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Nursing Homes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 5 July 2022

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Questions (759)

Fergus O'Dowd


759. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that independent advocates will have appropriate access to residents in private nursing homes under agreed protocols and on request from residents or family next of kin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35727/22]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Access to independent advocates is governed by legislation under the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2013. Regulation 9 provides that registered providers of nursing home care are obliged to uphold a residents’ right to access to independent advocacy services.

The Patient Advocacy Service (PAS) is an independent health complaints advocacy service which was established by my Department in 2018. PAS provides a free and independent service to help users of public acute hospitals making or intending to make a formal complaint. The Programme for Government: Our Shared Future (2020) contained a commitment to examine extending the remit of PAS to residents of long-term residential care facilities.

In February 2021, the original PAS contract was extended, and from June 2021 the service was offered to HSE-operated nursing homes and nursing homes operated under arrangement pursuant to Section 38.

Earlier this year, the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities (NAS) was awarded the contract for the next iteration of PAS. This next iteration of the service, commencing from November 2022, will include expansion to private nursing homes.

In advance of the next iteration of PAS, my Department is examining complaints processes across the nursing home sector including key data, information on best practice, the level of standardisation, and the views of key stakeholders including residents and families, with a view to determining the need to develop enablers such as policy, legislative and/or guidance instruments. In parallel with this work, my Department is also examining whether any legislative amendments will be required to support the rollout of the advocacy service to private nursing homes.