The founding members of Patient Focus were pioneers. Pioneering Patient Advocates
A single outing by Dr Tony O’Sullivan on the Gay Byrne Show in April 1996 generated a large response to a request for stories of real experiences of patients and their families. The message from patients was that they and their families can be hurt physically, emotionally and spiritually by the “care they are subjected to”. That sometimes they never recover. That no one wanted to know. The patient and their family were voiceless. The injured patient was an embarrassment. Their families were trouble makers. They should be grateful. They should not complain.
Patient Focus members set about changing that culture. A culture so embedded that many professionals were startled by the simple fact that patients are sometimes injured and sometimes needlessly die as a result of substandard care. Some people in the system thought us mad. But others knew we were right. We knew we were right too because the people who contacted us told us so. We are very glad we listened. We will keep listening for as long as patients and families want to share their experiences with us. We will continue to be pioneers. That is what patients and their families deserve.
With the words of patients and their families strong and clear in our ears we go in to medicine’s dark corners. We shine a light into them. We seek to change what must be changed. We will continue to do this as new hidden corners emerge.