BORDER residents have a chance to influence the provision of the region’s health services.
Hume Medicare Local wants residents to offer their opinions as to what health services are needed and what needs to improve.
Hume Medicare Local’s Paula Fraser said the feedback would influence local health planning.
“We need consumers to drive changes in health and health service planning and delivery because consumers are the experts,” Ms Fraser said.
“They’re the people that use health services and live in the communities so we need their expertise to help us shape and design new health services.”
Residents are asked to sign up online to the Consumer Participation Network and put their name on a register.
Ms Fraser said as new services were planned, those who had registered could be called upon to offer their opinions.
“Once they’re on the registry they may never wish to participate, they might just want to hear about what’s going on, they might also want to join a committee if they want, or they might want to provide feedback on particular programs or join a consumer forum,” she said.
“They always have control over what they opt into.”
Hume Medicare Local is now seeking input on one of its newest programs, Heads Up, a free mental health service for children under 12.
The federal government has funded the employment across the Hume region of six new mental health clinicians who specialise in children’s mental health.
The clinicians include psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses.
Most have started working in centres across the region, including Albury, during the past fortnight.
The new program is also changing the way children can access these new clinicians.
Ms Fraser said it was not only general practitioners who could now refer children to the specialists; those working in schools, childcare centres and preschools could also make referrals.
“It’s to decrease those barriers that are preventing children accessing mental health services,” she said.
Hume Medicare Local chief executive David Dart said the program was about filling a significant gap for children under 12, an area where it had been shown most support was needed.
“National trends indicate there is a gap between the number of children needing mental health care and the number actually receiving it,” Mr Dart said.
To sign up visit humeml.org.au or phone (02) 6041 0046.