Appointment of the Patient and Client Council Chair

Date published: 04 May 2023

The Department of Health has announced the appointment of a Chair to the Patient and Client Council (PCC).

public appointments web2

Mrs Ruth Sutherland’s appointment will commence on 15 May 2023 and end on a date not later than 14 May 2027.

The PCC Non-Executive Chair position attracts an annual remuneration of £18,453 with a time commitment of 1.5 days per week.

This appointment is made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

The PCC’s role with respect to health and social care services is to represent the interests of the public; promote the involvement of the public; assist people making or intending to make a complaint through advocacy; promote the advice and information by HSC bodies to the public about the design, commissioning and delivery of services; and to undertake research into the best methods and practices for consulting and engaging the public.

The PCC Board is made up of a Non-Executive Chair and 16 Non-Executive Members. There are currently 11 vacancies in the PCC.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Following a forty-year career in health and social care, public and voluntary sectors, Mrs Ruth Sutherland stepped down as Chief Executive of Samaritans, UK and Ireland in November 2022. Ruth is currently the Chair of Social Adventures, a social enterprise based in Salford and Vice chair of Lloyds Bank Foundation. Ruth initially trained as a Registered General Nurse and holds degrees in Social Administration and health promotion. Ruth has held senior leadership roles and trustee roles with UK remit in the voluntary sector, working with children, adults and carers. Posts held included CEO of Relate and senior executive leadership roles at Rethink, Alzheimers Society and Scope. Previously Ruth was a founding Director of the Community Development & Health Network NI. Ruth is a listening volunteer with Samaritans Newry branch. Ruth was awarded the CBE for services to vulnerable people in 2019 and the Royal College of Psychiatrists Presidents medal for services to people with mental illness in 2019. Ruth was awarded the Daniel Phelan award for outstanding achievement at the UK Charity Awards in 2022.  
  1. Appointments to PCC are made with the approval of the Department of Health.
  1. 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.  Mrs Sutherland has not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
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