The spirit of giving continues in the South West long after the festive season ends, with dedicated community members committed to improving their local health facility in the New Year.
Each facility in the South West Hospital and Health Service has a Community Advisory Network (CAN), comprising committed volunteers who provide feedback which shapes the development and delivery of local public health services.
Health Service Board Chair Jim McGowan said each CAN was essential for strengthening the provision of health services and ensuring the changing needs of local communities were met.
“New Year is a great opportunity for anyone with a resolution to give back to their community to look into joining their local CAN.”
Monica Hadenfeldt is the longest serving CAN member in the health service, having been involved for 19 years, and is the current CAN Chair for Dirranbandi.
“I joined as the mother of young children, and was able to provide feedback from that perspective and once I returned to work as a teacher I focused on the broader health needs of children and families.”
“What the CAN and the health service can do for the children of my school is invaluable. We look at what services would be most beneficial and advocate for them to be available in Dirranbandi.”
Ms Hadenfeldt said CANs created a platform for open communication between the health service and the community.
“Your needs are heard, and while the change you want doesn’t always happen immediately, it does if the request is reasonable.”
“At the moment we are working to improve speech and occupational therapy services, as we believe early intervention is the key to good health.”
Guy Newell, Chair of the Augathella CAN, agrees that being a member of the CAN is all about building relationships between the community and the health service.
“We have a wonderful hospital in Augathella and the CAN plays an important role in representing the community’s needs to those who make decisions about the hospital’s future direction.”
“We are a conduit between the two, ensuring the right information gets to the right people and action is taken when needed.”
Mr Newell says the CANs provided the perfect opportunity for community members to get involved with the delivery of health services.
Those interested in joining a CAN should contact their local South West Hospital and Health Service facility.