Involving consumers in what we do
We know that the work we do, and the decisions we make, directly affect New Zealanders.
We work hard to ensure New Zealanders get the best health outcomes we can achieve from within our fixed budget.
“A key principle of the PHARMAC model is that we make decisions that are evidence-based, and we consider a wide range of clinical, economic and commercial information to ensure we make balanced decisions. We seek this information from a range of sources including pharmaceutical suppliers, clinicians, other health professionals and consumers,” says Sarah Fitt.
“It’s important to us that people can have input into our decision-making. We also want it to be easy for people to see how and why we made a particular decision.”
This year, we carried out important work to identify what people think is working well in the way we currently engage, and what improvements we can make.
How we consulted
We did a range of things to make sure we heard people’s views during May and June 2018.
We released a discussion document and short online survey that we promoted through social media. We also went out into communities and held meetings at various locations around the country.
As well as our public engagement, we ran a workshop with our Consumer Advisory Committee. This is the group of external representatives who give us input from a patient or health consumer perspectives.
Last but not least, we canvassed the views of our own staff through a workshop and internal forums.
Summary of feedback
We gathered a wide range of feedback from the consultation and other activities.
Some key themes were that people want:
- more visibility of how consumers’ views are taken into account
- greater clarity around how consumers can have input into our funding processes
- more information and rationale on why changes are sometimes made to the brand of medicines publicly funded.
Proposed next steps
“In response to the feedback we received we have developed an action plan and are underway with a number of process and system improvements,” says Sarah.
“This work is focused on improving the visibility and ease of access to information, exploring opportunities for consumers to have further input into funding decisions, and looking at how we can reduce the impact of brand changes on consumers.”
Our consultation also highlighted that while some consumers have strong channels to voice their views and needs, such as advocacy and support groups, there are potentially many consumers who we don’t currently hear from.
It’s important to us that we understand the needs and views of consumers across the range of communities we serve. So, we are also planning work to help develop a more complete understanding of our consumers and how best to engage with them.
“This work is pivotal to making PHARMAC a more open and responsive organisation, as well as supporting the success of our work to eliminate access inequities,” says Sarah.
Last updated: 13 December 2018