National Patient Representative Panel

The HSE is looking for volunteers to join our National Patient Representative Panel

We believe it’s essential that the views and experiences of people who have used health services in the past are at the heart of our design, planning and delivery of health services. One of the ways that people can get involved is to join our HSE National Patient Representative Panel.

You can download and share this leaflet with people who would be interested in this opportunity.

We need to recruit new volunteers  

The HSE National Patient Representative Panel needs more people who are willing to give us some of their time and to share their patient experiences with a view to helping us to improve our health services.

We call our volunteers ‘Patient involvement partners’

Who are we looking for

Most of us have had some experience with the health service, good and bad. This isn’t a way to make complaints but we are looking for members of the public who are willing to get involved and share their experiences. You will probably have had some interaction or experience of the health service in recent years. We’re looking for people who have used the health service in any way.

Perhaps you have recently have had experience as an inpatient in a hospital or you had sustained an injury and had to access physiotherapy. You may have been a patient, or the family member of a patient or carer who is interested in participating in a focus group and having an input into health service planning and design. This is about sharing your experiences and opinions.

What would I end up doing

Sometimes we do specific pieces of work to shape services and we tailor our approach to the needs of each health service project. For example, you might be taking part in a focus group, getting involved in a health service working group on a programme or project, attending a conference or giving your feedback on a specific piece of work. Some of this will be done online and some of it will be face-to-face.

We are interested in your views and experiences as a patient involvement partner. Your voice and opinion matters. You would be working closely with HSE staff and other colleagues within healthcare including HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority) and Department of Health staff.

How much time would I need to commit

The time commitment depends on what you can commit to. Our HSE National Patient Representative Panel members get involved in a number of patient partnering opportunities. We share the opportunities with volunteers by email and what we call ‘Expressions of Interest.’ We’ll send you an email with a flyer attached clearly outlining exactly what the piece of work entails.  If you are interested in participating, you reply to the email and tell us you would like to get involved. We’ll then get in touch with the next steps. 

Here are some examples of the work which is undertaken;

  • Focus Groups: A focus group is a planned meeting where a group of people are asked to come together. At a focus group you talk about your opinions and views.  The focus group meetings take place virtually via Zoom or MS Teams. We will take notes in the meeting. Your name will not be in these notes. A focus group usually takes no more than 2 hours and is a one-off meeting.  We want to hear all your thoughts and opinions so we ask people to feel free to talk openly. Your views are very important to us.
  • Committee Members, Working Group or Steering Group Members: patient involvement partners would be required to attend meetings (usually up to 6 - 8 meetings per year) and provide their input as appropriate.  In addition, participation in some workshops with other committee members or patient focus groups might also arise.  The time commitment will always be clearly communicated at expressions of interest stage.

How much support would I get from the HSE

We offer volunteers ongoing support, guidance and contact with plenty of opportunities to get involved. We will do an induction session with you as a new patient representative. You will get to know our HSE staff who work with the National Patient Representative Panel. There will be on-going contact with our staff by e-mail and telephone. We believe in the importance of mentoring and establishing supporting relationships with patient involvement partners.

You will have one person who will be your point of contact for all concerns and queries. We will talk to you and identifying your individual needs and preferences, including access, travel and dietary requirements. (What does access mean?)

Do I get paid for my time  

You won’t get paid but all of your expenses incurred by you as part of their involvement will be reimbursed in line with the HSE Policy for the Reimbursement of Service User Expenses.

You can read the policy here: Policy for the reimbursement of service user expenses (PDF, size 233 KB, 10 pages)

Tell me about some of the examples of work that patients representatives have been involved with over the last few years

Patient involvement partners have been involved in a range of health service areas. For example two patient representatives were recruited for thePre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC). It’s the statutory body who set standards of care for pre-hospital services including the ambulance service, private ambulance services and other emergency care providers. To set standards for delivery of ‘community paramedicine’ in Ireland, PHECC established a committee.

Eight patient involvement partners have been identified to work with HIQA at their focus group in developing an e-learning module on the Fundamentals of Advocacy in health and social care, to support the implementation of National Standards. The purpose of the e-learning module is to support health and social care staff to implement the advocacy elements of the National Standards for Adult Safeguarding and the Guidance on a Rights Based Approach in Health and Social Care.

I’m interested – what are the next steps

For more information please contact:

Nicola Williams

Email: nicolaj.williams@hse.ie 

Tel: 087 7695 710 

Orla O’Reilly

Email: orlab.oreilly@hse.ie 

Tel: 087 1196 993