3,000 complaints about public services – 79 from Donegal

The Ombudsman's Annual Report for 2017 has revealed that of the 3000 complaints made about providers of public services, 79 were made in Donegal.

Among sectors most complained about last year was Government Department/ Offices, local authorities and the health and social care sector.

Donegal County Council received 39 complaints in 2017 about its services.

In one case study investigated by the Ombudsman a man had issued a complaint concerning delays in the transfer of his elderly brother from Letterkenny University Hospital to University Hospital Galway for a urology review and having not been informed of falls suffered in hospital.

Upon investigation, it was discovered the man suffered 4 falls, receiving treatment for each and an orange band placed on his wrist, indicating risk of falling.

However, it was found no action was taken to prevent future falls, documentation was incomplete and the family were not notified.

The Ombudsman says the urology team had accepted the man for transfer but his name was not added to the bed management list until 13 days later. LUH is said to be unaware of this until the investigtation. The man then became too unwell for transfer.

The Ombudsman says no agreed protocol covering the transfer of patients between the two hospitals was in place and there was serious communication issues.

The Hospital Group has committted to finalising a Bi-Directional Patient Flow policy, formalising a new falls management policy and specialist 'Frailty' training as well as inculding clear documentation and communication in arranging transfers in induction training for doctors.

The Ombudsman says the General Managers of both hospitals have wrote to the family and apologised.

Link to the full report: http://www.ombudsman.ie/publications/annual-reports/Ombudsman-Annual-Report-2017-ENG-PDF.pdf