Launch of 2018 Annual Report of the Confidential Recipient

HSE Press Release: 3rd September 2019

206 concerns were received during 2018

The 2018 Annual Report of Leigh Gath, independent Confidential Recipient, is published today, 3rd  September 2019.  This is the fourth such report published since Leigh Gath’s appointment as the independent Confidential Recipient by the HSE in December 2014.

The Office of the Confidential Recipient is a national service, which receives concerns/complaints related to vulnerable adults in HSE or HSE-funded care services.

The confidential recipient is a person who can act as a voice for vulnerable older people and people with a disability. Although appointed by the HSE, the confidential recipient is independent of the HSE.

In the report, Ms Gath says 2018 was again a busy year with 206 concerns received, 39 meetings held with families and / or advocates and 50 meetings with the HSE management. Additionally, Ms Gath presented on 21 occasions at conferences and symposiums, providing information and detailing her experience as part of her role at these events. 

During 2018, 130 concerns or complaints relating to care issues were received.  Examples of concerns or complaints under this type include:

  • People waiting for nursing home or residential placements following discharge from hospital
  • People waiting for transfer from one nursing home to another in locality or into the community
  • People waiting for supports in the community (moving from residential or nursing homes)
  • Personal Assistant (PA) services
  • Respite service provision

76 safeguarding concerns or  complaints were received, in which family issues were the largest volume reported (22). Examples of concerns / complaints under this type include:

  • Concerns about family relative that another family member could potentially be abusing
  • Serious allegations of abuse
  • Concerns of neglect of person by other family members

170 [83%] of the 206 concerns / complaints were closed during 2018.  Of these, 62% (105) were closed out within one month.  

Since Ms Gath’s appointment, the office has dealt with almost 750 formal concerns/complaints from across the country.

In the report Ms Gath said Respite is a very important service for many people with disabilities and their families:

“I would like to see respite services more widely available so that more people with disabilities and their families can benefit from this vital service.  I would like to see more funding made available for respite breaks.  I would also like to see this service available in areas where no respite places are available. ”

Ms Gath is keen to hear from people who may have a concern or complaint, those who are worried about the treatment and care of a loved one in a disability or residential service, or who simply require information, to come forward and make contact.

She also said she welcomes the growing number of staff members who contact her office.

“While a culture of fear in coming forward is slowly eroding, it is important to give assurance that every concern received by my office is taken seriously.  Should a staff member wish to raise a concern or complaint in an anonymous capacity, it will be received by my office and reviewed and investigated in the same manner as other concerns or complaints.” 

People with disabilities, older people, their families, advocates, members of the public and staff are welcome to contact the Office if they feel they have experienced or witnessed what they feel may be abuse, neglect or bad practice in care provided by the HSE or their providers in residential, day or home services.

To contact the Confidential Recipient:

LoCall:  1890 100 014

Email: leigh.gath@crhealth.ie 

Or send a letter to: The Office of the Confidential Recipient, Vocational Training Centre, Dooradoyle, Co. Limerick. 

To arrange an appointment, people can telephone on the above number.

Ms Gath concluded that it was reassuring to see that people were making use of the Confidential Recipient Office, and the message was out there that keeping people with disabilities and older people safe is everyone’s business.

View the 2018 Annual Report of the Confidential Recipient online www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/

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Last updated on: 03 / 09 / 2019