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A decade of service user and carer involvement

19th November 2020

The Southern Trust is hosting a virtual recognition event later this month to celebrate and reflect upon 10 years of partnership working with the Trust’s Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) Panel.

The PPI Panel was established in September 2010 to work in partnership with and help the Trust shape our service user and carer involvement, structures and processes.

Over the years the panel has been involved in many positive developments both locally and regionally to create and promote opportunities for service users and carers to become involved in planning, decision making and evaluation about a range of Trust services. Panel members have helped to train new staff on the importance of involving the service user and carer. They have been instrumental in developing a PPI toolkit and other supporting material for staff and service users to improve engagement, involvement and co-production across the Trust. They have also taken part in research on engagement and involvement with local colleges and Queens University Belfast.

Panel members have also been involved in recruitment processes for positions in the Southern Trust at Director level, as well for PPI staff.  The work of the panel, supported by the Trust’s PPI team, has been endorsed by the Public Health Agency (PHA), other Health Trusts throughout Northern Ireland and the Patient Client Council More recently panel members have been working closely with Trust senior managers and clinicians towards the re-build of Southern Trust services as part of the reform of Urgent and Emergency Care.

Peter Donnelly, Chairperson, who has been involved with the PPI Panel since it was first established, said:

“Although the years have passed quickly, looking back, we have achieved an immense amount of work.  The panel is made up of service users and carers who want to shape and improve service design, development and delivery.  Panel members work in partnership with Health and Social Care Trust colleagues to promote and raise the voice of service users and carers and to make sure it is heard and heeded, at as many levels as possible.  We have challenged and will continue to do so, to ensure  that we are included at the table, as an equal, for the benefit all those who use our services.

“With good partnership working and quality relationships based on mutual respect, we can continue to develop. I wish to pay tribute to my panel colleagues, both past and present; their level of commitment and dedication is outstanding.

“I look forward to continuing this work, despite COVID and all the challenges it has brought. This pandemic has highlighted the value of our health service. Putting service users, carers and the community at the heart of all we do must continue to be our approach as we meet the next 10 years.”

Panel member Ray Hamilton said “PPI has given me my voice back” while Sheila Darling, one of the newest Panel members, said: “It has been a very interesting start, coming on board right in the middle of a pandemic, however it is a privilege to see first-hand all the efforts being made, on so many fronts, to improve health and social care services for everyone.”

If you wish to be part of this event on Friday 27 November at 10am-11.30am, you can RSVP to and you will be forwarded with the Zoom details.

The PPI Panel pictured in 2019.