Jillian in aircraft

A patient's voice for care

Date published

17 Sep 2023

Today marks World Patient Safety Day, highlighting the importance of engaging patients for patient safety, and as such, elevating the voice of the patient.

To align with our dedication to delivering the finest care to the furthest corner, a consumer advisory committee has been created to offer support and guidance from a patient's point of view.

In recognition of this day, Jillian Kingsford Smith, a member of the consumer advisory committee, highlighted why the implementation of consumers is so crucial to the RFDS.

With extensive experience in the medical and healthcare industries, Jillian has seen the positive impact of including different perspectives to deliver high quality care to patients.

“As a veteran journalist and author covering healthcare and medical research stories, I have seen first-hand how patient stories can make an enormous impact,” Jillian said.

“It would seem obvious to suggest that patient safety should always be top of mind in the field of health and medicine, however, I think the World Health Organisation dedicating an annual day to the topic provides us all a moment to pause and consider what ‘patient safety’ means to us individually.

“It’s by bringing all these perspectives together that we can hope for significant gains in safety, patient satisfaction and health outcomes universally.”

With a steadfast belief that patients should be partners with their healthcare team in managing their own healthcare strategies, Jillian is passionate about being an advocate for patients across the state. 

“The patient should always have a voice and should always bring the perspective of their own lived experience,” she said.

“A great advantage of partnering with your healthcare team is the sense of empowerment you get from learning about and taking control of your own health.

“A different medical outcome can be achieved when medical practitioners listen - and listen intently - to their patients.

“Similarly, patients and families can learn so much about their own condition or situation by listening to the stories of others who have already walked the path.

“These stories, I know from personal experience, can be life changing.”

Through her role as a consumer with the RFDS, Jillian hopes she will be able to provide a set of ears for people to tell their story.

“Every day I work with healthcare teams and on medical research projects, aiming to provide better health outcomes for Australians. But I also live with a chronic illness and am a born and bred country girl,” she said.

“I hope this interesting mix of professional and life experiences allow people to feel safe and able to engage in sharing their own experiences with me, so as we can create empowering outcomes together.”

The RFDS (Queensland Section) are committed to ensuring the finest care is continued to be provided to the furthest corners of the state.