On Wednesday (29 March) we held our second – and largest - Membership event. In fact, we were overwhelmed with the response from members wishing to attend and filled the Great Hall at Belfast City Hall to capacity with 400 members from all across Northern Ireland.
Sadly, we had to limit numbers for safety reasons and tickets were allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, which meant that we had to disappoint some of our members who wanted to attend.
The theme of the day was ‘Working Together’ and we had a big focus on co-production – essentially a more meaningful type of involvement, where service users have equal power to professionals in the planning, development and actual delivery of health and social care services.
Hosted by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Mary Ellen Campbell, guests were treated to a lovely lunch, followed by interesting and engaging talks from our guest speakers - some of whom had travelled from England and Scotland to give their presentations.
Belfast surgeon Mark Taylor told us that health and social care services in Northern Ireland needed to embrace new ways of thinking and working, while Gerry Power, the People Powered Health and Wellbeing Programme Director of Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, gave a presentation on co-production from a Scottish perspective.
Sam Cunningham, local coordinator of the Living Well Moyle project in Co Antrim, spoke about helping people with chronic conditions to reconnect with their community, while Tory Cunningham and Briege Quinn gave a presentation on the Recovery Colleges in Northern Ireland for people with mental health issues.
The event ended with a presentation by Capita’s Dr Catherine Howe on the power of social movements and how, by working together and sharing service user and service provider experience, we can unleash a much greater force for change.
I would like to express my thanks to Belfast City Council for allowing us to use of their fantastic Great Hall at no charge. I’d also like to thank our speakers for sharing their ideas and expertise.
Finally, I would like to thank each of our members who attended on the day and hope you enjoyed yourselves. It was great meeting people and being able to put faces to the names.
As the PCC’s Head of Operations, Louise Skelly, mentioned on the day, our members are like our extended family and it is great to see so many of you engaged and willing to give up your time to help improve health and social care services for everyone.
Make sure you keep an eye out for future events in our UPDATES newsletter, such as our Coffee Connection meetings, which are coming up in April/May, and if you aren’t already a member you can sign up by visiting this link: https://portal.nhs-membership.co.uk/PCC
Could we have done anything differently at this year’s event?
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