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New advocacy service to provide support for concerned patients

A new way for patients to raise complaints about the Irish health system is being launched today.

The advocacy service will be government-funded but will operate independently and give patients the opportunity to voice any concerns they have in a confidential manner.

The new service offers a confidential helpline with experienced advocates on-hand to provide information and support to patients who want to make a formal complaint to the HSE about the care they experienced in a public hospital.

Health Minister Simon Harris, who is launching the service, says it is the first of its kind in the country.

"There is a confidential helpline and a website, PatientAdvocacyService.ie, and it is an opportunity to talk to someone independent of the health service," he said.

"You can be provided with information on how to make a complaint and indeed provided with supports that you might need through the complaints process.

"I hope this is an easier way for somebody who had a bad experience or indeed feels vulnerable or wishes to have assistance to navigate the health service."

The Patient Advocacy Service, funded by the Department of Health and independent of the HSE, is a free and confidential service. The tender to provide the service was awarded in 2018 to the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities, which has many years’ experience of delivering advocacy in the public sector.

You can contact the Patient Advocacy Service by calling 0818 293003.