Community engagement at SALHN


At SALHN we provide health care for more than 350,000 people who mainly live in southern Adelaide. We also care for people from regional South Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales.

See our Community Engagement Strategy (PDF 3.6MB) for more information.

Visit our Community Engagement Hub to learn how you can get involved, get informed and have your say on the future of our healthcare.

What is community engagement?

Community engagement means involving people in issues affecting them and deepening relationships to work collaboratively with groups or individuals who have a common interest in health and wellbeing.

What does community engagement involve, for us?

For SALHN, community engagement involves connecting with the community to build long term relationships, share information, plan and build capacity to shape our health care system for the benefit of our community.


Why is community engagement important, for us?

Developing health-care systems and services in partnership with patients, families, carers and the community is known to improve clinical and individual health, as well as the quality and safety of health services.


What do we mean by community?

Community is made up of the people who live, work, and visit a place, or have a common interest. There are communities of place and communities of interest.

Communities of place are where people identify with a defined geographical area, eg a council, a housing precinct or a neighbourhood.

Communities of interest are where people share a particular experience, or characteristic such as young people, faith groups, older people, people living with a disability, migrant groups or sporting groups.


What is a consumer?

Consumers are patients, users or potential users of health services. Consumers can also be advocates, families and carers, paid or unpaid.

What is a stakeholder?

Any person or group who provides, receives, manages or has an interest or concern in our healthcare are stakeholders. 

Who is our community?

The types of individuals or groups we will engage with who make up our community.

Who they are:

  • health consumers (eg patients, carers)

  • interest groups (eg charities, businesses)

  • stakeholders (eg general practitioners)

  • staff (eg nurses, midwives)

  • our established consumer advisory groups (eg SALHN Partnering with Consumers Advisory Group).

Our vision for community engagement

Our aim is to support our community over the next three years to:

  • better understand your own health and the health system that supports you through health education

  • participate in activities that help shape health care now and into the future

  • embrace new technologies and ways of receiving health care to improve health outcomes for everyone in the community.

How will we do this?
Community engagement is about relationship development, informed decisions, and capacity building. They aren't mutually exclusive, and they can work hand in hand. Each is an essential goal, which will help us achieve our vision.

Our relationships

To build partnerships to improve and innovate. To be a destination for world class treatment, research and training.

Our commitment to engaging with our community

We know we are ‘better together’.

When engaging with our community we commit to the following engagement principles:

  • we know why we are engaging

  • we know the history

  • we know who to engage

  • we start together

  • we are genuine

  • we are relevant and engaging.

How we will engage with our community

Engagement can occur within different groupings such as:

  • Individuals (consumers, patients, their families, carers - paid and unpaid, and advocates as partners in their own health care and treatment

  • Services (partnerships connected to how programs, services, or facilities are designed, structured, evaluated and improved at a local level)

  • Networks (regional engagement across service providers enabling input into broader plans across health)

  • Systems (policy, reform, strategies, and legislative influence across the health system).

Engagement options: Inform, consult, involve, collaborate, empower/community led (development by the International Association in Public Participation).

Our accountability

Preparing and planning for community engagement will involve:

  • Setting the agenda: Developing objectives, expectations and measures of success

  • Informing: Providing information and data to support engagement

  • Involvement and collaboration: Improving structures, processes and support for consultation/debate

  • Empowerment: Investing in skills, capabilities and opportunities to lead change and feedback.

From any point of care, to the Board and back, SALHN will ensure community participation occurs from the Board and Executive level, through to the program, ward and unit level, as well as through our established, consumer advisory groups.

This approach ensures the community can partner with SALHN at all levels.

How we will continuously improve our community engagement

Asking our community for feedback We will regularly ask for feedback from the community. This feedback will form a continuous feedback loop.

We will close the loop - “you said, we did”
Through this feedback we will regularly monitor our community and relationship activities, evaluate the impact of these partnerships and consider how these actions could be improved.

We will embed community engagement into the way, we work
We want community engagement to be a part of the way our health service operates so it is embedded in our organisational culture, policy and governance, as well as in service design and provision.

Reviewing and reporting
We will formally report on our community engagement achievements against our developed measures of success in our annual report on the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

Contact us

For more information, contact:
Office of the CEO
Ph: (08) 8204 4066
email: Health.SALHNCEOOffice@sa.gov.au