As many as 100 voices for the community on all health issues will meet with the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) in Dubbo on Thursday.
The annual Health Council Forum is the LHD’s opportunity to bring the community’s representative voices on health all together under one roof for one day.
Western NSW Local Health District Chief Executive Scott McLachlan said with the towns of Grenfell, Rylstone, Cobar and Goodooga surrounding an area encompassing 250 thousand square kilometres and 24 Local Government Areas, the LHD has a challenging job to keep its ears to the ground on issues relating to health services.
“I highly value and respect the advice that I receive from our 37 Health Councils because they are on the ground and know about the needs of their local community,” Mr McLachlan said.
“Our local communities share similar stories about their health landscape but yet are unique and so getting together to share the stories about what is working and ideas about what can be improved to make a difference are crucial”.
Mr McLachlan said the forum will also provide an opportunity for Health Councillors to build on their networks and learn from each other’s experiences.
“Bringing them physically together on an annual basis is a great opportunity for them to meet and talk with each other, to share common stories and to bring issues to our attention”.
There will be a number of presentations from Health Councils on initiatives they have undertaken including Baradine Health Council’s ‘Men’s Gathering at Rusty Club’ and the Tottenham/Tullamore Healthy Towns Challenge, which recently won the NSW Health inaugural Healthy Towns Challenge Award.
“We also regularly engage with our Health Councils in a variety of ways by monthly meetings with Health Service Managers, inviting them to review strategies, plans and publications, and regular opportunities to meet with our Board,” Mr McLachlan said.
“The forum provides a unique opportunity to update our health councillors on current priorities of the LHD, as well as encouraging them to participate in a Q & A session, so that this information can be taken back and shared with their own communities.
“We are very fortunate to have Health Councillors with a variety of skills, interesting backgrounds, and most importantly, a passion about the health of their communities,” he said.