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Ombudsman to investigate how public hospitals handle complaints:
Asks public to share their experiences with him of making a complaint

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has today, 13 June 2014, announced a

n investigation into how complaints are handled by public hospitals in Ireland and has asked members of the public for their assistance. The Ombudsman’s wide ranging investigation will look at how public hospitals across the State manage and investigate complaints from patients and their families


Speaking today, the Ombudsman said:

“Despite the high number of interactions with our hospitals, relatively few people complain when they are unhappy with the service they receive. Compared with other jurisdictions, complaints to the HSE and to my Office are very low. I want to find out why this is. I want to ensure that people have access to an efficient and effective complaint handling service and to be confident that where poor practice is found, the health service is learning from its mistakes and preventing recurrence.”

The investigation will include site visits/inspections of selected hospitals, interviews with front line and senior staff, focus groups with members of the public, consultation with interested groups, and examination of complaints dealt with by the HSE and the Ombudsman.

The purpose of the investigation is not to examine or re-examine individual complaints, but rather to assess the overall quality of the complaint processes and procedures in place at present. The Ombudsman hopes to publish his findings and conclusions in early 2015.

As a first step the Ombudsman is asking members of the public to let his Office know of their experiences, both positive and negative, of making a complaint about a public hospital. Were their concerns addressed? Did they receive a timely response? Were they told of their right to complain to the Ombudsman? Were they happy that the hospital had learned from any failings in their care?

If they didn’t make a formal complaint despite being unhappy with the service they received, the Ombudsman would also like to know why.

The Ombudsman hopes that his investigation will be of relevance and assistance to the HSE and the Department of Health as they both strive to develop the health service further over the coming years. International experience has shown the value of efficient and effective complaint handling services in the delivery of safe and high quality patient services.

The Ombudsman has set up a number of ways the public can share their experiences.

Through his website:
By E mail:
By telephone: 1890 22 30 30
By FREEPOST to: Ombudsman, 18 Lr Leeson Street, Freepost F5069, Dublin 2

Suggested text to include in newspaper article:

Have you ever made a complaint to a public hospital?

The Ombudsman wants to hear your experience, both good and bad, of making a complaint to a public hospital. If you were unhappy with the service provided by a public hospital and did not make a complaint, the Ombudsman also wants to know why.

The Ombudsman has set up a number of ways you can share your experience.

Through his website:
By E mail:
By telephone: 1890 22 30 30
By FREEPOST to: Ombudsman, 18 Lr Leeson Street, Freepost F5069, Dublin 2

For media queries please contact:

David Nutley
Head of Communications
01 639 5610
086 023 1420 Paul Howe
Communications Officer
01 – 639 5645
086 412 0240

E mail:
Twitter: @officeombudsman
Address: Office of the Ombudsman, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2

Note to Editors: The Office of the Ombudsman is an independent impartial and free to use service. The Ombudsman examines complaints from the public against public bodies such as Government Departments, local authorities, the HSE (including public hospitals) and third level education bodies. Before making a complaint to the Ombudsman the complainant must have tried to resolve their problem with the public body. Peter Tyndall succeeded Emily O’Reilly as Ombudsman in December 2013.