healthcare system for all South Australians.

Published Date: 
Monday, 25 March 2024