Health and care services

PCC: The public’s voice in health and social care

The vision of the Patient Client Council (PCC) is for a health and social care service actively shaped by the needs and experience of patients, clients, carers, and communities, writes Chief Executive Meadhbha Monaghan.

The PCC is an arm’s-length body of the Department of Health. Established as part of the 2009 reform of health and social care, we are tasked with providing a powerful, independent voice for the public on health and social care issues across Northern Ireland.

The public are experts, by experience, in the care they or their loved ones receive. It is vital that organisations, clinicians and planners recognise the public as assets in their own care and in helping to develop and deliver new services.

What we do

We act as a bridge between the public and HSC organisations to resolve problems and deliver better outcomes. Working from within the HSC system, but having an independent remit, places us in a unique position to help individuals and families navigate what can be an extremely complex system, getting the information or resolution they need.

We are constructive and resolution focused, working with HSC organisations and others; there is a legislative duty on HSC organisations to co-operate with us, to ensure patients’ voices are heard.

We provide advocacy services for the public, which range from helpline advice, early resolution of issues, individual advocacy, to supporting people through formal complaints and serious adverse incidents. We provide crucial support when people are often at their most vulnerable.

If we identify a specific need that we cannot help with, we will connect individuals to a partner organisation within the voluntary and community sector or beyond, ensuring people do not fall through gaps in the system.

We also bring members of the public, with common interest and lived experience, together with decision makers from the Department of Health and HSC organisations to improve existing HSC services and plan for the future. Our engagement work focuses on issues from mental health to care of older people.

What you can do

We ask that leaders in the HSC and across the voluntary and community sector ensure that their organisations make the public aware of our services, when they need them.

In 2022/23, we received over 4,000 calls to our freephone service opening 569 new support cases. Working with HSC organisations, we resolved 45 per cent of those cases before they reached the formal complaint stage. As well as offering better outcomes for the public, reducing formal complaints saves time, money and personnel that can remain focused on providing front line services.

We work constructively with HSC organisations to explore positive and early resolution, but we will always speak out on behalf of patients and the public, to the right people, if and when we need to.

You can keep up to date with the work of the PCC by joining our membership scheme, via our website:

T (freephone): 0800 917 0222
X: @patientClient
Facebook: @PatientAndClientCouncil

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