Valerie, a voice for health service users

1 May 2018

Valerie Ferris

An interest in seeing Tairāwhiti people have access to good quality health services has seen Gordons Pharmacy Manager Valerie Ferris put her hand up to be a consumer voice on Hauora Tairāwhiti’s Clinical Governance Group.

The group is made up of clinical leaders who plan, develop, implement and monitor clinical processes at the District Health Board to make sure services are safe and delivered to the highest standards.

I am really interested in how services are rolled out to meet the community’s needs, says Valerie. “It is important that they meet quality and safety initiatives. I think it is important to give the consumer a voice in decisions around services and I enjoy being an advocate for those that maybe wouldn’t otherwise be heard.”


“I have two children at school in Gisborne and they are involved with different sports clubs so I have a wide network of people I meet through them and their activities. I also work in a pharmacy that provides services to the people living on the East Coast up to Te Araroa, to people living with mental health issues in the community and other people living in the local community. I have a good understanding of the needs of the community especially the people using Hauora Tairāwhiti services.”

As one of the consumer representatives on the Clinical Governance Group Valerie represents the interests of people in Tairāwhiti. “I provide a consumer perspective in discussions and decision making at Clinical Governance Meetings.”

“Through my networks and within my day to day work I talk to people that are using health services. I encourage them to give me provide feedback on how it feels to use these services. It’s important to get a feel for what isn’t working before it turns into a complaint and what is working so success can be acknowledged and good services developed.”

Making a difference

I have recently completed a specialist technician qualification so I have a good knowledge of what quality and safety should look like in health services, says Valerie. “I have an interest in looking at services and seeing what could be done better. Ensuring services meet standards, legal requirements and the needs of the consumers is important. I am comfortable asking questions and joining in discussions with other healthcare providers.”

“I think it is important that people's views are taken into consideration in the planning process. Questions about what people want and what would be useful must be asked. The other leaders on the committee are all committed to ensuring consumers receive the best possible services and are working together to make a difference. It is a privilege to be working with this committee that cares about all of the people in Tairāwhiti receiving the best possible healthcare outcomes. I am learning a lot about the role and really hope to grow in this and make a difference.”

Contact Valerie

Valerie is interested in hearing from people who have feedback on Tairāwhiti health services. Valerie can be contacted at Gordons Pharmacy on the corner of Ormond and Mangapapa Roads or by email