06 June 2022
The newly appointed chair of Grampians Health’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is confident that the public will have plenty of input into the provision and implementation of its services.
Horsham’s Merryn Eagle served for many years on the former Wimmera Health Care Group board and has a strong awareness of regional health needs and pitfalls. She is heading a diverse network of community representatives who will inform the Grampians Health board of community sentiment around local health issues.
The CAC is the direct reporting link between Grampians Health’s four Community Reference Groups (CRG) and the board. The committee is made up of two members of each of the CRGs - including the respective chairs - and four GH board members.
The CRGs represent the regions of each of the four health services that merged to form Grampians Health. Mrs Eagle said each group had solid representation but there was room for more to be involved in what she called the ‘public face of Grampians Health’.
“We are wanting as many diverse people as possible and we particularly want to recruit those people who are seldom heard,” Mrs Eagle said.
“We know we can’t have every group covered but we want the groups to blanket as diverse a cross-section of the community as possible.”
Mrs Eagle said the CRGs and the CAC were in place to provide advice on decision making throughout Grampians Health.
“Each individual campus will have its own issues and views on what is working, how it’s working and what isn’t,” she said.
“How well are we working with getting services that people previously didn’t have locally and is that working or are people still going to Ballarat?
“As the board seeks opinion, the advisory committee can go back to the CRGs and gain their view of how each community is seeing the processes evolve.”
Mrs Eagle said the escalation of services locally was naturally going to take time to happen but the early focus for the groups would be around governance.
“For now, we have the draft of a new strategic plan on the table so we want to know how effective does that look to the various communities,” she said.
“Is Grampians Health delivering on what was proposed?
“Are we getting more effective localised quality health services?
Mrs Eagle said she was impressed with the attention both the board and Grampians Health executive were giving to her committee and in turn the reference groups.
“I’ve already had talks with several individual board members and I know they are genuine about making the recommendations that CAC present to them,” she said.
“We’ve only had the one meeting of each CRG and of the CAC so far and they were basically informative sessions.
“If people want to join the CRGs, there are still opportunities to apply or people can suggest links to the communities we haven’t yet covered.
“We are still seeking a representative from the Dimboola region.”