Appointment of council members to the Patient & Client Council

Date published: 23 February 2024

The Department of Health has announced the appointment of 8 Council Members to the Patient & Client Council (PCC).

The Department of Health has announced the appointment of 8 Council Members to the Patient & Client Council (PCC).

Paula Bradley and Cadogan Enright have been appointed as Local Government Representatives. Ms Bradley’s appointment commenced on 1 February 2024 and will end on a date not later than 30 January 2028. Mr Enright’s appointment will commence on 1 March 2024 and will end on a date not later than 28 February 2028.   Julie Aiken, Briege Arthurs, Gary McMichael, Emma O’Neill, and Rhoda Walker have been appointed as Voluntary Organisation Representatives.  These appointments commenced on 1 February 2024 and will end on a date not later than 30 January 2028.  Thomas Sullivan has been appointed as the Trade Union Representative from 1 February 2024 to a date not later than 30 January 2028.

The PCC Council Member position attracts remuneration of £4,018 per annum with a time commitment of 2 days per month.

These appointments are made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

The PCC was established by the Health and Social Care (Reform) Act (NI) 2009 to facilitate that the ‘voice of patients, clients, carers and communities is valued, heard and acted upon’ in the development of policy on, and provision of, HSC services. This statutory role gives the PCC a unique place within the HSC sector in Northern Ireland.

The PCC Council is made up of a Chair and 16 Council Members (5 members of district councils; 5 representatives of voluntary organisations with an interest in health and social care; and 1 representative of a trade union) appointed by the Department/Health Minster. This formulation also allows an additional 5 members with no sectoral specification: “Lay” Members.

Notes to editors: 

1. Paula Bradley was first elected in 2005 to the Newtownabbey legacy Council, she served as Mayor from 2010 – 2011. Paula was successfully elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2011 representing Belfast North. During her time as an Assembly Member, she served as Chairperson on the Committee for Health and the Committee for Communities. Paula was also an active member on many All-Party Groups including Stroke and Heart Disease, Sexual Health, Infertility, Autism and Homelessness. In 2021 Paula withdrew from full time politics and returned to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council where she holds the position of Alderman for the Glengormley Urban district electoral area. Prior to election to the Assembly Paula worked for Social Services in the Northern Trust in Whiteabbey and Antrim Area Hospitals.

2. Cadogan Enright has served East Down for almost 20 years and was last re-elected to Newry Mourne and Down Council in May of 2023 for the Alliance Party for the Downpatrick/Lecale area. Cadogan is a qualified accountant with a record of delivering large-scale information technology projects, restructuring large multinational companies, and delivering shared service centres arising from mergers and acquisitions. Cadogan is active in a wide range of local and national environmental organisations working for sustainable development and on environmental conservation projects. Cadogan has post-grad qualifications in energy and the built environment. He has used his skills to assist both large governmental organisations and small community organisations transition to cheaper renewable solutions for their energy needs. Cadogan is a long-standing member of the Down Community Health Committee, working on health-related issues in East Down and a member of the Strangford Lough Management Advisory Committee. Cadogan currently holds two other public appointments one with the Department of Health from Sept 2015 he has been a NI Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) Non-Executive (Local Government Representative) Member for which he receives a renumeration of £6,643 per annum for a time commitment of 3 days per month. Cadogan’s term with NIFRS is ending on 29 February 2024.The other public appointment he holds is with the Department for Infrastructure (DFI) where since December 2015 he has been a Non-Executive Councillor Member of the Drainage Council of Northern Ireland.  This is a non-remunerated position, with a 4 days per annum time commitment. 

3. Dr Julie Aiken is Regional Manager with Samaritans in Northern Ireland since 2014. During this time, she has developed the presence of the organisation in NI, led on establishing relationships with key marginalised groups and had responsibility for the delivery of Samaritans best practice media guidelines for reporting suicide. Julie has worked in the community and voluntary sector for nearly 15 years including at the Red Cross where she undertook research on humanitarian crises. In 2013, she was part of the team that delivered the World Police and Fire Games in NI and Giro d’Italia Big Start in 2014. She has a primary degree in Psychology (BSc Hons) and a PhD set within a human rights framework. She has spent the last 10 years working in the field of mental health and wellbeing across the UK and ROI. Julie holds one other public appointment with the Department of Justice (DOJ) as a Non-Executive Director with the Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust. She was appointed in September 2022 and receives a renumeration of £5k per annum for a 1 day per month time commitment.

4. Briege Arthurs is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Forward South Partnership- one of the 4 area-based regeneration partnerships in Belfast. She is privileged to work with many community and voluntary groups across South Belfast and is responsible for the delivery of many targeted programmes which build community capacity, systems for early intervention in education, health and good relations through shared, collaborative working.  Under her leadership, she has developed a city-wide Support hub for the many Roma families who live in Belfast and require navigation and support for access to health, education and employment.  Briege is currently Co-Chair of Belfast City Council’s multi agency Living Here Board which reports into the Belfast Community Planning Partnership. She also sits on the BCC Shared City Partnership whose focus is on good relations. Briege is a member of the Executive committee of NICVA, remains a member of the Chinese Welfare Association’s Advisory Committee and sits on the Senate of Queen’s University Belfast as an external lay member.

5. Gary McMichael is founder and Chief Executive of ASCERT, a Northern Ireland charity providing services that address drugs, alcohol and mental health issues. Gary has worked in the voluntary and community sector for over 25 years, has served on the board of the Labour Relations Agency as well as a number of charities and charitable trusts. Gary was formerly an elected member of Lisburn City Council for 12 years until 2005.

6. Emma O’Neill - Mental health, wellbeing and family support have been central themes of Emma’s career, spanning across two decades in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. Emma holds a BA Hons degree in Sociology and Social Policy from Queen’s University, later developing her professional education with an ILM Level 5 qualification in Leadership and Management. In her current role as Head of Operations for TinyLife, Emma leads on the delivery of services for families with premature babies.  Early intervention and collaboration are pivotal to this role, owing to health inequalities associated with premature birth and the longer-term impacts. In previous roles Emma has advocated for and supported young carers and their families and managed the delivery of mental health programmes in post-primary education. With a passion for Diversity and Inclusion, she previously held the role of Co-Chair for Action for Children’s national Gender Equality Network.

7. Rhoda Walker has a background in community development, corporate change and partnership working developed throughout her career, primarily in local government. She is currently a freelance consultant for the third sector. A volunteer with the Northern Ireland Rare Disease Partnership since 2016, as Chair Rhoda was heavily involved in the development of the NI Action Plan for Rare Diseases.  Rhoda was awarded an MBE in 2023 for Services to People with Rare Diseases and is an ambassador for Medics 4 Rare Disease, a charity raising awareness of rare conditions amongst the medical community and supports Ehlers Danlos Support UK to raise awareness of, and highlight the needs of those with EDS, a condition that affects many members of her family.  Rhoda is a director of Eos Community Consulting, a community interest company with a community focus, and Chair of her local voluntary regeneration group.

8. Tom Sullivan is currently the Public Affairs and Policy Manager for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in Northern Ireland.  Previous employers include British Telecom, the Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders and the British Medical Association. Tom is a former Secretary of the Irish Association for Cultural, Social and Economic Relations. He is currently a committee member of the Allied Health Professions Federation for Northern Ireland and a member of the NI Community Rehabilitation Alliance. Tom is a graduate of Ulster University, where he obtained a BSc. Honours Degree in Psychology and Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methods. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.  Tom is currently the Honorary Consul for the Slovak Republic in Northern Ireland and a member of the UNITE trade union.

9. Appointments to the Patient & Client Council are made by the Department of Health.

10. 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. Paula Bradley has declared that she has undertaken political activity on behalf of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Cadogan Enright has declared that he has undertaken political activity on behalf of the Alliance Party.   All other appointees have declared that they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.

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