The Patient and Carer Network (PCN) is a network of volunteers in England and Wales who support and shape the work of the RCP. The RCP and the PCN aim to improve care for patients and influence the future of health and healthcare.
Any person across England and Wales can apply to join the PCN - whether or not you have a long-term medical condition. There are no formal skills or qualifications required to join the PCN. All our members share an interest in improving health and healthcare, and awareness of current health and social care issues.
There’s a lot of evidence that meaningful patient engagement not only improves patient experience and satisfaction, but can also make services more effective.
The PCN provides people with an important platform to share their experiences of being a patient or carer. The RCP uses these experiences to help identify areas for improvement and to understand what patients and carers need from health services. This is used to develop guidance and recommendations for the RCP’s member doctors, healthcare teams, hospitals and government.
The RCP is increasing the number and diversity of patients and carers it works with. By expanding the PCN, the RCP hopes to ensure that its work meets needs across different groups and communities.
The PCN is a group of lay volunteers. Anyone living in England and Wales who is not a medical doctor can apply to join the network. The network is open to everyone, whether or not you have significant experience of being a patient or carer. There are no formal skills or qualifications required to join the PCN. All our members share an interest in improving health and healthcare, and awareness of current health and social care issues. The RCP understands that the amount of time people are able to give to volunteering varies, so we work flexibly to support members according to the individual time that they can give.
All patients, carers and members of the public who undertake voluntary work for the RCP are reimbursed for reasonable expenses, including travel and any necessary overnight accommodation. We operate a disability-friendly policy, doing our best to ensure reasonable adjustments where required.
The RCP aims to offer all volunteers a valuable experience that ensures the voices of a diverse group of patients and carers are heard and included in the work that it does. The RCP offers flexibility to support volunteers to participate at a time and in a way that suits members’ availability, interests, skills, experience and lifestyle.
Volunteering roles provide an opportunity to be part of the RCP’s online Patient and Carer community. This is an online group where PCN members come together to discuss health and social care and comment on hot topics and documents. Volunteers who have more time to contribute may be asked to join the RCP’s PCN forum. Forum member roles vary, but members may participate in specific projects, attend events or contribute to focus groups.