(June 3rd2015) Tallaght Hospital’s community outreach programme and system for handling complaints has been commended in a report by the Ombudsman into how public hospitals engage with the public and learn from the feedback. The report commenced in autumn 2014 and a process in which Tallaght Hospital fully participated. The report is significant because it is the first time such an investigation has been carried out since the office of the ombudsman was established over 30 years ago.
The Ombudsman’s report highlights the importance of hospital users being aware of their right to complain and that they are given appropriate information on how to complain. Tallaght Hospital’s Patient Community and Advisory Council – and its annual Health Fair – was used as an example of a community-based group which contributes to understanding the experience of patients and families using the hospital services – as well as providing them with information on their right to make a complaint.
Tallaght Hospital’s Health Fair is held in a community hall and all members of the local community are invited to attend. The event is widely advertised and is attended by hospital staff to explain about supports available to hospital users and how to make complaint.
Patient feedback is a central part of all Tallaght Hospital’s operations and this includes consideration of an individual patient’s complaint at each Hospital Board meeting. This practice was also commended by the Ombudsman Mr Peter Tyndall in his comments at the recent launch of ‘Learning to Get Better’.
Tallaght Hospital has also begun the roll-out of a series of patient surveys to identify the views of our patients and visitors. The results of the surveys to be undertaken will be shared through the Hospital’s internal communications leaflet to guide the development of facilities and services that can better serve the needs of patients and visitors.
Tallaght Hospital CEO David Slevin stated “Every staff member in Tallaght Hospital is an advocate for patients and their families through the care they provide on a daily basis. To support this work, and to learn from patient feedback, we have a Patient Advocacy Department and a Patient-Community Advisory Council in place to uphold the rights of hospital users. These structures are a central part of how we constantly work to improve our services by learning from patient feedback and applying it in the care we provide.
These references by the Ombudsman to the Hospital’s work in engaging patients is a positive endorsement of the work of our staff in ensuring the patient’s voice is heard. We have a strong platform to work from and the roll-out of new initiatives in this area, such as the ongoing patient surveys, will further add to this patient-first approach.”