Western Health is committed to partnering with our consumers and community in decision making about health policy and planning, care and treatment.

We know that when our consumers are actively and meaningfully involved in decisions about their health care, we achieve better outcomes for the health and wellbeing of our community.

Western Health views the involvement of Consumers as:

  • a way of improving quality and safety
  • a way of improving health outcomes
  • a way to provide services that are reflective to the diverse needs of the community we serve

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a consumer?

    Consumer is an umbrella term for all users of a health service. This includes patients, carers, and community members

  • What is a Consumer Advisor?

    A Consumer Advisor is a person who volunteers their time in participating on committees/projects. They add value by sharing their lived experiences as a consumer/carer to improve health service delivery and planning.
    Consumers are on boarded as consumer advisors through a registration process, which includes informal interview and online orientation (see how I can refer consumers to join the consumer advisor register?)

  • What is a Lived Experience Advisor?

    A Lived Experience Advisor is a Consumer Advisor that is employed by Western Health to participate in high level engagement opportunities. Examples of this include:

    • Projects greater than 6 months
    • Requires a higher-level consumer engagement contact hours (greater than 8 hours a fortnight).
    • Co-design projects

    If you believe that your project/committee requires the input of a Lived Experience Advisor, please contact the Consumer Partnerships team on consumers@wh.org.au

  • Where/When should I have Consumer Advisors involved?

    Consumer Advisors can be actively involved in

    • committees
    • projects
    • review and feedback of documents
    • forums
    • education opportunities
    • externally funded projects (see Lived Experience Advisor)

    In order to ensure meaningful engagement and support a co-design methodology, it is recommended that consumer advisor engagement occurs in the early stages of any project/activity. The earlier the better!

  • How can I engage Consumer Advisors in projects/committees?

    Applications for consumer advisor engagements can be made through the Consumer Partnerships team by completing the Consumer Engagement Request Form  and emailing the completed form to consumers@wh.org.au

    Developing a clear expression of interest will enable both staff and consumer advisors to understand the purpose of the engagement activity as well as mutual expectations and obligations

    The EOI should include:

    • A brief background and purpose of the project/activity or committee – be mindful of terminology and use of acronyms.
    • Why consumer participation is sought.
    • Number of consumers required.
    • What experience, knowledge, and skills consumers require to be successful in the role – i.e. is lived experience required?
    • Regularity and details of any meetings
    • Length of project i.e. once off engagement, short/long term
    • Hours of commitment required i.e. 1-hour meeting per fortnight, plus 30 minutes pre-reading.
    • Face to face or virtual meetings
    • Expectations of the consumer (e.g. participate in meetings, read committee papers, and provide feedback).
    • Whether training (specific to the committee or project) is required and/or available to the consumer.
    • Is remuneration offered.
    • The contact details of key staff/committee contacts for the consumer.

    Useful Links

    How to engage a consumer representative | Safer Care Victoria

    Experience Based Co-design Toolkit | Consumers Health Forum of Australia (chf.org.au)

  • Remuneration

    Western Health is finalising the remuneration structure of Consumer Advisors. Should you wish to offer remuneration prior to this, please contact the consumer partnerships team for further advice (consumers@wh.org.au)

  • How can I ensure meaningful engagement of Consumers Advisors?

    Once an e-introduction is made (facilitated by Consumer Partnerships Manager) it is important that the committee/project lead:

    • Organises a time to call the Consumer Advisor to discuss the engagement activity. Ensuring both parties are aware of
      • the aims of the project/committee
      • the level of commitment required
      • the needs of the Consumer Advisor
    • Allocates a buddy/support person
      • This enables to consumer to debrief pre/post meetings – allowing for the Consumer Advisor to feel safe and supported.
      • This also ensure the Consumer Advisor has a direct contact should any issues arise.
    • Allow for time in the agenda for the Consumer Advisor to provide input.
    • Opportunity to provide feedback – for both the WH staff member and the Consumer Advisor
  • How can I refer consumers to join the Consumer Advisor team?

    What to do when…

    • Consumers suggest they would like to do more to help?
    • They would like to help change service delivery and advocate for their community?


    • If you think that the person you are caring for, or their support persons, would be ideal candidates for the consumer advisor team

    Talk to them about the Consumer Advisor role. You can provide them with a brochure that provides information about becoming a consumer advisor or ask them to scan the following QR code, fill in an application, and a member of the Consumer Advisor team will reach out to discuss the opportunity with them.

    Consumer Advisor Poster

    Consumer Advisor Poster

    Consumer Advisor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poster