A voice for women's health

2018 Newsletter Snippets

January Edition

Consent, Culture and the Consumer Experience

The 2017 HDC Conference

The November 2017 HDC Conference – Consent, Culture and Consumer Experience – was promoted as a conference aimed at service providers, and in large part it was, with limited opportunities for consumers, consumer representatives and advocates to comment, ask questions or take away useful information. However, it was interesting from the perspective of gaining some insight into the way in which the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) interacts with service providers and how the office of the HDC sees its role in protecting consumer rights.

While the conference was worthwhile and provided interesting insights into a number of topics, it did appear that the ‘same old ground’ was covered with talk about the importance of culture and the health and disability sector environment.  That it was aimed squarely at providers begs the question, when do consumers and consumer advocates get an HDC conference that focusses on their concerns and provides a meaningful forum for discussion about how the HDC and complaints process works or does not work for them?

Anthony Hill’s key note presentation was interesting, but for the service providers at the conference there was little that was new in the first half of his talk, as he recounted the origins of the office of the HDC. In 2017, 20 years down the track service providers should be all too familiar with how the HDC came to be. He identified Herbert Green’s  “unfortunate experiment” as the starting place. However, it was really the conclusions of Dame Silvia Cartwright’s report that were the catalyst for the HDC and Code of Rights.

Despite the fact that Mr Hill says that the Code of Rights has been reshaping the culture and operating environment within the health and disability sector, we are still talking about the fundamentals of patient rights, including research on patients unable to consent...

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