Hospital complaints to HIQA rose 21pc last year
The country's patient safety watchdog received 337 reports about care in hospitals last year - a rise of 21pc compared with 2013, it emerged yesterday.
The majority of complaints received were used to inform ongoing monitoring and investigation programmes, such as the probe into standards of care at Portlaoise Hospital, the annual report of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) revealed.
The report on Portlaoise is due to be published next month.
The biggest number of complaints, 609, related to nursing homes. HIQA inspects nursing homes run by the Health Service Executive and private providers.
Another 203 complaints were made about disability services and 85 related to centres looking after children in State care as well as social services in the community.
"Our inspectors assessed and responded to 80 pieces of information as well as notification about high-risk incidents in designated centres for children with disabilities," it said.
The report said it carried out 762 inspections of nursing homes and one was closed.
Another 678 inspections of centres for adults and children with a disability took place.
They made 52 unannounced visits to hospitals.
In five inspections of social services charged with child protection, the inspectors found that social workers and other staff worked hard but faced significant challenges. There were long waiting lists for basic social work interventions such as assessment and many foster carers did not have link workers.
The inspectors also found some children, deemed to be at serious and ongoing risk, did not have social workers.
There were no specific policies or procedures in place for managing allegations of institutional or organised abuse and retrospective disclosures.
The watchdog is to publish a report this year on foot of its inspection of child protection and welfare services in direct provision accommodation - residential institutions where asylum seekers live while they wait a decision on their asylum application.
Referring to hygiene inspection of hospitals, the report said that while most were generally clean, there were varying levels of compliance with standards.
Poor levels of compliance were seen in the cleanliness of patient equipment and in sanitary facilities. The report warned a culture of good handwashing had still not been embedded fully across all hospitals.