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A Listening Ear – a conversation with Richard Dixon our Complaints Service Manager

Over the last 10 years our Complaints Support Services team has helped and supported an enormous 13,460 people. The Patient and Client Council Complaints Services Team work tirelessly to ensure they listen to members of the publics’ experiences, helping them find resolution and feel supported when discussing their concerns in Health and Social Care. We sat down this week with Richard Dixon, our Complaints Service Manager to talk about the work the team does and to answer a few questions readers might have about the service.

Q: What is the role of the complaints team within the Patient Client Council?

Our job is to advise and support anyone who wishes to raise a concern about a Health and Social care service that they have received in Northern Ireland – it can be any Health and Social care service and it can be any person who has used that service or a carer. We help people to have their say on services, to put their concerns across to the people who need to hear it to make changes for the better.

Q: What are the main issues are that people come to the Patient and Client Council Complaints team about?

People tend to get in touch with the Patient and Client Council when the level of service they have received has fallen short of their expectations. We assist with all sorts of queries and areas of the service from feeling discontented with the way they spoken to, the outcome of a medical procedure, or a lack of communication. The three main areas we receive complaints about include:

  1. Quality of treatment and care
  2. Communications and staff attitude
  3. Waiting times

Q: If someone has a concern or complaint about a Health and Social Care service what should they do to get support from Patient and Client Council?

The PCC offer a free and confidential service! You may not need us today but please keep this number handy in case you want our service in the future. 0800 917 0222

Trained staff can tell you about the complaints procedure, support you at meetings and write a letter of complaint. To get in touch with PCC, call our Freephone number on 0800 917 0222 or email:

Or fill out an online form here:

And someone will come back to you. We will always respond.

It is usual if calling the helpline that our first responder will take a brief summary to establish that we can help you – if not we endeavour to signpost you to the correct organisation that can assist.
We will then refer your case to our team of local officers, who will work intensively with you to ensure your concerns are answered. Be this processing a complaint, writing letters or even accompanying you to difficult meetings where you feel you may need support.

Q: Can I come see you in person?

We prefer to take first contact through our helpline or over email to ensure that you meet the right person. We take account of everybody’s circumstances and respect everybody’s time – we want to work with you.

Q: I have a concern but I am not sure I want to go through with the process of an official complaint – do you still want to hear from me?

Absolutely, there is no obligation when getting in touch with the complaints team. We do not act without your express permission. All you need is a concern.

To read more about this take a look at our handbook ‘How can we help?’


Q: Is there anyone you can’t support?

We are willing to hear from anyone who has a concern. However there are some areas where we have no remit. For instance we aren’t lawyers; we can’t assist with compensation claims. However should you call with an issue we can’t help you with we will endeavour to sign post you toward an organisation that can help.
We are also an organisation for those who use the NHS, and cannot support private practice cases, however once again we can signpost you to relevant bodies.
We also are not experts in fields such as safe guarding and detained patients (as examples). These areas have their own experts and we will be more than happy to point you towards them.

Q: What excites you about being a part of the Patient and Client Council’s complaints team?

Everyone who works as a part of the Complaints team has a belief in the service, and wants to help. They understand that kindness is the most important thing – to ensure that everyone who gets in touch with the Complaints team service feels that they have been heard and understood.

It is this empathy and kindness that encourages 881 new callers to contact our helplines in a year.

To find out more about the service why not watch this short video
Or check out the Complaints section of our website



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