Meet Allan Edmondson, member of the Patient & Whaanau Centred Consumer Council and ‘unsung hero’. At a time when Allan should be enjoying a well-earned retirement, he and other members of the Council freely give their time, energy and experience to ensure people in their communities have a voice when it comes to improving patient care and health outcomes. This is Allan’s story.
I live in the beautiful locality of Franklin, which has been my home for the past eight years. I’ve retired now, however that hasn’t slowed me down. This ageing brain and body need continual stimulation to remain active, stay healthy and contribute to society. That’s why I enjoy representing my community on the Consumer Council. Over the past few years, I’ve picked up a fair bit of knowledge, wisdom and experiences to pass on to those willing to listen.
When I was 29 I met a wise old English gentleman, called Christopher who changed my whole outlook on life and my working philosophy. Instead of accepting things for what they are, I was encouraged to ask questions and seek out better ways of doing things. My favourite phrase was ‘is this the only way to achieve this goal – surely there has to be a smarter way to achieve the same result faster’. While this was challenging at times, the satisfaction I got from pushing the boundaries was worth the effort. It’s a way of thinking that has stuck with me throughout my life.
I’m now using that knowledge and some of my spare time to give back to the hospital and the community that has served my family well over the years. In particularly I’m passionate about the elderly being adequately prepared when it comes to end of life care. While we come into this world kicking and screaming, I believe we should leave this world peacefully and if possible on our terms. That’s why I’m a firm believer and advocate for Advanced Care Planning.
I’m really proud to serve on the Consumer Council, along with ten other committed members. We all come from various walks of life, and each has a story to tell. As prior users of the health system and representatives of our communities, it’s our job to bring the consumer and whaanau and community perspective to the development of Counties Manukau Health plans, policies, publications and operational decisions and to raise issues that are being identified in the community.
Over the past two years, the Council has been involved with over 90 projects, which include the Healthy Together strategy, End of Life – Amber Care programme, Cancer Steering group, Sustainability programme, building extension plans, and the Stanford University ‘Health Self-Management training. This has been really exciting to see and re-enforcement that people see real value in the services we provide.
I’ve also noticed a real shift in thinking. The patient/consumer and whaanau voice has got stronger and is now being heard and included in the development of services and programmes. The Consumer Council has a closer relationship with various departments/services and a much better understanding of how the hospital functions.
I’m extremely grateful to serve on the Consumer Council. It makes me immensely proud to make a real difference to the people we represent and to provide a valuable service to staff.
If you would like more information about the Consumer Council click here.