The importance of the consumer perspective

Barry Baulch, who was recently appointed Chairperson of the Community Advisory Group (CAG), reflects on the vital role that consumer advisors play at Mercy Health and the importance of their annual gathering as an opportunity for reflection and learning.

Barry became a consumer advisor for Mercy Health two years ago while his wife, who was gravely ill at the time, was being cared for at Werribee Mercy Hospital. While his wife was in hospital, Barry suggested a number of improvements which were then implemented. Encouraged by a staff member, he volunteered to become a consumer advisor.

Mercy Health Consumer Advisor and CAG Chairperson Barry Baulch

Barry also took on the position out of gratitude for the exemplary way Mercy Health cared for his wife before she passed away in September 2019. “This is my way of giving back,” he says, “and keeping myself busy.”

Having accompanied his wife through prolonged medical treatments and hospital stays, Barry understands how important it is for organisations like Mercy Health to be responsive to consumer needs. “Even if it is something as mundane as hospital signage or patient brochures, we need to ensure that these things are clear, understandable and make the consumer experience as easy and comfortable as possible,” Barry says.

The importance of the consumer advisor role was reinforced at the annual Mercy Health Consumer Advisor Gathering in October 2020. The meeting was held via Zoom due to coronavirus restrictions and featured a special presentation from the Health Issues Centre (HIC).

“We all got the benefit of learning something new,” says Barry. “The presentation reinforced that the consumer voice needs to be listened to and that what we do is an important part of the organisation.”

Despite the limitations of an online get-together, Barry says it was a chance to hear from consumer advisors in different areas of the organisation, including aged and home care. “That’s one of the great things about these annual get-togethers is hearing other people’s experiences and views,” he says.

Mercy Health’s annual national gathering for consumer advisors, which was held via Zoom in October 2020

More so, it is the passion and commitment of Mercy’s consumer advisors to actually make a difference that is a constant source of encouragement and inspiration.

“Mercy consumer advisors are there because they want to be — because we want to give back and make a difference. We genuinely care about the consumer experience and how it can be improved,” says Barry.

If you would like to make a difference and help us to improve the care and services we provide, please contact our Community Experience team at or phone 03 8416 7950.

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Last reviewed March 25, 2021.

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