The Office of the Confidential Recipient is a national free service and acts as an independent voice and advocate for vulnerable adults with a disability and for older persons who are receiving services in residential services, day services, community services, mental health, older person services including HSE nursing homes, community nursing units and primary care services who wish to report a concern and or make a complaint. The Confidential Recipient is appointed by the HSE but is independent from the HSE in providing a confidential service.
Ms Gráinne Cunningham-O’Brien is the National Confidential Recipient.
Gráinne is a graduate of University of Galway. She brings to the role many years of professional social work experience in a number of different practice areas including child protection and fostering, safeguarding and protection of vulnerable adults at risk of abuse, adult mental health and intellectual disability service. In addition, Gráinne has social work managerial experience in primary care, palliative care, older persons’ services, children’s disability services, and acute clinical social work.
I welcome the opportunity to listen to your concern and or complaint and to advocate for you.
Frequently asked questions
How do I contact the National Confidential Recipient?
Complete the online enquiry form
Gráinne Cunningham O’Brien: Confidential Recipient
Office of the Confidential Recipient
Merlin Park University Hospital
Old Dublin Road
What is the Confidential Recipient Office?
The Confidential Recipient is a person who acts as a voice and advocate for vulnerable people with a disability and for older people who wish to report a concern and or complaint. The Confidential Recipient is appointed by the HSE but is completely independent of the HSE. Gráinne will have the authority to review concerns and complaints reported to her, will advise and assist individuals on the proper course of action to take, assist with the referral process to the relevant HSE Chief Officer, to ensure review of reported concerns and complaints. Gráinne will see that the reported concern and or complaint is responded to by the HSE Chief Officer in line with the agreed fifteen working day response time frame.
The Confidential Recipient Office is not an emergency service. If you think a vulnerable adult is at immediate risk and in danger, call 112 or 999 and you will be directed to the relevant emergency service.
What is a vulnerable person?
A vulnerable adult, as defined by the HSE Safeguarding and Protection of Vulnerable Adults at Risk of Abuse; Incorporating Elder Abuse Policy (2014) is defined as an individual age 18 or older who does not have the functional, mental, or physical inability to care for themselves. It can also refer to one who is unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation. The restriction of capacity may arise as a result of physical, mental, sensory or intellectual impairment. Vulnerability is influenced by context (e.g. social or personal circumstances) and individual circumstances.
What concerns and complaints can be reported to the Confidential Recipient Office?
The Confidential Recipient reviews reported concerns and complaints in the following categories:
Poor care practices
The concern and or complaint must relate to a vulnerable adult with a disability and or older person in receipt of a HSE residential service, day service and or any community service and or HSE funded organisation including in the community.
The Confidential Recipient does not carry out the review of your concern and or complaint on the ground. This is the responsibility of the relevant HSE Chief Officer and his team who report back to the Confidential Recipient Office with an outcome.
Who can report a concern and or complaint?
If you are unable to make a complaint on your own behalf due to your age, illness or disability, someone else can make a complaint on your behalf. The people who can make a complaint on your behalf include:
- A close relative or carer.
- A friend.
- A neighbour.
- A staff member.
- Anyone appointed by law or the courts to take care of your affairs.
- A legal representative.
- Anyone else with your consent.
- Anyone who is appointed, as set out in the Regulations.
Please do not report a concern and or complaint to the Confidential Recipient Office, where there is an active complaint being processed with a HSE complaints service such Your Service Your Say (YSYS), Patient Advocacy Service (PAS) or at local service level with the provider and or with the HSE Safeguarding and Protection Team.
If the concern and or complaint is open to another complaints pathway and there exists a safeguarding concern that is not within the remit of that pathway, the Confidential Recipient will review the concern and or complaint and a make a decision.
After you report a concern and or complaint, the Confidential Recipient will commence the following process:
- The Confidential Recipient reviews the concern and or complaint.
- Where informed consent can be obtained from the vulnerable person, this will follow in line with best practice.
- If the concern and or complaint is within the remit of the Office of the Confidential Recipient, a referral will be sent to the relevant HSE Chief Officer, who has fifteen working days to complete a review and respond with a report (solving your concern may take longer).
- Once a response report is received from the HSE Chief Officer, it will be shared with you and if you are satisfied, the concern is closed.
- Where you and or the Confidential Recipient is dissatisfied with the Chief Officer’s response report, it will be sent back for further review.
- Where warranted, the Confidential Recipient will direct concerns and or complaints for further review to the HSE National Director.
- If the concern and or complaint reported is not within the remit of the Confidential Recipient Office, you will be advised and supported in identifying the appropriate pathway to raise your concern and or complaint.
Are there any costs to the person reporting the concern and or complaint?
There is no fee to report a concern and or complaint about a public health or personal social service provided by the HSE or on behalf of the HSE.
Privately Owned Nursing Homes and other Facilities
The Confidential Recipient does not have a remit in privately owned nursing homes and other private facilities.
Where a patient, service user, family member, other concerned individual or staff member has a concern in a privately owned facility, you should access the complaints procedure for that facility. The responsibility for reviewing the concern and or complaint rests with the provider. Regulations governing the facility require registered providers to have in place written operational policies and procedures relating to the making, handling and investigation of complaints and to have an appeals process. Individual complaints should be brought to the attention of the registered provider, who is obliged to review the concern and or complaint and make sure that any resident is not adversely affected because a complaint has been made.
Concerns should be reported to the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA).
Phone: 021 240 9646
Post information to: Concerns, HIQA, George’s Court, George's Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7, Ireland.
Where the Confidential Recipient receives a concern and or complaint pertaining to a private facility, it will be forwarded to email@example.com for information sharing purposes.
The Confidential Recipient does not have a remit in Private Hospitals. Contact the provider directly to report your concern and or complaint. You can also report your concern to HIQA at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Office of the Ombudsman
6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 W773.
Phone: 01 639 5600: www.ombudsman.ie
“The Ombudsman examines complaints relating to public services in Ireland such as those from government departments, local authorities and the HSE. We also examine complaints about private nursing homes”. www.ombudsman.ie/contact/
HSE Public Funded Acute Hospital: Concerns and Complaints
Where your concern and or complaint relates to an experience in a HSE public hospital, the Confidential Recipient does not have a remit, but will send your concern to the CEO of the hospital group for review.
How will whistle-blowers, patients, service users, families, and other concerned individuals and staff members who come forward be protected?
The Confidential Recipient will receive all concerns and complaints in confidence. There is no obligation on the Confidential Recipient to disclose the source of the concern or complaint for a review by the relevant HSE Chief Officer. This is the independent role. Where a person reporting a concern and or complaint wishes to remain anonymous their contact details will not be included in the referral to the HSE Chief Officer.
Other forms of reporting concerns and making complaints
Patient Advocacy Service (PAS)
You can also contact the HSE Patient Advocacy Service in relation to an experience you had in a public hospital: www.patientadvocacyservice.ie National Phone Line 0818 293003.
HSE Complaints Process Your Service Your Say (YSYS)
You may wish to refer your concern and or complaint to the YSYS where your experience with the HSE – funded service has already happened and you were dissatisfied.
Patients, service users, families, other concerned individuals and staff members may contact the HSE's
National Complaints Governance and Learning Team
Lo-call 1890 424 555
A complaints officer will look into the complaint within 30 working days of the date when it was acknowledged. If it takes longer to look into all the issues raised in the complaint the complaints officer will advise of this within thirty working days and provide an update every twenty working days after that.
The HSE National Information line is Freephone 1800 700 700 or 041 685 0300
Staff may call the Raising a Concern in the Workplace Information Hotline (01-6626984) or write to PO Box 11571, Dublin 2 to report a concern using the HSE Protected Disclosure of Information policy. The complainant's details, those of the employer and the issue raised are recorded and this policy ensures legal protection is afforded to the complainant by the HSE. Concerns raised follow the process as outlined in the Protected Disclosure of information policy.
Ombudsman for Children
Freephone: 1800 20 20 40