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Ireland: Hospital complaints include patient turned away from A&E despite risk of self-harm

More than one fifth of complaints about Irish hospitals were deemed ‘high severity' including one from a person who claimed their mother should not have died and another who alleged a patient was turned away from an A&E even though she was at risk of self-harming.

An analysis of 641 complaints about HSE hospitals between October and December 2019 by NUI Galway and the HSE separated them into high severity (22%), medium severity (56%) and low severity (also 22%).

Among those complaints highlighted as potentially linked to ‘catastrophic harm’ was this: “My mother would still be alive if this had not happened."

However the largest number were about hospital systems at 392 — including complaints about waiting lists.

“I was left on a waiting list for surgery for years,” at least one person wrote.

The analysis also found 322 complaints centred around patients’ arrival into hospitals including emergency departments (ED).

“She was turned away instead of admitted even though she was at risk of self-harming,” one person wrote.

Some 92 complaints related to staff not listening to patients, including new parents who said: "While our newborn son was on the ward they took too long to notice his difficulty breathing and transfer him to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)."

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Source: Irish Examiner, 11 July 2022


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