Elected representatives have experienced difficulties making representations to hospitals and other health services on behalf of constituents, a report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children states.
The cross-party group wants the HSE to consider giving more formal recognition to the role of advocates who are working to support vulnerable clients.
In its ‘Report on the Role of Advocacy in Health and Social Care Services in Ireland,’ published yesterday, the committee says the lack of statutory powers for advocates can prevent them from accessing or supporting clients.
Any new patient advocacy service should be independent of the HSE and funding should be ring-fenced and independent of the service provider.
Committee chair Jerry Buttimer said: “The Joint Committee on Health and Children acknowledges the important role that advocates can play in supporting decision-making by people with disabilities, vulnerable patients, and users of health and social services.”
He said that at a meeting last November, stakeholders identified barriers which can prevent access to patients and other clients.
“The report aims to address some of these barriers, in order to safeguard the rights of vulnerable individuals,” he said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved