Community Engagement



Community Engagement

Northern New South Wales Local Health District (NNSW LHD) is committed to working with our communities to improve local health services.

Across Australia people are getting involved in health organisations by sharing their experiences, commenting on initiatives and becoming partners in design, planning and evaluation of health services. Research shows that involving patients, carers and community in services leads to:

·         improved health outcomes

·         safer care

·         services based on local experience and needs

·         improved communication between patients and staff

·         increased community understanding of the health service

·         more trust and patient confidence

·         greater staff satisfaction.


How to get involved

There are many ways community members can participate, such as

·         Becoming a member of an advisory group

·         Joining a project team or working group

·         Helping make patient information easier to understand

·         Providing feedback about how we can continue to improve the things we do

·         Teaching our staff about what it’s like to be a patient.

The emphasis is to draw on the knowledge, skills and experiences of past, present and future users of health services to improve the delivery of health care.



Community Engagement Framework


NNSW LHD has a Community Engagement Framework which guides our health service to increase community participation and facilitate the input of the community into key policies, plans and NNSWLHD initiatives.

The Framework was developed with input from community members, staff and the Board and includes an Engagement Structure and a Community Engagement Strategy. You can read or download a copy here.


Community Engagement Structure


The NNSW LHD Community Engagement Structure includes:

·         A Community Partnership Advisory Council to oversee community engagement across NNSW LHD

·         Advisory groups in local towns and service areas (currently recruiting).

·         Special interest groups and improvement groups.


Community Partnership Advisory Council

Our peak advisory committee is the Community Partnership Advisory Committee (CPAC) which is a sub-committee of the NNSW LHD Board and serves to ensure the community is part of the ongoing improvement of health care services.

Established in 2019, it provides valuable insights and advice about the community’s needs and expectations. The purpose of the Community Partnership Advisory Council is to:

·         Assist NNSW LHD to integrate community views in its operations, planning and policy development

·         Express the views of the community to the NNSW LHD Health Board

·         Advise the NNSW LHD Health Board on whether there is effective community engagement/participation across the organization, as defined by the NNSW LHD Community Engagement Framework.


Community Advisory Groups (CAGs)

Community Advisory Groups help to make sure the community is involved in decisions and plans that affect them.

CAGs are being established in most areas within the NNSWLHD footprint including Tweed, Murwillumbah, Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Casino and Clarence.

CAGs meet regularly and provide suggestions, feedback, perspective, ideas and advice to help ensure our healthcare services are accessible and respond to the community’s needs.

NNDSW LHD service areas also have advisory groups. They include:

·         Ngayundi Aboriginal Health Council

·         Mental Health Forum

·         Drug and Alcohol Community Advisory Committee

·         Multi-Purpose Service Network Community Consultation Forum


Frequently asked questions

What is a health consumer?
Consumers of health care are people who use, or are potential users, of health services. NNSW LHD prefers to use words such as community representatives or participants, patients and carers.

What is consumer participation?
Consumer or community participation is when people who use our services can have a say in how services are developed and provided.

Why is community participation important?
When people are involved in decisions that affect them, we achieve better health outcomes and create better services. You can participate by joining the Northern NSW Local Health District community register by emailing

How do community advisors participate?
As a community advisor, you may be involved in:

·         Providing advice about services

·         Reading and commenting on publications

·         Contribute to planning, review, and evaluation of services

·         Assisting with staff education and training

·         Speaking to staff

·         Participating in focus groups or surveys.

Who can become a member of a Community Advisory Group?
Committee members may include patients, families, carers, friends of patients, members of community groups, and people interested in health who live or work in Northern NSW.

CAG members are volunteers and act in an advisory capacity. They are not expected to have knowledge in the health sector or have technical backgrounds – their presence is to share their experiences and be the voice of the community.

Will I get paid as a community advisor?
Community advisors generally are volunteers however members receive a reimbursement payment for attending approved meetings.

How do I apply to be a member of an advisory group?
For further details about advisory groups and how to apply, please contact the Community Engagement Manager, on 02 6624 0333 or email


Connect with us

Northern NSW Local Health District values the input of our community in helping to shape their local public healthcare system.

Here’s how you can stay in touch and provide your input:

·         Provide feedback directly to our staff about the care you receive

·         Complete a feedback form (available from our facilities or online)

·         Join an advisory group

·         Complete a survey or participate in a focus group to provide your views on a topic of interest

·         Attend events hosted by NNSW LHD

·         Connect with us on Facebook

·         Keep up to date with the latest news on our website or subscribe to our Northern Exposure newsletter.

NNSWLHD has a community engagement database where community members can register to receive information about opportunities to participate and provide input into health service consultative processes. If you would like to be added to this database, email

If you have a story to share on our channels, email