Photo: Ms Jane Williams (Chair) © Central West Hospital and Health Service

“Either way, it is very important for us
to hear what local communities think about their health
– Ms Jane Williams (Chair)

The Central West Hospital and Health Service is mounting a push for more local residents to
become involved in helping plan, develop and review their health services.

Central West Health Board Chair Jane Williams said community participation was vital to ensure
health services were meeting local needs.

“We currently have active Community Advisory Networks (CANs) at Alpha, Winton, Longreach
and Barcaldine,’’ Ms Williams said.

“The membership in a couple of these CANs has waned over the past 18 months and we need
to give some attention to renewal and providing better support to the networks.

“We would also like to establish a CAN at Blackall, which has not previously had one, and
provide similar opportunities for community involvement at other regional towns.

“But we can only do this with community support.’’

The role of local CANs is to:

• Increase community awareness of their health and health care services.

• Inform and advise the health board and health service providers on local health care

• Contribute to the planning, design, delivery and improvement of health care services.

“Local CANs can work with us and other health service providers to ensure their communities’
views are heard,’’ Ms Williams said.

“As such, they are also an integral component of providing feedback to the Western
Queensland Primary Health Network (PHN).

“The Western Queensland PHN is committed to working in partnership with Central West
Health, as well as the North West and South West hospital and health services, in undertaking
ongoing joint engagement with western Queensland communities through local representative
groups such as CANs.

“This reduces unnecessary overlap and provides communities with the strongest opportunity to
influence and shape both state and federally-funded healthcare activities.

“We are aware some smaller communities had local Health Action Groups sponsored by the
former Medicare Local and we will be working locally to revive these, where there is no CAN, or
find other ways to involve local communities and seek their involvement.

“Directors of Nursing in outlying towns will be pro-active in reviving local consultation and
supporting the flow of information to residents.

“Either way, it is very important for us to hear what local communities think about their health

“Only with this feedback can we and organisations like the Western Queensland PHN look at
how we can better meet our communities’ health needs now and in the future.’’

Ms Williams said Central West Health would be mounting a push to build the community
advisory networks over the next month.

“We will be seeking to encourage community members to nominate to join their local CAN,’’ she

“Nomination forms for the CAN will be available at each community’s local hospital office or
primary health care centre.

“I encourage anyone with an interest in their community’s healthcare to ask for a form and
nominate to join their local CAN.

“Joining one of our CANs is an excellent way of helping yourself, your family and your local