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 HSE ‘Your Service, Your Say’ complaints policy about the care they have experienced in a public acute hospital or a HSE-operated nursing home.
The Patient Advocacy Service is fully independent of the HSE, and receives no funding from the HSE.
The Service can help users make a formal complaint about a hospital or nursing home experience. We have a phone line, online contact form and information on this website to assist people when they want to make a formal complaint.
- We can support you to get information on the formal HSE complaints process ‘Your Service, Your Say.’
- 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 from the HSE 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 a HSE-operated 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, 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 won’t 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 service provides free and confidential patient advocacy. We are external to hospitals and receive no HSE funding. 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.