On 2 July 2015, the Chief Executive of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), Phelim Quinn, and Ombudsman Peter Tyndall signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)on behalf of the Authority and the Office of the Ombudsman. The MoU will facilitate the exchange of information and complaints between both Offices in the best interests of the public and the health and social care services. The agreement will also establish procedures to assist members of the public in accessing the services of both organisations.
Speaking at the signing, Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said:
"The complaints landscape in Ireland, particularly in the health and social care sector, is fractured and complex. There is an onus on regulatory and complaints handling bodies to ensure that complaints or information received from the public is channelled to the appropriate office. This ensures that anyone with concerns about the service they have received can have those concerns addressed properly, thoroughly and promptly. My Office and HIQA have separate but complementary roles in the health and social care area and on occasion complaints or information received by either office can be of use and benefit to both our offices. This MoU is particularly timely from my Office's perspective as I will shortly be given jurisdiction over private nursing homes."
Chief Executive of HIQA, Phelim Quinn said:
“As we have seen from recent investigations, actively seeking feedback from service users and their families is key to patient quality and safety in the Irish healthcare setting. Without listening to service users there is no opportunity for those working in healthcare to learn and improve the quality and efficiency of services. Efficient, reliable and safe patient care is one of the benefits of listening to and learning from the experiences of service users.
Although our remit prevents the Authority from investigating individual complaints, we use the information provided to inform our monitoring activity of the centres involved. This information is passed to the provider of the service to investigate. This MoU with the Ombudsman will enable appropriate and effective sharing of information on complaints and concerns about services.”
The full text of the MoU is available on the websites of both offices:
Note for Editors
Role of the Office of the Ombudsman
The Office of the Ombudsman investigates complaints from members of the public against certain public bodies, including the HSE, public hospitals and publicly provided social care services. Organisations providing health or personal social services for or with the assistance of the HSE are also subject to the Ombudsman's jurisdiction.
From 24 August 2015 the Ombudsman's remit will be expanded to include complaints against private nursing homes.
The Health Information and Quality Authority is the independent Authority established to drive continuous improvement in Ireland’s health and personal social care services, monitor the safety and quality of these services and promote person-centred care for the benefit of the public. The Authority’s mandate extends across the quality and safety of the public, private (within our social care function) and voluntary sectors. HIQA reports to the Minister for Health and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
The Authority’s four core functions are: