What is the Patient Advocacy Service?
The Patient Advocacy Service is an independent, free and confidential service. We provide information and support to people who want to make a formal complaint through the relevant complaints policy about the care they have experienced in a Public Acute Hospital or Nursing Home. We also support people in the aftermath of a Patient Safety Incident.
The Patient Advocacy Service is wholly funded by the Department of Health and therefore fully independent of the HSE and all other service providers.
The Service can help you make a formal complaint about an experience they have had in a Public Acute Hospital or Nursing Home. We have a phone line, online contact form and information on this website to assist you when you want to make a formal complaint.
- We can support you to get information on the HSE complaints process ‘Your Service, Your Say’ (for Public Acute Hospitals) or the complaints process for a Nursing Home.
- We can explain what to include in your formal complaint, and how to write a formal complaint.
- We can support you to explore your options following a response to your formal complaint.
The Patient Advocacy Service was commissioned by the Department of Health and has been developed by an organisation called the National Advocacy Service.
If you need assistance making a formal complaint about the care you have experienced in a Public Acute Hospital or Nursing Home, check out our Step-by-Step Guide, read our Frequently Asked Questions, or contact us online here or by phone at 0818293003.
If you need assistance making a complaint about an experience you had in a Public Acute Hospital or Nursing Home, check out our:
Why was the Patient Advocacy Service Established?
The Service was set up on foot of recommendations made by HIQA and the Ombudsman to improve the way complaints are handled in the Irish health system. The Government included the establishment of an independent patient advocacy and complaints service in the Programme for a Partnership Government 2016, and the Department of Health commissioned the new service in late 2018.
You can find out more about the background to establishing the Service on the Department of Health website here;
What is advocacy?
Advocacy involves an independent professional assisting a person through a complaints process.
An advocate helps to ensure that the person’s voice, will and preferences are heard and given due consideration in a decision making or complaints process.
An advocate can provide a person with support, information and the tools to represent themselves through communications and at meetings. Advocates can assist people in writing letters, emails, and making phone calls.
Advocacy can also help people to understand options, weigh up factors and make an informed decision. An advocate will not advise people on what is the best choice, but will empower people to make up their own minds in a difficult situation.
What are the benefits of Patient Advocacy?
The Patient Advocacy Service provides free and confidential patient advocacy. The Service is wholly funded by the Department of Health and therefore fully independent of the HSE and all other service providers. Patients can have confidence that the Patient Advocacy Service offers support that is independent and impartial.
Patient advocacy can help ensure that patients receive an adequate response from the appropriate decision-makers or authorities when they have made a complaint.
Patient advocacy can help ensure a process is efficient, enhancing understanding of both sides of the issues at hand, and reducing confusion or delay.
Patient advocacy can also help reduce the stress and trauma that the complaints process can further cause for an individual, who may already have experienced a traumatic incident.