September 2, 2022

Meet Consumer Representative, Gordon Dennis

Mill Park local and retired soldier, Gordon Dennis, has been a consumer representative for Northern Health since 2018.

He uses his engineering expertise, skills and experience to look at health care systems and processes through a unique lens.

“I did 30 years in uniform, ending my service as an Artificer Sergeant Major – Electronic Systems, and then another nine years in Defence as a ‘civie’ working for special projects,” Gordon said.

Through his career, Gordon worked on various projects including Quality Management (ISO9000) for which he received a national award in Canberra.  

Gordon receiving his national award

He and his wife moved to Mill Park in 1995. He has two daughters and two granddaughters and has been widowed since 2015.

Gordon came to be involved with Northern Health after hearing a presentation from Sherrilyn Ballard, Consumer Participation Coordinator, and was intrigued to learn more about how his background and knowledge could be of use.

He says, “living alone can be lonely and therefore depressing. Finding things to do allows you to meet people, engage in conversations, discover something new and dispel the feeling of being alone.”

“We are told to treat our neighbour as we would like to be treated, so it behoves us all to help out where and when we can. I have years of training, knowledge and experiences, so why not share it with those whom it may help.”

Gordon has since been involved in Executive Patient Safety Walk-Arounds, Clinical Reviews, Root Cause Analysis Panels, proof reading video scripts and documentation, and is now an important member of the High Reliability Steering Committee. He has also recently been invited to participate in the Ideas Lab and complete Learning Improvement Science training.

Gordon has battled a number of different forms of cancer. Through consumer participation, he is able to contribute his experiences from various patient journeys – of which he has had a mixture of both positive and negative experiences – as he wants us to learn and improve from them.

Over his time as a patient of Northern Health, Gordon recalls a recent positive experience.

“In March this year, I succumbed to COVID-19. The ambulance staff contacted the Virtual ED doctor and, being immune compromised following chemo treatment for lymphoma, I was invited to receive a Sotrovimab infusion and was looked after most excellently, even including where I should park my car.”

Gordon’s fundamental understanding of systems and processes has helped him contribute important knowledge to Northern Health. He has particularly enjoyed undertaking Root Cause Analysis of various clinical issues at the health service.

“Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is an engineering process. Technology can be different, but the processes are the same. If I understand the processes, all I need is a technology specialist. A RCA looking to fix a broken tank and a RCA looking at how to fix a broken body is the same process – the subject matter is different,” Gordon explained.

“Health care challenges are engineering questions, as much as they are medical questions.”

Gordon’s past patient experiences and unique skills and expertise have allowed him to make a real difference to our patients and staff. We value the contribution Gordon makes to Northern Health and we are so pleased this experience is also a rewarding one for him.

Thank you Gordon for all the important work you do to help us provide the best possible care to our community.

If you, or someone you know, is keen to help Northern Health by joining our Consumer Network like Gordon, please email or phone 9495 3313.