When Coraki resident, George Thompson, wanted to have a voice in the future of health services in his local community, he joined the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) as a volunteer community representative.
After becoming a carer for his wife after she suffered a stroke, George also saw an opportunity to share his own experiences and contribute to building better health services.
“I decided to volunteer as a community representative because of the interest I developed in health matters as a result of my own experiences with health services,” George said.
“I also felt my career experiences in various areas of government would enable me to make a worthwhile contribution.
It’s now been 10 years since George first put up his hand to get involved, and in that time he has been a part of numerous health initiatives in the region, such as the construction of the Coraki Campbell HealthOne, the NNSWLHD Health Literacy Project, and the establishment of a working group focusing on reducing opioid pain medications.
“I have found my involvement very rewarding. I have learnt a lot and met some great people,” George said.
“I encourage anyone to get involved and make a difference.”
During National Volunteer Week, from 20-26 May, NNSWLHD is inviting community members interested in sharing their experiences and helping improve health services to get involved by joining one of the new consultative committees that are being established across the region.
The new groups will provide advice, feedback and guidance to the health service on a range of plans and initiatives.
NNSW LHD Chief Executive Wayne Jones said there was a long history of community advisory committees within the LHD, but the health service is renewing its approach to improve the opportunities for community members to get involved.
“You might not have thought of volunteering on a committee, but these groups are such an important part of how we make sure our community is involved in decisions
and plans that affect them,” Mr Jones said.
“Involving patients, carers and the community is vital to help improve our services.”
Community advisory groups are being established in most areas within the NNSWLHD footprint.
“We are looking for a mix of people to participate in committees and special interest groups. I encourage anyone to consider joining our network to share opinions and contribute to building a better health service and a healthier community,” Mr Jones said.
Expressions of interest close 5pm, Friday 21 June 2019.