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Public ‘afraid’ to complain about HSE — Ombudsman

28 May 2015

Peter Tyndall (Ombudsman)

An investigation by the Ombudsman has found that one of the reasons people are afraid to complain about the care and treatment they receive in hospitals is because they are concerned about the repercussions for themselves or their loved ones.

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall was due to launch his investigation report, ‘Learning to Get Better — How Public Hospitals Handle Complaints’, this Wednesday (May 27), ahead of a seminar to be addressed by Tony O’Brien, Director General of the HSE, who will respond to the Ombudsman’s report, and Sir Robert Francis, author of the seminal report into the failures at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust in the UK.

The report follows an extensive investigation into why the Ombudsman receives a low volume of complaints about hospital care. This investigation involved focus groups with patients, interviews with hospital staff and visits to a selection of hospitals.

The Ombudsman received just 130 complaints about healthcare in 2013. In the same year, the Ombudsman for Wales — a post Tyndall held before returning to Ireland — received 682 complaints, in a country with approximately 1.5 million fewer people.

“That is a striking difference and I can’t believe that healthcare in Ireland is so superior to healthcare in Wales as to account for that,” Tyndall commented in June last year as news of the investigation was first announced.

Dara Gantly

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times