Service User and Carer Council

Who are we?

The Service User and Carer Council (SUCC) is a group of people who meet regularly to help to shape and support services within the trust. Our council is designed to be friendly, honest and constructive.

We are proud that the council is a valued part of the trust. Many professionals join the meetings to listen to your important views and talk to the group about updates within the trust.

Why was the council set up?

The council was set up in 2015 to strengthen the voice of service users across the trust. The council offers a wealth of skills and experience and works in partnership with the trust to help us embrace changes within the system.

We are very committed to involving patients, service users and carers in all aspects of the trust and we recognise the benefits of continual learning from your feedback. A good example of true collaborative working is developing services together that reflect best practice.

The SUCC has worked collaboratively with the following teams and services: the intense support hub, Observe and Act, EDEI (Early Detection, Engagement and Intervention) Team, CASST (Community Assessment Stabilisation and Treatment Team) and SAEDS (Specialist Adult Eating Disorder Service), Wellbeing College.

Organisations that have representation on SUCC and represent service users and carers are: PEGiS (Parent Engagement Group in Stoke), Lifeworks and Healthwatch.

Is it confidential?

We try to keep the council as confidential as possible and experiences will not be fed back. The council meets regularly and minutes are depersonalised before circulation. If individuals have a sensitive concern, the trust’s Patient Experience Lead is there to make sure all aspects are addressed and supported.

Do we make a difference?

When we asked our members, they all agreed that they do make a difference. Service users have contributed to updating the complaints process, including working on a framework, training and responses. Service users and carers will have the opportunity to be involved in a peer review of complaints going forward.

There is a service user and carer REACH award, where nominations can only be made and voted on by service users and carers.

Leaflets for various service provisions have been changed based on feedback from the council. The telephone system at community resource centres have been improved in response to negative feedback about the system.

The council members are continuing to be involved in the development of care plans. Members also supported sessions for feedback from people accessing services to ensure that their voices are part of the changes needed. They have been part of the move to co-production and worked on the co-production strategy.

Sue Tams, Chair of the Council:

“I’m pleased to have been involved with SUCC since 2015. During this time we have worked with a large number of service users, carers, volunteers and staff from many different parts of trust. I feel we have made a positive contribution to service provision. On a personal note, I have enjoyed the experience, gained knowledge and made new friends.”

Comment from council member:

“It’s been a pleasure to be part of the SUCC, a support base team/council within NSCHT (North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust), improving care standards and delivering quality services, whilst also imparting knowledge.”

Buki Adeyemo, Chief Executive:

“At Combined, service users and carers are at the heart of what we do. We value the rich experience and insight which service users and carers can offer, and they have helped shape how we deliver services and improve the way we work. As an outstanding trust, we are not complacent and strive to improve on everything we do and are determined to have lived experience roles across our clinical services and in our management and governance processes, so that we can co-produce everything. Without co-production, we will fail in our core purpose – it would be like an architect designing a house without asking the customer’s opinion!”

Please get involved

Your views are so important to us and it is only in joint working together can we help the trust to thrive. We will try to ensure that you are fully supported in the meetings, as you are important in developing the council further.

As a group, we want to continue to bring about real change. We are proud to be part of a forward-looking trust that is committed to learning and developing services that have service users’ and carers’ involvement at the centre of its developments.

If you would like to know more, please contact Veronica Emlyn, Patient Experience Facilitator and Volunteer Coordinator, on 07720 336946 or email