Lithgow local Colleen Winterburn has always been passionate about advocacy and social justice, and as a health consumer representative she’s able to make a positive contribution to the lives of others.
When Colleen’s GP suggested that she could use her voice to help improve local health care services it marked the beginning of a rewarding journey.
“Advocacy has always been part of my psyche,” says Colleen, whose voluntary work with the public health service in Lithgow helps achieve better outcomes for the whole community.
“It’s fantastic to support and improve the system by raising issues and making sure that community perspectives are heard.”Colleen Winterburn, Health Consumer Representative
In a bid to attract more advocates like Colleen, Lithgow Hospital is hosting a morning tea and information session on 8 September from 10am to 12pm.
“The event is open to anyone who’s passionate about community interests in their local healthcare services,” says Amanda Anicic, Quality Development Manager for Consumer Engagement with the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.
“Our patients, along with their carers and families, play a pivotal role in ensuring our health system responds to people’s needs in holistic and understanding ways,” says Amanda.
“Almost everyone has had some experience using the health system, and appointed health consumer representatives have an avenue to put that experience to very good use.”
“For me it’s about social justice,” explains Colleen, who has been a health consumer representative since October 2021.
"No matter who it is in the community they deserve a voice. It takes a whole community to make our health systems work well for everyone, and we are part of that.”
Lithgow Hospital’s Acting General Manager, Jamieleigh Petersen, agrees.
“All the staff here at Lithgow Hospital are committed to providing excellent care to the community that they are very much a part of themselves,” says Jamieleigh.
In Australia and around the world, the health consumer movement has played a crucial role in empowering patients and advocating for their rights within the healthcare system, promoting patient-centred care, transparency, and accountability.
For more information about health consumer representation in Lithgow, including the event at Lithgow Hospital on 8 September, contact Colleen (0414 769 211) or Judith (0407 002 673), or email Amanda at NBMLHD-ConsumerEngagement@health.nsw.gov.au
For general information about consumer representation at Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District visit our website.