Clinical and Community Advisory Councils in Primary Health Networks: From consultation to collaboration for action
S Iyengar, A Glenwright, H Brennan, A Ulikpan, S Parekh
Abstract: Despite several attempts, the health needs of many Australian communities are still not adequately met. Thirty‐one Public Health Networks (PHNs) have replaced 61 Medicare Locals across the country to address the need for integrated care. The decision will mean that some PHNs, particularly those rural and remote, will cover geographically large areas – diverse in culture and socio‐economic inequality. An optimum commissioning environment depends on clear data about population needs, for which the PHNs will need to build strong relationships with local stakeholders.1 To address this, the establishment of PHNs mandated formal engagement structures of Clinical and Community Advisory Councils. PHNs aim to work with these Councils to ensure that decisions, investments and innovations are patient‐centred and cost‐effective. This article comments on the early experiences of Councils’ involvement with the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN as they became operational 15 months ago.