Consumer representation in the National Rural Health Alliance through Friends

Friends of the Alliance is united by a passion for improving the health and wellbeing of the people of rural and remote Australia and we’d love to stay in touch with you over the summer Christmas period and hear how you are celebrating in your rural or remote community.

Janine Snowie and Jalal getting into the Christmas spirit
Janine Snowie and Jalal getting into the Christmas spirit.

A paragraph here from Chris Moorhouse re plans for 2018, election year,

The notion of “the consumer” has taken on new meaning and significance in recent decades. Policy makers and funders are engaging with the end users of services and underestimate the significance of the consumer’s opinion, at their peril. Policy makers and service deliverers routinely expect to have the input of the end-users of the services being funded. And they like to get the word directly from the horse’s mouth.

The retail and service industries have long that for commercial success they must keep the needs and preferences of the consumer front and centre in their decision-making, priority-setting and resource distribution. The notion of the consumer is also entering the language of health services. This is most apparent in mental health services where recovery-focused programs predicated on principles of consumer engagement and choice in service delivery are changing the way community mental health services are funded and provided.

Lobby groups are also becoming more organised, sophisticated and influential in shaping social service outcomes. Friends of the Alliance is not a lobby group. It is a support arm of the National Rural Health Alliance representing the interests of a wide range of individuals and who are engaged in, and committed to, advancing rural health, but who are not otherwise represented through the organisations which make up the membership of Alliance.

The National Rural Health Alliance is strongly committed to the principles of consumer engagement, self-determination and consultation with the end-users of services provided. This includes the appointment of peer-elected representatives to key decision-making bodies of the organisation; for example, the representation of Friends on the Council of the Alliance. Consumer representation is real in the Alliance. It is deeply embedded within the fabric of the organisation as an integral element, and is not a token add-on.

Share your summer fun virtually with others in rural and remote Australia

Christmas and the hotter weather can help us to see things from a different angle. For many in rural and remote areas it will be a time for family get-togethers and celebration. As someone who values life in rural and/or remote Australia we are asking you to share some of your celebrations this summer by virtual means.

Reaching out by these means will bring a smile to many faces. As a part of Friends’ work to support families and communities to experience good health and wellbeing, we are hoping to build a virtual rural and remote community.

Contributions can include photographs or videos and remember to tag us @NRHAlliance and use the #loverural hashtag! If you are not a regular user of social media you can email your contribution to friends@ruralhealth.org.au and we will post for you. 

If you are not already a member of Friends of the Alliance you can join via the website at:   http://www.ruralhealth.org.au/friends

In 2018 Friends will continue to contribute to the Alliance's work to ensure that rural and remote issues are on the political agenda, including in the lead-up to the next Federal Election.

So please join us - by whatever means you like - to connect with other like-minded rural and remote people and organisations and have your voice heard on the health needs of your community.

And wherever you are, we wish you a safe, restful and happy summer.  #loverural

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