Diana Aspinall, champion of health consumers
Health consumers everywhere have lost a true champion with the passing of Diana Aspinall, at age 80.
A leading figure in the development of the health consumer movement in the Blue Mountains, Diana was also one of our (Health Consumers NSW’s) founding members. She set a wonderful example over 45 years of the way consumer advocates can make a lasting difference to health and community care.
A former registered nurse, Diana used her own experience as someone living with multiple health conditions to highlight the everyday needs for healthcare in her region and society. Diana worked at local, state and national levels.
Among her many contributions, she was involved at different times with community development programs, countering domestic violence, community nursing for youth and children, arthritis, chronic pain management and consumer-led research for people living with cancer.
Diana was the driving force behind the Division of GP Consumer Reference Group which went on to contribute to the co-design of the unique joint NBM ML/PHN-LHD consumer engagement structures of which Diana was one of the chief architects. The co-design process nurtured an innovative model of engagement which continues to this day.
An important step she said was for the Nepean Blue Mountains Medical Local (on which she was a board member) and the Local Health District to join with consumers to form an interim Joint Consumer Engagement Committee. She was a member of the board of the PHN which followed.
Diana was a very strong advocate for mentoring. In recent years, as she stepped back from being an active consumer representative, she became a mentor to many local consumer representatives and supported them in their roles.
Her advocacy demonstrated that it is often non-clinical matters which are vitally important to effective health care. The sorts of issues she sought to address included not only workforce supply but also transport and parking availability at health centres, access for disabled people, travel costs and centralised access to health information services.
Diana is survived by her husband Ron and children Heather and David, grandson Jono, and many grateful health consumers.