Access to inclusive, high-quality health services is critical to the wellbeing of all South Australians. The participation of health system users in policy and practice improvement is central to ensuring this access, allowing community perspectives to guide responsive, patient-centred health reform.
The closure of the Health Consumers’ Alliance of South Australia in 2020 left South Australia without an independent platform for health consumer advocacy. Since this time, SA has been the only Australian state without a structured, independent mechanism for including community concerns and priorities in health system improvement processes.
In 2022, the Labor Government provided an $800,000 grant over four years to the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) to establish a People's Health Voice with a view to addressing this gap in community-driven health system participation. The Government announced the initiative as an important opportunity to ensure that measures aimed at improving the safety and quality of healthcare systems and services are equity-focused, guided by lived experience and oriented to the provision of patient-centred care.
SACOSS is committed to working with SA communities to co-design an inclusive, effective and sustainable People’s Health Voice.
Our Co-Design Process
Phase 1 DEFINE
We will engage with community groups – particularly those who face a range of barriers to accessing responsive healthcare – to map key health access and equity issues. We will then bring communities together to:
- discuss shared and community-specific health concerns and priorities
- establish principles to guide our co-design process, and
- articulate aspirations for the People’s Health Voice.
Phase 2 DESIGN
We will work with a co-design group comprising representatives of focus communities to design a proposed structure and function for the People's Health Voice.
Phase 3 DEMONSTRATE
We will test the proposed design of the People's Health Voice on health access and equity issues identified in Phase 1 as significant community concerns. We will then work with community groups to reflect upon outcomes and review our design.
Phase 4 REFINE
We will work with communities and SA Health to embed the People's Health Voice as a sustainable and effective platform for community health system participation in support of responsive, inclusive and equitable healthcare in South Australia.
A policy proposal for the People’s Health Voice can be found here.
A discussion paper providing background information can be found here.
For more information about the People’s Health Voice Project, contact Dr Katherine Hodgetts via email: firstname.lastname@example.org