THE Gawler Health Advisory Council (HAC) is inviting members of the public to learn more about the group and what it does, when it holds its annual general meeting later this month.
Gawler HAC’s youngest member, Emma Griffiths, said the HAC is a volunteer advocacy group for consumers who access Gawler Health Service (GHS) and other health services across the local region, to act as their “eyes and ears”.
“It’s a really important council that’s not really well known, and we’d be sad to see it go, if we did,” she said.
“It helps with planning and change, and if they (the hospital executive and Health Minister) come back to us and say ‘this is happening’, we can give feedback.
“It’s really nice to know that it is available…(people in) the community (can) talk to somebody and put their views forward, and someone can speak on their behalf.”
Positions on Gawler HAC are reserved for eight community members, the state Member for Light, a Gawler Council representative, and representatives of both the GHS’ doctors and executive.
However, only six of the community member positions are filled.
Ms Griffiths has been on Gawler HAC for a year and said, in that time, she’s taken part in an observational study on consumers’ usage of the hospital, which led to the identification of a need for new seats and a television in the foyer – both of which have now been installed.
“So, for 26 hours, nine of us volunteered to sit in the foyer and take notes on wayfinding, and how people utilise the area,” she said.
“That’s stemmed, now, to a report that’s gone to the executive, talking about wayfinding around here, colour-coding doorways, renaming signs, trying to make it a lot easier for the community and understanding the changing demographics of Gawler, about language barriers.
“All that information has been taken into consideration.”
Ms Griffiths said Gawler HAC has also, recently, held a community meeting in Lyndoch, which revealed concerns, raised by one resident, that there hadn’t been a local doctor servicing the town in a year – feedback which, she said, the HAC will take on board.
Another initiative led by the HAC was the ‘Art and Health Project’, which involved recruiting 27 community volunteer groups to produce artwork representing how they contributed to health in the area.
The artwork was displayed in the GHS foyer and, then, auctioned off to raise around $1300 for the Gawler Health Foundation – the hospital’s charity arm.
Gawler HAC is hosting its annual general meeting on Thursday, November 23, at the GHS.
Ms Griffiths encouraged anyone interested in finding out more about the council, or perhaps even in joining, to attend, especially younger residents.