My department has commissioned the national independent Patient Advocacy Service. This service will provide a free, independent and confidential service to help those who wish to make a complaint about the health service or who have been involved in a patient safety incident and help them to reach resolution. It will foster a responsive, compassionate and supportive approach to assisting people when they are unhappy with their care.
The advocates engaged by the service will support the patient with an individual complaint by empowering the person to have their voice heard in the complaints process. They do not take sides and seek to ensure a process is fair and that the individual’s views, concerns and decisions are adequately addressed.
The service is expected to be available in the Autumn of 2019. Accredited training of patient safety complaints advocates commences this month. The service will be provided nationally for public acute hospital patients, extending to service users in the community by 2021. At its full complement, it is anticipated the service will engage up to 20 Advocates to provide the Patient Advocacy Service on a national basis.
The contract to operate the new service was awarded to the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities in December 2018 for a duration of 2.5 years. The budget for 2019 is €1.1 million.