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Airing Pain 43: Patient Involvement and Pain Management

Involving pain patients in health services and learning how to self-manage pain whilst working

This programme was funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards For All programme in Northern Ireland.

In this edition of Airing Pain, Paul Evans travels to Northern Ireland to visit a patients’ organisation, the Patient and Client Council. The Council provides patients with an independent voice in the health and social care system by involving those who live with chronic pain in the decision-making process and supporting patients who wish to make a complaint, with the overall aim of improving patient services in Northern Ireland.

Louise Skelly, Head of Operations at the Council, describes her organisation’s work promoting information and advice across the healthcare system and using patients’ experience, suggestions and stories to raise awareness of chronic pain. She highlights some of the advances and improvements that the Council has brought about in recent years.

Paul also speaks to pain patient and member of the Patient and Client Council’s pain strategy group, Jay Flood Coleman, who shares his own personal experiencesof chronic pain which has been complicated further by a series of health issues.
Board member of the Patient and Client Council, Rena Shepherd, who herself lives with chronic pain, contributes with her first-hand expertise and explains that with little adjustment on the part of employers, employees suffering from long-term pain conditions can still work full-time and be productive, with self-management pain courses proving very beneficial.

Issues covered in this programme include: Patient voice, patient experience, social care system, educating healthcare professionals, gaps in the health service, GP access, policy, opioids, making complaints, discrimination, urogenital pain and cancer.


  • Louise Skelly, Head of Operations at The Patient and Client Council
  • Jay Flood Coleman, patient and Council strategy group member
  • Rena Shepherd, board member of the Patient and Client Council.
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