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IFIC Ireland Patient Empowerment Mini-Series with CEmPaC


03/03/2021 - 09/06/2021    
12:00 am

Event Type

Visit IFIC Ireland

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Empowerment for Health as ‘a process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health. Empowerment may be a social, cultural, psychological or political process through which individuals and social groups are able to express their needs, present their concerns, devise strategies for involvement in decision-making, and achieve political, social and cultural action to meet those needs.’

This series, aimed at health and social care workers and service leads, presented by IFIC Ireland in partnership with the Centre for Empowerment of People and Communities (CEmPaC) will examine the area of Patient Empowerment and the role it plays in achieving true integrated care. The first session will serve as an introduction to the area with Jim Phillips of CEmPaC speaking about the work of the organisation to promote and develop the empowerment of patients and health professionals and inform policy makers on the benefits of patients and health professionals working in partnership to improve health and healthcare. Dr Austin O’Carroll, SafetyNet Primary Care and North Dublin City GP Training, will describe his experience of improving homeless peoples participation and how his work as an ethnographic researcher has informed and changed his practice through deeper understanding of his patients’ issues and perspectives.

Supported by:

Wednesday, June 09, 02:00 PM IST

What Matters To You is “an international person-centered care movement inspired by a 2012 New England Journal of Medicine article, Shared Decision-Making: The Pinnacle of Patient-Centered Care, written by Michael Barry and Susan Edgman-Levitan. The underlying principle, « Ask, listen, do » what matters is intended to shift the power to the person who knows best about the help or support they need, whether it be a person with a medical issue or the clinicians or staff providing care. WMTY conversations help healthcare teams understand what is “most important” to patients, leading to better care partnerships and improved patient experience.” (wmty.world). To close our series on Patient Empowerment and Engagement, we will hear from speakers who have used WMTY in the design and delivery of services and other engagement tools with colleagues and peers and will reflect on how these tools provide joy and increase adoption of change in health and social care systems. We will also be asking our audience to engage in breakout conversations to reflect on What Matters To You – in your work or community life.

Wednesday, April 28, 01:00 PM GMT

Co-production is the process of active dialogue and engagement between people who use services and those who provide them. It is a process that puts service users on the same level as the service provider (Governance International, 2012). Embedding co-production processes into the design, governance, operation, commissioning and evaluation of health and social services can lead to meaningful, sustainable, higher quality experiences for those who benefit from and work within the systems that deliver these services. Our panel will discuss their experiences of being involved in co-production through their work and lived experience. 


Dr David Somekh

Dr David Somekh is the Network Director of EHFF (a Charity registered in Ireland). For many years a practicing clinician and medical manager in the UK NHS, in the last ten or more years he has been active in European health policy development and with a few colleagues set up the European Health Futures Forum in 2013. CEMPaC is a four-year project of EHFF, funded by a large German Foundation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The project is now in its final year, continuing to establish a European resource centre for patient and community empowerment. 


Sheila Fitzgerald

Sheila is a nurse and former lecturer that was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2015. She spent 29 years working in the HSE as Assistant Director of Nursing before retiring in August 2016. Sheila lectured in nursing and her interests include human rights in healthcare, consent, promoting safer healthcare through patient involvement, and respecting patient choice. The transition from healthcare professional to patient has highlighted the difference between knowing about a chronic illness and experiencing that condition.  Sheila has sat on the HIQA advisory group on ePrescribing, and been a patient representative on both the HSE consultation on electronic health records (EHR) and the challenge panel in the ongoing development of the Health Information System Strategy at the Department of Health. Sheila has been involved in activism on a variety of issues that might comprise patient care but in addition her interest in ehealth, she has a specific interest in issues related to access to medicines caused by the current model of drug development and commercialisation and its impact on patients.

Sheila enjoys travel, music, history and cooking for family and friends.

Jo Fitzgerald

Jo Fitzgerald leads the Lived Experience Team in the Personalised Care Group at NHS England and NHS Experience.

Her son, Mitchell, was one of the first people in England to benefit from personal health budget. It transformed his life, and therefore she is committed to ensuring that more people can benefit. Jo has led the development of the Peer Leadership Development Programme which aims to develop 500 Peer Leaders by 2023/23 and is excited to see new Peer Leaders actively shaping and influencing how health and care is delivered.

Jo is also a qualified counsellor with an MA in Counselling (with distinction) from Manchester University.

Jo’s motto is: “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny” – C.S Lewis

Wednesday, March 03, 03:30 PM GMT

Jim Phillips, the Centre for Empowering Patients and Communities, and Dr Austin O’Carroll, SafetyNet Primary Care and North Dublin City GP Training, will introduce the area of Patient Empowerment and engaging service users in design, delivery and evolution of health and social care services.

Download session resource document!

The webinar recording is available below which contains strong language that some viewers may find offensive.


Jacqui Browne
Steering Group Member, Chairperson @IFIC Ireland, Disabled Persons Organisations Coalition

Jacqui Browne is a member of the Disability Advisory Committee of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. IHREC is the Independent Monitoring Mechanism for the implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in Ireland. Jacqui is a Thalidomide survivor, not a victim and has over 30 years of experience as a disability equality activist and consultant. With a BA Degree in Economics & Politics from UCD and a Masters’ degree in Education from Trinity College Dublin she has many years of experience working at local, national, European and International levels. She is a former member of Commission on Status of People with Disabilities whose report A Strategy for Equality was a blueprint for disability rights in Ireland.

Jacqui is Chairperson of DESSA – the national Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency, a board member of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Irish Thalidomide Association. Jacqui is also actively involved as a patient advocate in IPPOSI – the Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry and is a EUPATI Fellow – European Patient Advocacy Training Initiative.


Dr Sloan Harper

 After qualifying in Medicine from Queen’s University Belfast, 1983 Sloan worked as a GP in Belfast for 14 years followed by posts in primary care management at medical adviser and director level with the Northern Health & Social Services Board; and Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. He was appointed Director of Integrated Care at the Regional Health and Social Care Board in 2010 with responsibility for the delivery of GP, Community Pharmacy, Dental and Ophthalmic services across N Ireland as well as initiatives to improve the level of integration between the health and social care workforce and local communities. Sloan is Chair of IFIC Ireland and his focus is an all island approach to improving wellbeing by addressing integration and the social determinants of health. He is a non-executive director of Radius Housing, one of the largest housing associations on the island of Ireland. 


Jim Phillips
Director @Centre for Empowering People and Communities (CEmPaC)

Jim is the director for the centre for empowering people and communities (CEmPaC) and also works for NHS England and Improvement in personalised care.

He has a background in psychotherapy and mindfulness and provides expert advice on design and implementation of self-management programmes to improve health and wellbeing, as well as training clinical teams in health coaching. He has also been involved in patient safety campaigns and campaigns for improved care. He is a regular speaker at national and international conferences and has provided advice to UK and European governments and agencies on health empowerment.

Download Jim’s Presentation!

Dr. Austin O’Carroll
GP, Founder @SafetyNet Primary Care, GMQ, Partnership for Health Equity, GPCareForAll, North Dublin City GP Training Programme
Dr. Austin O Carroll MICGP Dhealth Hon founded several initiatives:

· Safetynet (2007) which provides GP services to over 6000 marginalized patients annually throughout Ireland. He was Medical Director from 2007-2017.

· GMQ, a primary care programme for homeless people.

· Partnership for Health Equity, a research, education, policy and service delivery collaboration.

· GPCareForAll, a new social enterprise that creates new GP practices in areas of deprivation.

· North Dublin City GP Training programme, the first internationally that trains GPs to work in communities affected by deprivation or marginalization.

He completed a Doctorate in ethnographic research into the health service usage behaviours of homeless people. He was appointed Clinical Lead for the Covid Homeless Response in 2020. He received the Fiona Bradley Award; Time & Tide Award for his work with migrants; Irish Healthcare professional of the Year Award 2015; Doolin Award; Gertrude Ronan Award 2018 and Wonca Europe GP of the Year 2020.

Download Austin’s Presentation!