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Thursday 21 September 2017

Complaints to HSE over treatment of patients up by third

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

COMPLAINTS to the HSE about how patients and members of the public are treated have risen by almost one-third, new figures show.

The numbers of complaints to the health service in this category went up from 2,388 in 2011 to 3,049 in 2012.

Complaints about clinical judgment rose by 37pc, while grievances about facilities and buildings rose by 12pc, the figures reveal.

An analysis of the 6,613 complaints recorded and examined by complaints officers during the year showed that 805 were about delays and waiting times, down from 2,435 in 2011.

Nearly one in 10 related to staff attitude or manner, while grievances about communication accounted for 8pc of the total.

Others referred to nursing homes, infection control, cancellation of appointments and hospital accommodation and food.

The HSE said that voluntary hospitals and agencies, which received public money to provide services and care, received 8,704 complaints which represented a rise of 29pc.

Of the 6,813 complaints, just 69pc were dealt with within 30 days as promised by the HSE.

The biggest number of complaints, 2,089, came from the HSE South region.

SETTLEMENT

Meanwhile, the annual report of the HSE revealed that a revenue audit for 2012 found an underpayment of PRSI, giving rise to a settlement with Revenue totalling €54,000.

"Where areas of non-compliance are detected, either in the course of Revenue audit or arising from self-review exercises, immediate steps are taken to settle the liability with Revenue and ensure that the necessary action is taken to eliminate the scope for such errors," the report said.

It added that a "comprehensive self-review programme is being undertaken in 2013 of the various areas of tax risk identified, with priority being given to those areas regarded as being high risk.

"Any underpayment of tax identified in the self-review will be disclosed to the Revenue Commissioners. The HSE has obtained specialist tax advice which indicated that any liability which might arise would not be expected to be material in the context of the HSE's overall annual tax liability."

The report said the establishment of an in-house specialist tax function for the HSE was a priority for 2013.

"The HSE is committed to exemplary compliance with taxation laws," it added.

Irish Independent

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