Support for setting up a health consumer council

4 Jul 2016 | Partners in Care

‘Establishing a patient and family advisory council is an effective way to create a formal structure to seek and incorporate patient feedback on an ongoing basis.’  (Health Research and Educational Trust. 2015. Partnering to improve quality and safety: a framework for working with patient and family advisors. p6. Chicago, IL: Health Research & Educational Trust. URL:, accessed June 2015).

The Health Quality & Safety Commission is pleased to see that some district health boards (DHBs) have already formed consumer councils made up entirely of consumer representatives, while others are in development. These councils have slightly different ways of working; some have a strong relationship with clinical governance and report to the board. 

A national network has recently been formed consisting of consumer council chairs, members and staff involved in supporting and developing consumer councils. The network’s first teleconference was held in June. All involved found the meeting useful, and there was unanimous support for regular meetings for the purposes of:

  • mutual support and information sharing about consumer councils and consumer engagement
  • supporting the development of consumer councils in areas where they are not established
  • developing shared resources relating to consumer councils, consumer engagement and co-design.

The next meeting is scheduled for September, and the Commission hopes this will be a face-to-face meeting (venue to be determined) with the option of teleconferencing in.

To join the network please send your contact details to Graeme Norton at

Find out more about consumer councils, including where to get information to help you run or establish a consumer council, recruitment tools, checklists and stories from other DHBs on how they set up their consumer council. We’d love to hear from you about any similar work you’ve been doing. Contact Chris Walsh to share your story.

Last updated 08/05/2020