You enter the meeting room. A number of people are standing around the room. You see a woman who you think might be [[Lucy]], the [[Secretariat]]. \n\n[[You take a seat towards the middle of the meeting table.|sit-down]]\n\n[[You introduce yourself to the Secretariat.|speak-to-lucy]]\n\n
You deliberately make eye contact with the other members as you leave the room, and try to say goodbye to everyone. A few people, including John and Derek, shake your hand.\n\n[[You leave the room.|finish]]
Janet thanks everyone for attending the [[Medications Access Committee]], and introduces you as the new representative from the [[Consumer Coalition]]. She requests that each of the other members introduce themselves for your benefit. The other members include representatives from local and federal government departments, health peak bodies and medical associations. You also see that John, who works at the local university is there, and recall that Rick, the previous Consumer Coalition representative, warned you that he didn't get along with him. \n\nJanet asks for [[apologies|Apologies]], and then invites members to review the previous [[Minutes]]. After the Minutes are accepted by the Committee, she begins to move through the [[Action Items]] from the Minutes. She asks Derek, the representative from the Health Department to provide an update on the Online Medications Database. \n\nDerek reports that in the last month they have 'piloted the portal with a test group of consumers, and obtained feedback on its accessibility, navigation, presentation and delivery', and that they will be publishing within the next two weeks. The Chair asks if anyone has questions or comments, and a few people glance at you because he mentioned the word 'consumer'. Although you read about the Online Medications Database in the previous Minutes, Derek's jargon doesn't make sense to you. \n\n[[You ask Derek for more information.|ask-derek]]\n\n[[You decide to stay quiet.|dont-ask-derek]]\n
You decide to ignore John for now, just in case there was something to Rick's warning about him. However, John startles you by sitting down next to you and introducing himself. He says he thought you raised a valid point about consumer consultation, and explains that his university will be assisting Derek's department to develop the evaluation framework for the Online Medical Database. \n\nYou regret letting Rick's personal politics get in your way. You hope you may have another ally on this issue in John, and talk to him for a few minutes about the evaluation framework. \n\n[[The meeting reconvenes.|meeting-reconvenes]] \n
You decide to stay quiet, and the Chair continues to move through the Actions. However, you find you are still confused, and think that a) the committee shouldn't be using unnecessary jargon, and b) it's possible that there are also other people in the room who didn't understand what Derek was saying. You ask the Chair if you can go back to that item and ask for more information. \n\n[[She obliges.|ask-derek]]
Janet is the Chair of the [[Medications Access Committee]], and is an advisor to the Minister for Health, who established the Committee. \n\n<<gback>>
The Secretariat is responsible for providing administrative support to the committee, such as organising meetings including travel and claiming expenses, contacting members, and taking minutes. \n\nThe Secretariat can assist you with having information photocopied, placing items onto the agenda, sending you all the papers prior to the meeting, accessing committee resources (such as phone or fax), and being included in informal discussions. \n\n<<gback>>
You decide not to press the issue further, as you are worried you will be viewed a nuisance. A week later though, when you have submitted your email report to [[Melanie]] at the [[Consumer Coalition]], she writes back asking for more information on this issue; wanting to know with whom and how they tested the website. She asks you to follow this up again at the next meeting or out of session. \n\n<<gback>>
Melanie is a Consumer Representative Liaison Officer at the [[Consumer Coalition]], your nominating organisation, and is your key contact there. \n\n<<gback>>
Position Statements (also known as Policy Statements / Policy Positions or Policy Platforms) articulate the views or standing points of an organisation on specific issues. \n\n<<gback>>
The Committee begins discussing medication labelling, and in particular; reported problems around people taking incorrect dosages. You have been waiting for this Agenda item - this is an issue close to your heart, as one of your elderly relatives took an incorrect dosage and was sent to hospital because the writing on the label of his medication was too small for him to read. You are aware that this is a common issue raised by health consumers. \n\nJanet says it would be interesting to get a formal consumer perspective on this issue. But before you get to have your say, one of the other Committee members, Jack, complains 'but we're all consumers'. He talks about an experience he had where he received medication that was incorrectly labelled. You see a couple of Committee members roll their eyes at each other, and others ignore him. You feel it is an important issue, and want to support some of Jack's points. \n\n[[You tell the Committee about your relative's experience.|tell-personal-experience]] \n\n[[You brings Jack's story back to some of the broader issues that have been raised by consumers on this topic.|do-not-tell-personal-experience]]
You tell them you don't know, and explain it wasn't an Agenda item. Janet, the Chair, nods in understanding, although a few people look disappointed. Janet suggests that it be included as a formal Agenda item for the next meeting. \n\n<<gback>>\n
You state that this is a common experience for consumers, and was discussed at a national consumer symposium last year. You report that particular groups affected included the elderly, vision-impaired, those for whom English is a second language, and people with low literacy levels.\n\nOther members seem interested in the symposium, and you are asked if there had been any discussion on strategies to address this issue. You list some of the ideas that had been suggested. \n\nJanet asks if you can prepare a written briefing for the Committee. You hesitate - you aren't sure it is within the scope of your role on the Committee to prepare written briefings; nor do you think it is appropriate to do so without checking with the Consumer Coalition. You remember that the symposium produced a report that would contain this information; and the Consumer Coalition also has a Position Statement which includes information on labelling of medications. \n\n[[You suggest that you circulate the Report and Position Statement to members out of session, and follow up with the Consumer Coalition to see if they would like further input.|missed-agenda-items]]\n\n[[You suggest that you bring the Report and Position Statement to the next meeting, and follow up with the Consumer Coalition to see if they would like further input.|missed-agenda-items]]
You introduce yourself to Lucy. She introduces you to a couple of other Committee members, and the [[Chair]], [[Janet]]. You make small talk with the members you have just met while you are waiting for the meeting to begin. After a few moments, people begin to sit down, and you take a place at the middle of the table where you will be able to see everyone and they will be able to see you. \n\nYou make a deliberate effort to make eye contact, smile and say hello to the other members, and introduce yourself to the people who sit down either side of you. \n\n[[Janet opens the meeting.|meeting-starts]]\n
You take a seat at the middle of the meeting table, where you will be able to see everyone and they will be able to see you. After a few moments, Lucy approaches you and introduces herself. You introduce yourself to her, and she points out [[Janet]], the [[Chair]]. \n\nThe other members begin to sit down and you make a deliberate effort to make eye contact, smile and say hello to the other members; and introduce yourself to the people who sit down either side of you. \n\n[[Janet opens the meeting.|meeting-starts]] \n
Lucy provides [[Secretariat]] support to the [[Medications Access Committee]], and works for [[Janet]], the [[Chair]] of the Committee. \n\n<<gback>>
The Chair begins to move through the [[Agenda]] items. Occasionally, where you think it's important, you ask the speaking member to clarify a term or provide more explanation.\n\nThe Committee gets side-tracked on a debate about the ethics of an Electronic Prescription Tracking System, which was not on the Agenda. Members are discussing the benefits of consumers and pharmacists having access to their records; versus respecting consumer confidentiality. One of the members asks you what you think. You feel unprepared, having been put on the spot.\n\n[[You say you don't know.|dont-know]]\n\n[[You say you would like to consult with the Consumer Coalition, and come back with a response out of session or at the next meeting.|consult-with-consumer-coalition]]\n
The Medications Access Committee is a national committee that seeks to improve appropriate access to prescriptions and medications in Australia. It was established by the Minister for Health, and is Chaired by her advisor, [[Janet]]. \n\n//Please note that the Medications Access Committee is a fictional committee.// \n\n<<gback>>
You get back in the lift to go downstairs. \n\n//End//
The Agenda provides an overview and outlines the order of items that will be discussed at the meeting.\n\n<<gback>>
You state that you think the Consumer Coalition would be interested in contributing to the discussion; and that you would like to consult with them out of session. \n\nThe Chair notes this as an action that all members are to consult with their stakeholders and come prepared for a discussion on this topic at the next meeting. You recall that the Consumer Coalition has a [[Policy Statement|Position Statements]] on this. \n\nLunch arrives, and the meeting is adjourned for ten minutes. You see John making himself a cup of coffee. \n\n[[You heed Rick's warning and ignore John for now.|ignore-john]] \n\n[[You decide to introduce yourself to John.|talk-to-john]]
The Minutes provide a written record of discussions, action items and agreements that took place during the meeting. \n\n<<gback>>
The Chair agrees and asks Lucy to note it down as an action.\n\nThere is only five minutes of the meeting left, and you note that there are still two Agenda items. You think one of them is particularly important and relevant to consumers - it relates to accessing prescriptions through General Practitioners. Janet suggests that the Committee skip the last two items and go straight to 'Other Business'.\n\nYou suggest that the additional Agenda items be placed early on the Agenda for the next meeting, and the other Committee members agree to this. Following 'Other Business', Janet thanks everyone for attending and closes the meeting. People begin to rise from their seats. Some leave the room immediately, while others move slowly and continue to chat.\n \nYou make a point of smiling and saying goodbye to the other members as you leave.\n\n

You walk up to John and introduce yourself. He seems pleased to meet you and says he thought you raised a valid point about consumer consultation. He explains that his university will be assisting Derek's department to develop the evaluation framework for the Online Medical Database. \n\nYou are glad you didn't let Rick's personal politics get to you. You hope you may have another ally on this issue in John, and talk to him for a few minutes about the evaluation framework. \n\n[[The meeting reconvenes.|meeting-reconvenes]] \n
Action Items are noted in meetings where the committee or one of its members is required to undertake a specific task outside of the meeting. They are included in the [[Minutes]]. \n\n<<gback>>
You state that there wasn't a consumer representative at the last meeting. Derek concedes that the process was not ideal; but his Department had pressing time and budgetary restraints. \n\nYou know that it is too late to change the outcome on this issue now, as the website will be up and running within the fortnight. You instead suggest that the Committee look at how it might incorporate consumer consultation into reviewing and evaluating the website; and ask them to commit to having a broader discussion about consumer consultation at a future meeting. \n\nYour idea is supported by the representative from the Health Peak, who suggests it be placed on the Agenda for the next meeting. You're pleased that another member has engaged in the discussion, and mentally note down her interest in this issue. She may be a useful ally in the future. Derek agrees to engage in a discussion about incorporating consumer consultation into a review of the website.\n\n[[This is noted in the Minutes.|side-tracked]] \n
You tell the Committee about your elderly relative's experience, and how he too required hospitalisation. The Chair thanks you and Jack for sharing but says 'I'm sure we all have personal stories but we need to focus on the evidence'. You remember from your consumer representative training that you were advised to 'leave your story at the door'. \n\n<<gback>>\n
The Consumer Coalition is an organisation for consumers undertaking representational roles, and is your nominating organisation. [[Melanie]] is your contact officer there. \n\n//Please note that the Consumer Coalition is a fictional organisation.// \n\n<<gback>>
Apologies are from people who are unable to attend the meeting. They are noted at the beginning of the meeting and included in the [[Minutes]]. \n\n<<gback>>
The Committee Chair / Chairperson is responsible for facilitating meetings; managing decision making; ensuring all community members participate in committee tasks and that the work of the committee is completed. The Chairperson may cast the deciding vote if the committee is split on an issue.\n\n<<gback>>
You ask Derek if he can provide more information, using your newness as an excuse. He explains that his Department is responsible for implementing the Online Medications Database, which has come about because people are increasingly turning to the Internet for information about medications. This Database will provide one website that people can access for correct and up-to-date information. \n\nYou ask him to explain what work had taken place within the last month. He explains that they piloted (tested) the website with a group of consumers, to get their feedback on how easy it was to use and understand, and whether they liked the look of it. \n\nYou're glad you asked, especially when you see a couple of other people nodding like they now understand it too. You ask Derek how many consumers he tested it with. He tells you there were 12 consumers in the group. \n\nThis surprises you - you expected that for a national initiative there would have been a more rigorous consultation. You question whether there will be more consultation occurring. \n\nDerek tells you this is unlikely, and explains that there was an opportunity to discuss the process at the last Committee meeting. You know from having read the previous Minutes that there was no consumer representative at the last meeting, with Rick finishing up two meetings prior. \n\n[[You decide not to press the issue.|do-not-press-issue]]\n\n[[You politely pursue your position; and relay your concerns about the issue.|pursue-position]]\n