June 28, 2010

Public Expectations of the Health Care System

New report gives a community perspective on health care

What do you expect of the health care system?

It's a lofty question that conjures up many different answers, depending on who you ask. That's why the Winnipeg Health Region turned to its Community Health Advisory Councils (CHAC) for getting a community perspective on the public's expectation of health care.

In January 2010, 85 members of CHAC were asked to examine the topic: Public Expectations of the Health Care System.

Results of their discussions have been unveiled in a new report. The volunteer council members have come up with a list of what they consider "reasonable" and "unreasonable" expectations, as well as suggestions on how those expectations can be managed and communicated with the public.

Suggestions include better communication around wait times at hospital emergency departments and better access to health services.

There were also specific ideas on how to better educate and inform people about when it's appropriate to access various health services like the hospital emergency departments, urgent care, primary care clinics, their family doctor, etc.

This latest report from CHAC will be used by the Board of Directors for the Winnipeg Health Region, funded agencies and community programs.

"The work done by CHAC is a valuable resource for us," says President and CEO of the Winnipeg Health Region, Arlene Wilgosh. "As a health region, a patient-first focus is a priority for us and the partnership we have with CHAC provides an important community voice and perspective that will help improve the health and well-being of the people we serve."

Johnanne Drabchuk just finished her first year of a three-year term as council member for the River East/Transcona CHAC. She says her motivation is simple.

"I want something better for my kids and eventually I'm going to be getting older too and will probably need more health care services."

Drabchuk is one of more than 300 volunteers who have served on the CHACs since they were established by the Winnipeg Health Region in 2002.

Council members have provided innovative suggestions on topics from patient safety to compassionate care. Their input has helped shape the direction of many programs and initiatives in the region.

Read a Summary of the Public Expectations of the Health Care System Report

Read the full Public Expectations of the Health Care System Report

Read more about the Community Health Advisory Councils

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