Authors: Amber Scanlon, Dean Barton-Smith, Ellen-Jane Browne, Julien McDonald, Leanne Beagley, Wanda Bennetts
Event: 2015 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Consumer, Carer Partnership Dialogue
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
The Victorian Government is committed to a program of service improvement and reform for mental health that includes a strong consumer and carer voice. As a consequence, the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) has established Consumer and Carer Partnership Dialogues to facilitate collaboration across the Department, the consumer and carer workforce and the peak consumer and carer representative organisations in Victoria - the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) and Tandem.
The purpose of the partnerships is to create an opportunity for the consumer and carer workforce to engage directly with government and one another to ensure the views and interests of consumers and carers are well represented in relation to the development of Victoria’s mental health system and to provide a forum for emerging consumer and carer leadership. The Consumer and Carer Partnership Dialogues run independently of each other and are designed to promote information flow, consultation and collaboration to enable consumer and carer leadership and innovation. The Partnership Dialogues also inform broader planning and direction across government for policy initiatives and provide a forum for communication and coordination.
Areas of particular consideration have included, but are not limited to:
• Identifying consumer and carer issues in the clinical sector
• Identifying issues in the community sector
• Establishing consumer and carer issue working groups to facilitate policy and practice reform
• Promoting, facilitating and monitoring local consumer participation, providing opportunities for “two way” communication between the Minister/Department and the consumer and carer communities and utilising this learning in strengthening the work of services providing care
• Facilitating effective information sharing within and beyond the membership
• Identifying consumer and carer workforce issues and solutions for services and government to consider.
In this regard both participants and members would ask - have the partnerships been effective and what have been their key achievements?
Membership of the two partnership groups is drawn from the relevant peak bodies and paid consumer and carer workforces across clinical and community managed mental health services.
Questions for consideration
The Consumer and Carer Partnership Dialogues have, over the past two years, become an important part of the policy generation and implementation process for Victoria's mental health system. There is, however, always more that can be done, and the process of engagement can always be improved. The Victorian team would welcome discussion on what we have built in Victoria, and what learnings can be gained from the experience of others.
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