Our consumers as “recruiters”: Patients selecting the future employees of Melbourne Health

Miss Rhiannon Beggs1

1The Royal Melbourne Hospital , Parkville 3050, Australia 


Aim: The importance of consumer involvement in health services is widely recognised, however, limited literature exists to dictate which approach leads to the best possible involvement of consumers. The Melbourne Health Allied Health (AH) Department implemented an innovative consumer model to determine the benefit of having a consumer voice in hiring the future workforce.


Method: 6 consumer representatives underwent traditional volunteer training conducted by the organisation (mandatory training & induction) with the addition of training sessions unique to AH. An in-depth overview of AH and specialist recruitment training was provided. Additionally, new procedures and workshops were offered to AH staff to support them working with consumer representatives. After a 12 month period, a survey was sent to all senior staff that were responsible for recruitment to determine the impact of having consumers on interview panels. Similarly a survey was sent to 3 active consumers to gauge their response.


Results: Over 12 months more than 40 interview panels were conducted with a consumer present. Survey results obtained for AH staff involved in recruitment revealed that:

  • Having a consumer voice led to improved confidence in candidate selection.
  • Staff see value in the consumer voice.
  • Staff would recommend having a consumer on interview panels.


Significance of the findings for Allied Health: By embedding the consumer voice in recruitment, AH is able to develop a workforce that is more able to represent our consumer needs and ensures a true partnership between staff and consumers.