The Patient Advocacy Service has launched its 2022 Annual Report. The Report presents the key activities, statistics, and achievements of the Service, including the expansion of its remit to people living in Private Nursing Homes.
The Patient Advocacy Service, commissioned by the Department of Health and delivered by the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities (NAS), provides support to people who wish to make a complaint about their care in a Public Acute Hospital or a Nursing Home and in the aftermath of a patient safety incident. The Patient Advocacy Service was established in 2019 and this is its third annual report.
NAS was recently awarded the contract from the National Patient Safety Office in the Department of Health (DoH) to deliver the Patient Advocacy Service for a further five years, from October 2022 to October 2027.
The Patient Advocacy service continued to grow at pace in 2022, providing advocacy in 1,859 complaint enquiries, an increase of 54% on 2021. Communication was a significant theme for many people who contacted the Patient Advocacy Service in 2022. People seeking advocacy reported problems such as people’s anxieties not being addressed, lack of capacity for visiting, poorly communicated healthcare plans, people having difficulty phoning healthcare units or speaking to staff and staff speaking to people in a condescending manner. These are important issues and have significant impact on people’s lives when they are not addressed. It is the experience of our Advocates that people who seek advocacy support do so because they have exhausted all other options.
The Patient Advocacy Service continued to receive enquiries associated with the COVID 19 pandemic, with ongoing restrictions and disruptions to health services across the country disproportionately impacting people. While there was a dramatic reduction in Covid-19 cases and the lifting of almost all restrictions, the shift back to “normal” life was slower for a lot of the people who access the Patient Advocacy Service and the residual impact will require significant management for some time to come.
In 2022,the Patient Advocacy Service extended its remit to people living in Private Nursing Homes who wish to make a complaint about care they have received or in the aftermath of a safety incident. The service now provides advocacy to all nursing home residents in the country.
To provide for the successful delivery of our national service delivery model and maximising the Service’s opportunity for quality service provision and growth, two new regional hubs were established. The Patient Advocacy Service now has offices in Dublin, Cork, and Galway.
These important steps forward will ensure that the Patient Advocacy Service can continue to help people across Ireland, upholding their human rights and supporting them to have their voice heard.
Read the Annual Report 2022 here:
Listen to James and Sarah’s Stories here: