CONSUMER COUNCIL

Co-chairs

Ms Laila Hallam

With over 25 years in senior sales & marketing roles in mostly large organisations across a range of diverse industries, Laila has commenced postgraduate research in understanding Patient-Centred Care.

Laila also works with Sydney Local Health District to better understand patient and family needs and their place in their treatment. Her focus is to work with healthcare organisations to understand, recognise and facilitate the immense value and knowledge that patients and their families contribute to their own personal healthcare – for better health outcomes.

Laila became an accidental advocate for her father over 10 years ago. Tortured with a rapidly failing body, and losing his ability to speak, Laila took on her father's voice as he lost his.

Mr Tomas Ratoni

Tomas Ratoni is a Paediatric Clinical Nurse Consultant. He has a background primarily in paediatric critical care and paediatric and neonatal retrieval medicine. More recently, has discovered a taste for general paediatrics.

He has a passion for teaching and is an instructor for Australian Paediatric Life Support.

Members

Mr Craig Cooper

Craig Cooper is the Positive Life NSW CEO and holds a post graduate diploma in Clinical Drug Dependence Studies from Macquarie University and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Sydney. He’s worked in community services and public health since 1990 and examples of the agencies he’s worked for are: ACON; NAPWHA; NTAHC; and AIVL.

He has been living with HIV since 2003 and has worked with people in the criminal justices system and child protection services; people who inject drugs; gay men; Aboriginal people; people living with HIV and HCV.

Ms Kathy Dempsey

Kathy has been a carer for her son for more than 18 years. Navigating a cancer diagnosis and a bone marrow transplant, she understands the challenges faced by parents of chronically ill children.

She has worked in hospitals as a nurse for more than 30 years, so has profound knowledge of hospitals from both sides of the fence.

She wants to be a voice for change and influence, and enable patients to better navigate their journey and partner with their health care workers.

Mr Luke Escombe

Luke Escombe is a musician and comedian who has learnt to see his 20 years of living with an embarrassing chronic illness as an asset. He has spoken about his bowel movements to strangers on four continents and received standing ovations.

Luke is the creator of "Chronic", a one-man comedy show about living with Crohn’s Disease, and "The Vegetable Plot", a roots music band for kids which promotes healthy eating through funky music and corny puns.

Luke wants to inspire change in the culture of health, putting the patient’s humanity at the centre of the conversation.

Ms Zoe Fernance

Zoe Fernance is passionate about improving the health system and the care and services it provides to patients. More than ten years of carer and personal advocate experience in paediatric and adult services across several chronic diseases have taught her that health professionals, patients and their families need to work in a mutually respectful partnership to achieve the best health outcomes for patients.

Improving health literacy is a particular interest area. She is a member of Health Consumers NSW and participates in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Consumer and Community Advisory Network and the Patient Care Committee.

Previously, she held various senior operational management roles in the Corporate Sector.

Ms Kelly Foran

Kelly Foran, founder and CEO of the Friendly Faces Helping Hands Foundation, is an enthusiastic businesswoman. From firsthand experience she knows the frailty of life and of the often overwhelming challenges faced when country people become ill or injured. For several years from 2002 Kelly and her young son endured a harrowing list of illnesses, which saw her family leaving their home in rural New South Wales and spending time in hospitals in Sydney and Brisbane.

In the seven years since the Foundation’s inception over 70,000 people have been assisted. Kelly regularly does inspirational presentations and speaking engagements, which rarely leave a dry eye in the audience.

Ms Maria Heaton

Maria is the mother of three children, Danica, Tristan and Tiarna. Tristan and Tiarna were diagnosed with Isolated Lissencephaly Sequence and lived for 18 and 3 years respectively. During their lives there were many health interactions and it is Tristan and Tiarna’s legacy that Maria continues to advocate for people with intellectual disability, carers and for people from a non-English speaking background.

Maria has a Masters in Nursing Education and currently works as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in Paediatric Palliative Care. She is a co-chair of the ACI intellectual Disability Network, is a member of the NSW Carers Advisory Council and is a member of the NSW Council for People with Intellectual Disability. Finally she was the 2012 NSW Carer of the Year.

Mr Harry Iles-Mann

Harry is a patient/consumer advocate and speaker from Sydney. He has a vision for a future in which the public are health literate, and enjoy access to health care services which support and enable their own health and well-being management.

He has over 20 years’ experience as a patient relying on health systems for the treatment and management of several serious physical and mental health issues. His clients include the Australian Digital Health Agency on the delivery of its My Health Record, and the National Digital Health Strategy more broadly.

He sits as a consumer representative on a number of national panels and committees focusing on similar digital, chronic, and mental health initiatives.

Ms Fay Jackson

Fay has been Deputy Commissioner, NSW Mental Health Commission since 2013 and General Manager of Inclusion for Flourish Australia, supporting people with mental health issues.

She founded Vision In Mind, a mental health consultancy and training service and is a multi-award winning advocate and speaker across Australia and internationally. She is also on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Registry, with lived experience of severe mental health issues, recovery and chronic physical health issues.

Fay wants to blow the lid off the “recovery” ceiling, which leads to the tyranny of low expectations by most stakeholders in mental health. She wants to see an end to forced treatment, seclusion and restraint in mental health services.

Mr Adam Johnston

Adam Johnston is a solicitor, with extensive and varied experience on many committees and complaint handling roles.

He currently serves as a community member on advisory and governance committees of the Northern Sydney Local Health District, Health Consumers NSW, Sydney North Primary Health Network and the NSW Health Clinical Ethics Advisory Panel. He is currently a PhD (Law) Student at Macquarie University.

As a member of the Consumer Council, Adam wishes to enhance and support research and development, to see more basic research translated into better health.

Ms Helen Mantziaris

Helen has worked for twenty years in the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) area in many capacities, as a community development worker, a liaison officer, a multicultural worker and advocate for services to these communities.

Since her retirement she has been involved in several Health Advisory committees. Currently she is a member of the Multicultural Health Services Stakeholders Advisory Committee, the SESLHD District Consumer and Community Council (DCCC), and the CEC and ACI Council.

Helen’s passion is to support an inclusive health model with equal and equitable access for all.

Mr Michael Morris

Michael’s experience of being the father to a young son who had a non-fatal drowning and subsequent long journey in the NSW Health system led him to be interested in the performance of multidisciplinary teams and health systems and how they can be better integrated to improve the management of chronic and complex care.

He is also interested in supporting both patients and their families in their healthcare journey.

As an emergency management, community services and consumer advocacy specialist, he is passionate about community risk reduction and injury prevention. He wants to ask questions differently and to move towards the ‘art of the possible’.

Mr Brad Rossiter

Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 5, Brad grew up in Sydney and moved to Batemans Bay in 1985. Married to Lorae, they have one son. Complications from diabetes (renal failure, dialysis and later kidney and pancreas organ transplants, legal blindness and amputations to both legs), have not slowed Brad down.

In August 2007 he and Lorae established the Eurobodalla Renal Support Group, hosting weekly community events promoting local health & accessibility. He is the Chair of the Eurobodalla Health Service Community Representative Committee, Eurobodalla Shire Disability & Inclusive Advisory Committee, Donate Life Community Partner & Key Stakeholders, Kidney Health Australia Consumer Council.

His awards include Eurobodalla Shire Citizen of the Year 2012, Kidney Health Australia Operation Angel Award, Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, Batemans Bay Hospital Auxiliary Patron & invited guest speaker.

Ms Ro-Anne Stirling-Kelly

Ro-Anne Stirling-Kelly is a proud descendant of the Anmatyerre people of Central Australia. She was born, educated and works on the land of the Dunghutti Nation in Kempsey NSW. Trained in nursing and with 30 years' varied experience in health, she has worked in the Aboriginal community controlled sector, youth work, health education, audiometry, sexual health and in general practice for the 'Closing the Gap' program.

In 2013 she became a Project Officer for the Aboriginal Identification in Hospitals Quality Improvement Project at Kempsey District Hospital and now works as the Consumer Engagement Coordinator for the Mid North Coast Local Health District.

She is passionate about equity and access to quality health care for all Australians.

Dr Coralie Wales

As the founder and current President of Chronic Pain Australia Coralie has a deep understanding of the consumer experience of illness, disability and stigma. On behalf of Chronic Pain Australia she convenes National Pain Week annually, aiming to de-stigmatise the experience of pain.

Coralie manages Community and Consumer Partnerships for Western Sydney Local Health District and in that role advocates for consumers to inform health system change.

In July 2018 her article “People in pain want to be believed” was published in the Medical Journal of Australia InSight series.

In 2017 she presented research about Consumer experiences at the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua) conference in London. In 2016 she was awarded the University of Sydney Alumni Award for Community Achievement and in 2015 won first prize in the Co-design category at the APAC forum in New Zealand.