Written Answers. - Appointment of Health Ombudsman.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

237 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the current position in regard to the appointment, role and function of the Health Ombudsman as envisaged in the Programme for a Partnership Government, 1993-1997. [1169/94]

The Programme for a Partnership Government envisaged the extention of the remit of the Ombudsman, in so far as it relates to health matters, into the area of patients' rights.

Under the Ombudsman Act, 1980, and statutory instruments made thereunder, the Ombudsman is empowered to investigate complaints against the Department of Health and, where administrative matters are concerned, the health boards. The question of extending the remit of the Ombudsman into areas not covered at present is being examined in the context of the Department's review of the Charter of Rights for Hospital Patients and also in the context of the general review of the functions of the Ombudsman's Office which is being undertaken by the Department of Finance.