Current Perspectives on Consumer Participation among Non Government Drug and Alcohol Service Staff in New South WalesWilson H and Brener L*
Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, Australia
- *Corresponding Author:
- Loren Brener
Centre for Social Research in Health, Level 3
Goodsell Building, UNSW, Sydney, NSW, 2052
Tel: 02 9385 6530
Fax: 02 9385 6455
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: December 08, 2015 Accepted date: February 19, 2016; Published date: February 29, 2016
Citation: Wilson H, Brener L (2016) Current Perspectives on Consumer Participation among Non Government Drug and Alcohol Service Staff in New South Wales. J Community Med Health 6:400. doi:10.4172/2161-0711.1000400
Copyright: © 2016 Wilson H, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
In Australia the successful implementation of consumer participation programs in mental health has demonstrated consumer participation to be achievable, particularly within other marginalized groups of people. The context of drug and alcohol services brings with it particular sensitivities and complexities, and these can present some challenges to implementing consumer participation. The aims of this study were to explore staff opinions current activities, attitudes and challenges in implementing consumer participation models in non government drug and alcohol services in NSW. A semi structured survey was developed, consisting of questions around service user participation, and was sent to non government alcohol and other drug services in New South Wales, Australia. The majority of services reported that they currently engage in some form of consumer participation, however many were unlikely to engage in activities that involved consumers and staff working cohesively together where consumers’ perspectives are equal with those of staff . Despite this, most respondents believed their service could benefit from implementing consumer participation into planning and policy development. Over half the sample agreed that a main barrier to implementing consumer participation activities in their service was around staff concerns that they could not trust service users and that service users would have access to confidential information. Consumer participation has the potential to benefit those who plan and provide health care services, as well as patients who use the service. For staff and service users within the drug and alcohol sector to more successfully implement consumer participation, consumers and staff need to develop a stronger shared trust.