Press Release

Minister announces the award of the contract for the Independent Patient Safety Advocacy Service

The Minister for Health today announced the awarding of the contract for a new independent Patient Safety Advocacy Service. This service will support those wishing to make a complaint about their experience of the public health service; and provide support to patients who may have been affected by a patient safety incident.

Following a competitive tendering process, the contract to operate the new service has been awarded to the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities. It is anticipated that the service will become operational in the second half of 2019.

This new service will provide people with an opportunity to talk to someone independent of the health service, provide information about how to make a complaint and provide the supports that may be needed throughout the complaints process. The service will initially be focused on the public acute hospital sector.

The Minister said “Patient safety is at the core of our health service. It is vital though that we also ensure a person-centred approach for patients and service users when something goes wrong in their care or treatment. The new independent Patient Safety Advocacy Service will provide a free, independent and confidential service to help those who wish to make a complaint about the health service.

“The awarding of this contract is a significant step towards addressing the important concerns raised to ensure that we have a responsive, compassionate and supportive approach to assisting people when they are unhappy with their care.”

Commenting for the National Advocacy Service, Louise Loughlin, National Manager said that they were delighted to be able to develop a new, free and independent advocacy service for patients from next year.

A programme to enable the establishment of the service, and recruitment and training of advocates, will now commence. Following that process, it is anticipated that the service will become operational in the second half of 2019.


Notes to the Editor

The establishment of a Patient Safety Advocacy Service is a recommendation that has been made by both the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) report into Portlaoise Hospital as well reports by the Ombudsman. It was also a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government.

An extensive stakeholder engagement and a national public consultation was conducted in 2017 and 2018 to inform the development of the service.

The National Advocacy Service (NAS) currently provides an independent, confidential and free, issues-based representative advocacy service. NAS is funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board (CIB) which has a mandate under the Citizens Information Act 2007 and Comhairle Act 2000 to provide advocacy for people with disabilities.

In 2017, NAS provided independent representative advocacy to 852 people, and provided one-off information, advice, one-off interventions and arms-length advocacy in a further 2,776 instances.

NAS has extensive experience providing advocacy support, having provided advocacy services to people with disabilities since 2011, including in all health and social care settings, including acute, community and primary care settings.