Tuesday 23 October 2018 02:13:41 AM

McGrath Appointed By Poots to Patient and Client Council
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HEALTH Minister, Edwin Poots has announced the appointment of  Down District Councillor Colin McGrath as a Non-Executive Member to the Patient and Client Council (PCC).

Councillor McGrath will join a committee of 16 individuals drawn from various sectors in Northern Ireland to help steer the work of the council which aims to be a voice for patients and clients who interact with and use Northern Ireland health services.

Commenting on his appointment, Councillor McGrath said: “I am delighted to undertake this role and thank the Minister for his appointment. I have always  stated that my role in local government will be to work on behalf of people and to be their voice, their conduit – ensuring the best possible service delivery for them.

“Since my election to Down Council in 2005 I have taken an interest in health related matters and have been my party grouping’s Health Spokesperson on Down Council since 2007 – playing my role as part of a wider team to secure the best possible services for the people of Down.

“I look forward to the challenges of this additional role and especially the opportunity that I might have to bring a voice to young people who interact with health services in any form be that in Accident and Emergency departments, having planned surgery or living in the care of Social Services.

Councillor Colin McGrath has been selected on to the Patient and Client Council for a four-year period.

“It will take me a short period of time to learn the work of the Patient and Client Council and the impact that it can have upon those who use the service but I will ensure that the voices of people from Down District, and across Northern Ireland are heard loud and clear by the powers that be and that all involved in Health Care provision, from the Minister down, ensure that the highest quality service is offered to people at all times.”

A DHSS spokesperson said: “He is one of two successful applicants who demonstrated skill sets which would be of benefit to the PCC. These appointments were made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland. Councillor McGrath has been appointed as a Non-Executive (Local Government) Member for a four year term from 17 December 2012 to 16 December 2016.

Downpatrick Councillor Colin McGrath, is employed as a youth worker at the Patrician Youth Centre. He has many years of experience working with Councils and the youth service and has a wide understanding of community issues including health. He has demonstrated his strong strategic and influencing skills throughout the appointment process and will bring his knowledge of community issues, socioeconomic awareness and his ability to interact with young people to the board. Councillor McGrath does not hold any other public appointments.

The function of the Patient and Client Council (PCC) was set up in 2009 to provide a consumer voice in relation to health and social care in Northern Ireland. The PCC, established under Section 16(1) of the Health and Social Care (Reform) Act (Northern Ireland), is a regional body supported by five local offices operating within the same geographical areas covered by the five Health and Social Care Trusts and Local Commissioning Groups. The overarching objective of the PCC is to provide a powerful, independent voice for patients, clients, carers, and communities on health and social care issues through the exercise of the following functions:

*  To represent the interests of the public by engaging with the public to obtain their views on services and engaging with Health and Social Care (HSC) organisations to ensure that the needs and expectations of the public are addressed in the planning, commissioning and delivery of health and social care services;

*  To promote the involvement of patients, clients, carers and the public in the design, planning, commissioning and delivery of health and social care;

*  To provide assistance to individuals making or intending to make a complaint relating to health and social care; and

*  To promote the provision of advice and information to the public by the HSC about the design, commissioning and delivery of health and social care services.

The PCC is managed by a board which has up of sixteen non-executive directors and a Non-Executive Chair. The Non-Executive Directors include a Trade Union Representative Member, five Local Government Representative Members, five Voluntary and Community Members and five Lay members. The appointment carries a time commitment of a minimum of 2 days per month and attracts an annual remuneration of £3,530.

Appointments to the PCC are made with the approval of the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety. There are no specific qualifications for appointment. Each person is appointed to act in a personal capacity and not to represent any particular interest or group.

A selection panel, which included an independent assessor, as required under the Commissioner’s Code, considered the suitability of all candidates. The final decision on the appointment rested with the Minister.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published. Councillor McGrath declared that he has been elected to office as a Councillor on Down District Council, standing as a candidate for the SDLP. He has acted as an Electoral Agent and canvassed on behalf of SDLP candidates in both Stormont and Westminster election campaigns. He is the Secretary of the Downpatrick SDLP branch and was Vice Chair of the party between 2009 and 2011.