Full time carer looks to make the health system efficient
WHEN Belinda Barrie's husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 she was left baffled, frustrated and confused, not only by the diagnosis but by the system put in place to help them.
After spending hours waiting for late appointments, getting lost in hospitals and being confused by medical jargon, Mrs Barrie wanted to make change for the better.
"I kept saying to people, 'who can I talk to about these things' because surely people don't plan things to happen this way,” she said.
"You turn up to an appointment that was meant to be at 9am and you wouldn't get out until 3.30 in the afternoon. You'd have tickets on your car, you had to turn down work because you couldn't get to work.
"Sometimes you'd spend four or five hours just waiting (in emergency) for the right person to tick the box so you can go to the bed on the ward.”
After a few years, Mrs Barrie discovered a Community Reference Group and has since turned her frustration into a way to improve the system.
Since joining the group Mrs Barrie has been part of many changes, including implementing extra hospital signs to prevent people getting lost and utilising wasted spaces. She is currently working on simplifying medical brochures.
"While I have an ambulance background and a little bit of a medical background, it was even baffling for me, the information we were given when John was first diagnosed,” Mrs Barrie said.
As well as caring for her husband, Mrs Barrie also cares for her mum, giving her an unique insight into the medical field, which she said helps her contribute to the health reference group.
"As part of the reference group I am making a difference not just for myself and my family but also for my community,” she said.
Colleen Clur, the West Moreton Health executive director for strategy governance and engagement, said collaboration was vital to improving local health services but the group needed more members.
"The insights and feedback of patients, families and the wider community helps us provide better care and so we are keen to grow our community reference groups,'' Ms Clur said.
Contact West Moreton Health for more information.