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Health Links - promoting community & consumer participation in healthcare decision making

Health Links - promoting community & consumer participation in healthcare decision making

What is Health Links?

Health Links are community-based, non-government organisations (NGOs) whose goals are to:

  • promote community and consumer participation in healthcare decision making
  • foster collaboration between healthcare providers and the community

There are two Health Links organisations in Waitemata's community: Health Link North and Waitakere Health Link

Waitemata map

Waitakere Health Link

Waitakere Health LinkThe Waitakere Health Link community covers the Auckland West area defined by the local government wards of Waitakere Ward, and Whau Ward to and including New Lynn (see attached map). It includes the local boards of Whau, Waitakere and Henderson-Massey.

 

Health Link North

Healthlink NorthHealth Link North’s community covers the Auckland North are defined by the local government wards of Rodney, Albany and North Shore. It includes the local boards of Rodney, Hibiscus and Bays, Devonport / Takapuna, Kaipatiki and Upper Harbour.


Why are Health Links Important?

Value: ConnectedEvidence clearly shows that healthcare is safer, quality outcomes improve, costs decrease and satisfaction increases when patients, their families / whanau and communities are involved in its design and delivery.

Health Links are the DHB’s key link to its community and consumers.
They are the community and consumer voice in healthcare.


What do Health Links do?

Health Links involve the community and consumers in planning, designing, developing, delivering and reviewing health and disability services across the DHB.  They are involved in a wide range of activities, for example:

  • hosting a network of consumer representatives.  Each Health Link group maintains a register of consumer representatives that DHB staff can directly link with, and provides training for consumers to become representatives.  Consumer representatives are involved in many different ways, including helping to plan and design DHB services, develop policy, and provide advice on quality issues
  • promoting health literacy.  Each Health Link group coordinates a health literacy panel of consumers that provides consumer feedback on patient information materials. The panels review the content and user friendliness of DHB forms, brochures and patient information sheets
  • hosting a NGO network, which provides key links to other community groups and priority populations, for example local councils, Māori, Pacific, Asian, children and young people, people with disabilities, older people, and diverse ethnic communities.  Each Health Link group hosts two NGO open days on the  hospital sites each year, providing an opportunity for services in the community to network with other health providers, hospital staff, students, and consumers
  • providing a consumer voice on DHB committees and in planning workshops; and including PHO representatives on the Health Links' boards
  • informing the community and consumers about important healthcare issues.  Each Health Link group shares information between the DHB and their communities, hosting informative websites
    Waitakere Health Link websiteHealth Link North
  • publish bi-monthly newsletters; host regular community engagement forums; maintain a calendar of community meetings, local board meetings and community events; and host a “find a service” directory

How do we link up?

Regular meetings are held between Health Links groups and DHB staff.  The groups meet with the CEO and Health Link Board Chairs every six weeks, with the Board Chair every six months, and with staff every month at the Community Engagement Forum. The DHB’s Board Chair appoints a DHB Board member to sit on the Health Link Boards.  A Community Engagement Coordinator helps connect Health Link staff, community organisations and consumer representatives with DHB staff,  and works closely with the Health Links in their communities