HSE Welcomes Ombudsman’s Report

09 July 2008

The Health Service Executive (HSE) today welcomed the 2007 report of the Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly. 

With the commencement of Part 9 of the Health Act 2004, Ms Mary Culliton, Head of Consumer Affairs has been engaging with staff in the Office of the Ombudsman to ensure that the HSE meets its obligations under this Act.  She is also working to ensure that complaints are dealt within a timely manner and that there continues to be full co-operation given to the Ombudsman and her staff.

Ms Culliton today pointed out –

“Staff in the health services have been liaising with the Office of the Ombudsman since the 1st April 1985 when the powers of investigation of the Ombudsman were extended to include Health Boards and through these links positive working relationships have been developed and we continue to learn from the Ombudsman’s investigations and subsequent recommendations and with their help we are continuing to develop a service for patients and service users, which is open, fair and accountable”.

The HSE has put in place a robust system for dealing with complaints at local level and also an internal review procedure under the 2004 Health Act for complainants who remain unhappy with the outcome of their complaint. ‘Your Service your Say’ a guide to the Health Service process for managing comments, compliments and complaints was formally launched in May 2008 by the Minister for Health and Children Ms Mary Harney and Professor Brendan Drumm CEO of the HSE with the publication of the strategy for service user involvement in health services  

“As part of new procedures in the HSE, people are informed of their right to go to the Ombudsman should they remain dissatisfied and we publicise this fact on all our complaints literature.  We welcome recommendations from the Ombudsman as it helps us to deliver a better service and we look forward to continue working with her office in this regard” - Ms Culliton explained.   

In 2007 the HSE dealt with 4,376 complaints and, of these, 81 people (2%) sought a review of their complaint.  These complaints covered a broad range of activities for example treatment , service delivery, delays , waiting times and communication issues. 

“The HSE encourages people who are unhappy with the services being delivered to them to let us know.  By receiving feedback from patients and service users we can identify areas for improvements and also what is working well.  We can then use this information to improve the quality of our services” - Ms Culliton emphasised. 

Anyone wishing to make a complaint or give feedback to the HSE can do so in a number of ways:

-         Talk to a member of staff
-         Call 1850 24 1850
-         Fill out a ‘Your Service, Your Say’ form in your local HSE office or hospital
-         Email yoursay@hse.ie

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Alex Connolly
, Head of Press and Media Relations
Health Services Executive
Ph: (01) 6352862
/ (087) 6184450

Last updated on: 09 / 07 / 2008