The VHA is only as strong as its relationship with its members. To be effective, the VHA must determine the issues of most importance to its membership and utilise members' expertise to inform its policy work. Throughout the past two years, the VHA has sought to determine the most effective forms of member engagement. The VHA will continue to evolve these activities over the coming years and aims to provide maximum opportunity for members to provide input into its activities.
VHA is the only member association truly reflecting the public healthcare sector within Victoria. Our own governance structure is representative of our membership base, and currently comprises:
- Health service CEOs
- Health service board members and
Input into the policy sphere
Members of the VHA are encouraged to influence VHA policy development. The VHA regularly hold member consultations to facilitate input into submissions and policy positions, enabling member expertise to be fully utilised. The VHA also has a range of working groups, formed to provide input to the development of VHA position statements.
The VHA holds an annual conference and forum series to stimulate debate on the latest government policy directions and to review academic research on critical issues facing the public healthcare sector. These events facilitate member-to-member communication and access to government ministers, health bureaucrats and health academics.
Access to decision makers
The VHA has regular direct meetings with the Office of the Minister for Health, with the senior members of the bureaucratic structure within DHS and with other relevant peak bodies and academics. The VHA also facilitates member meetings with the Minister for Health and senior bureaucrats within each calendar year.
The VHA continues to build our resource base of exemplar models to assist our member Board Directors to carry out their fiduciary responsibilities. Clinical governance models and a change management tool have been developed and continue to be refined. Examples of financial reporting and other 'user friendly' tools will be identified and communicated in coming periods.
VHA holds regular meetings to provide an opportunity for member CEOs to network on the policy issues impeding their operational capacity. These meetings can take place at the VHA or through member visits.
Members receive automatic subscriptions to the following:
- HealthMatters, a quarterly flagship publication that debates current local, national and international health policy.
- eUpdate, an e-newsletter published monthly to members via email incorporating the VHA's latest activities.
- Sector updates on proposed and new policy and legislation that affect health services.
The VHA worked hard to increase its media profile by forging relationships with metropolitan and regional print and broadcast journalists by providing timely and relevant commentary and media releases on health issues of significance.
The press release and opinion piece that supported our endorsed position on Small Rural Health Service Funding generated a commitment from Victoria's Minister of Health to review this funding model during 2008/09.