Christchurch mother-of-three Emma Jeffery is certainly qualified to be the consumer voice for the South Island Well Child Tamariki Ora (WCTO) Quality Improvement (QI) Steering Group. Currently parenting a teenager, a six-year-old and a three-year-old, Emma has plenty of experience to share.
“I became a mother for the first time when I was 19 and on my own. So, I had one child when I was young – who is now 16-years-old – and at the other extreme, I am raising my other two kids in my 30s.”
Emma, a graphic designer, joined the WCTO group in November last year. A friend in the industry had come across the opportunity and suggested she would be a perfect fit for the role.
As Consumer Representative, Emma takes part in the group’s quarterly meetings and offers her perspective on any projects, initiatives, resources, and issues discussed at the meetings. She also attended one of the South Island SUDI Prevention workshops in December last year.
“I’m really enthusiastic about women and families having easy access to good child health and parenting services during those significant first few years of beginning a family,” Emma says. “And I feel there is also potential for professionals to overlook things from a consumer’s viewpoint, because they can be so busy behind the scenes and routines in their daily practice, so it can be helpful for them to hear more of a grassroots perspective – especially when making quality improvement changes to the system.”
Emma says her networks of family, friends and other mums at school and preschool groups are also a valuable resource. “I’m always trying to gauge what I’ve heard and how they would potentially feel about certain issues or initiatives, which is really helpful.”Emma grew up in Taranaki and has lived in Christchurch for the past 20 years. She says being a part of the WCTO group has been an enjoyable and interesting experience so far, learning about how it all works behind the scenes. “It also makes me really appreciate the services we have available, compared with other countries. I had one of my children in the UK, which was quite a different experience, but it did highlight how good we have it here.”