Regional Unscheduled Care Reference Group (Service Users and Carers)

Introduction – The regional unscheduled care reference group (UCRG) was formed in 2017 to ensure the voices of service users and carers was involved in the reform of urgent and emergency care (UEC) and latterly No More Silos (NMS).

The group has a membership of 11 very active ,well informed and highly experienced individuals with strong personal and professional experiences of urgent and emergency care and community care.

This group of individuals have dedicated a vast amount of their time and energy in a voluntary capacity and is a testament to their unwavering commitment and determination and strong desire to see change and improvement

The group sits on all key regional structures associated with Urgent & Emergency Care and No More Silos and on all Local Trust Local Implementation Groups

Purpose of the UCRG as an independent group is

  • to support ,facilitate and encourage good involvement practice at all levels in the system
  • to provide expertise and knowledge of lived and learned experiences of care to influence planning ,development and implementation
  • make informed  observations/ perspectives that seek to support change and improvement a
  • participate and contribute to regional and local structures both at Department of Health level and within all  Trusts  

Membership information

  • Anne O Reilly (Chair) – Professional background as social worker; history as CEO of Age NI; Foster Carer .Awarded OBE for services to older people . Personal experience as carer of older relative and her soul destroying experience of the repeated hospital admission /discharge experiences in the last year of life . Anne is a non- executive director on the Belfast Trust and NI Social Care Council with a particular interest in PPI ,Carers and Social Care . Anne sits on the NMS Regional Network ; Co Production Group ; Key DOH groups -intermediate carer/care homes/general surgery ; Western & South Eastern Trusts LIG “ I am deeply committed to support whole system change and transformation that is seen to deliver on real compassionate and person centred care wherever that care and support needs to be delivered across the life course “
  • Maria Curran ( Vice Chair ) – Maria has a strong professional consultancy background and is also a school governor . Personal experience as carer of her father with dementia and the lived experience of the cycle of visits to ED departments and the impact it had on his quality of life .Her strong desire is to use that experience to enhance and improve service provision to better meet needs of people with dementia and their carers .She played a key influencing role in ensuring good involvement practice was embedded in UEC initial review. Maria sits on the DOH Regional Co Production Group and Belfast Local Implementation Group “ I am passionate about ensuring the application of processes that give service users and carers a voice and input to the reform of services and have particularly welcomed developments in acute care/hospital at home as part of the reform work.“
  • Marian Thompson -  Marian has a professional nursing background . She has extensive experience as a carer to a number of family members as well as her own lived experiences as a patient . Marian has demonstrated her passionate ,determined and  longstanding commitment to advancing involvement as a lay assessor  within  RQIA and a service user representative on SAI workstream associated with IRHD work on introducing duty of candour legislation.The level of time and effort she has given to these roles is impressive. She sits on the PPI Forum of Southern Trust and was recognised for her contribution to improving work on miscarriage practice in the Trust. Marian sits on the Regional NMS Network; General surgery Review working group ; Southern Trust LIG .  “making every contact count ; safe care always and seeing improvement in communications at local and regional level “ is her abiding passion.
  • Doreen Patton – Doreen has a professional nurse manager background spending most of her career in A&E nursing  with a strong track record of the benefits of carer involvement in planning and delivering high  quality care. Awarded an MBE for services to nursing. Doreen has also personal experiences as a patient . She is an experienced Chair and member of a range of organisations regionally and internationally . Her commitment to the group is to see timely access to care and treatment , the right services in place to improving primary care and discharge planning . Doreen’s particular knowledge and expertise is a valuable asset to the group . Doreen sits on the Regional Communications group and Northern Trust LIG . “real need for focus on communications to improve and standardise public communications across N Ireland “
  • Sue Mc Bean- Sue worked for many years in front-line professional health care academia, focusing on disadvantage, inequity ,health policy and public health. She has a special interest in out of hours emergency care and community provision for people with dementia &palliative care needs. Sue has skills in public speaking and research and is passionate about health care ethics.  In all her work she seeks to strengthening “ patient and client narratives ,the voice of people that services are for and a concern for groups that require special consideration for service provision to meet their needs “
  • Liz McILhagger- Liz has a professional mental health nursing background with a diverse career in project management ,media and psychotherapy  working in the UK and internationally . Personal experience of caring for a number of relatives with dementia, mental health care and as a parent of daughter with physical & learning disability. Liz has also personal experience of accessing regional and local services .Liz sits on the Regional communications group and the Belfast LIG  . The group benefits from her thoughtful and considered analysis of the health and social care system with a strong call for regionalisation and standardisation and her  “insights into the complexities of service provision “
  • Petr Zvolsky – Petr has a professional background as a consultant psychiatrist with people over 65. He has had personal experience as a service user and is a carer for his son with learning disability and mental health needs . Petr interest in the group grew from his experience of bringing up his son. He is an active Chair of Northern Trust autism reference group . Petr great strength is his understanding of the health and social care system and its comparison  with the system in the Czech Republic. The group really benefits from his professionalism and real insights in how things could and should improve at a strategic level. Petr sits on the Northern LIG and has a keen interest in how data/ audit approach can drive change and improvement “my hope and ambition is that through lived experience I can help raise awareness and assist betterment of services “
  • Cathy Malcolm – Cathy has a professional background in youth work with many years experience in facilitation and consultancy skills . She is also a school governor. Cathy has personal experience of health system through family members and in particular the struggle and stress associated with accessing flexible and responsive mental health services .She has a long track record of involvement expertise  sitting on a  number of service user forums and contributed to key consultations on the mental health strategy , duty of candour and work with Patient Client Council on complaints . Cathy sits on the Western LIG . Her deep passion is mental health and primary care “ I want  better mental health services for those in the future than my own experience “
  • Thelma Dillon – Thelma is one of our new members . Thelma is the Northern Trust on the PPI regional strategic Forum . She has a long record of  representing the needs of older people as  Chair of Northern Trust Older Peoples Panel and also Chairs the Causeway Loneliness network working very closely with Mental Health services. Living in a rural community she is an avid advocate for equality and equitable access to  services and  transport .  Thelma sits on the Northern Trust LIG. Her strong interests are primary care access , transport and communication . Thelma sits on the Northern LIG. “ It is important for service users to be involved in the planning and monitoring of proposed service delivery “
  • Brenda Aaory – Brenda is also a new member . She has long and well established track record as a champion and advocate for families and individuals with learning disability . She is a determined advocate of independent advocacy within the system . Brenda has personal experience as a  carer for a family member with learning difficulty . Brenda has experience at working for change at a strategic level supporting work of the DOH on  the reform of adult social care and  work on learning disability policy . Brenda sits on the South Eastern Trust LIG. She is keen to support the strategic direction of  UEC transformation through joined up policy making and implementation .”Promoting family involvement in the design and delivery of services and policies impacting on our people “
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