Wednesday 21 March 2018

HSE patients 'too frightened to complain' warns Ombudsman

Patients also believe complaining wouldn't make a difference
Patients also believe complaining wouldn't make a difference
Ombudsman Peter Tyndall Newsdesk Newsdesk

Irish patients are afraid to complain about how they are treated by hospitals over concerns their standard of care will be affected.

An investigation by the Ombudsman found that many people refused to lodge complains against hospital staff because they feared repercussions for themselves or their loved ones.

The report, from Ombudsman Peter Tyndall, calls for an independent complaints service for patients.

“I wonder if the tragic events seen in Aras Attracta and Portlaoise hospital could have been avoided if those complaints were dealt with properly,” he said.

A large proportion of those surveyed also believed complaining made no difference.

Speaking at the launch of the report, the Ombudsman recommended that the HSE and each hospital put an action plan in place to “ensure that people have access to an effective independent advocacy service."

The survey was carried out because Mr Tyndall was concerned that his office was receiving fewer complaints compared to other health service ombudsmans in other countries.

"Despite the high number of interactions with our hospitals, relatively few people complain when they are unhappy with the service they receive. Compared with other jurisdictions, complaints to the HSE and to my Office are very low. I want to find out why this is," he said in 2014.

Complaints to the ombudsman about healthcare represent 20pc all complaints received. In Northern Ireland this figure is over 60pc, while in the UK it is closer to 80pc.

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