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The establishment of such a service was recommended by the HIQA report into Portlaoise Hospital and in reports by the Ombudsman. It was also a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government.
Following a tendering process, the contract to operate the new service has been awarded to the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities. It is anticipated that the service will become operational in the second half of 2019.
According to the Department of Health: “This new service will provide people with an opportunity to talk to someone independent of the health service, provide information about how to make a complaint and provide the supports that may be needed throughout the complaints process. The service will initially be focused on the public acute hospital sector.”
Minister Harris said it will provide “a free, independent and confidential service to help those who wish to make a complaint about the health service”.
A programme to enable the establishment of the service, and recruitment and training of advocates, will now commence. Following that process, it is anticipated that the service will become operational in the second half of 2019.