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Patient Advocacy Service and HSE sign MoU on patient complaints

Ireland’s newly established Patient Advocacy Service and the HSE have pledged to work together to “further improve” support services for people who wish to make a complaint about the care they have received in public acute hospitals.

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which sets out their “commitment to cooperate to ensure that people receive a timely, compassionate and comprehensive response to their complaints”.

The Patient Advocacy Service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a HSE public acute hospital, or in the aftermath of a patient safety incident. It is provided by the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities and funded by the Department of Health.

The MoU recognises that every person has the right to make a complaint about the service they have received from HSE public acute hospitals, while the HSE also “recognises the important role” that independent patient advocacy can play in the complaints process.

The Patient Advocacy Service will also help people improve their understanding of the HSE’s complaints processes, ‘Your Service Your Say’ and the Incident Management Framework.

The Patient Advocacy Service and the HSE will jointly seek to:

  • Encourage a culture of patient safety, care, compassion and openness across the health service
  • Respect the wishes and best interests of service users involved in a complaint or a patient safety incident
  • Strengthen coordination and cooperation when responding to complaints and patient safety incidents through the exchange of information
  • Support learning from complaints and patient safety incidents and the sharing of good practices to prevent or reduce the risk of future harm to patients
  • Ensure that issues and trends identified by both the HSE and the Patient Advocacy Service are shared appropriately to effect service improvement

Ms Louise Loughlin, National Manager for the Service, said: “We welcome this agreement between the Patient Advocacy Service and the HSE which shows the commitment of both organisations to continue to develop and improve services supporting people who wish to make a complaint about the care they have received in hospital, or in relation to patient safety incidents.”

Mr Patrick Lynch, National Director, HSE, also welcomed the MoU between the HSE and the Patient Advocacy Service, recognising it as “an important step in reassuring service users of the HSE’s continuing commitment to support them through our complaints processes assuring a responsive, compassionate and open approach. This MoU sets outs the HSE’s commitment to promote and facilitate the operation of the Patient Advocacy Service within public acute hospitals.”

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