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25/10/2021

UL Hospitals seeks volunteers to join its Patient Council

UL Hospitals seeks volunteers to join its Patient Council

Members of the current Patient Council at UL Hospitals

THE UL Hospitals Group is seeking volunteers to join its Patient Council.

The Council, which is made up of volunteers from the general public as well as members of the hospital management team, was established in 2016 and provides an independent voice for patients, service users and their families.  

It gives patients and members of the public in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary the opportunity to become involved as active partners in UL Hospitals Group and to advise hospital management on improving patient experience.

Expressions of interest are currently being sought from members of the public who have had experience of University Hospital Limerick, Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital or University Maternity Hospital Limerick.

John Hannafin, Chairman of the Patient Council, says he believes it is having a positive impact in improving services across the UL Hospitals Group.

The committee has engaged on a wide range of hospital committees - including Nutrition and Hydration, the National Inpatient Experience Survey, End-of-Life Care, Patient Flow, and many others. 

“The pandemic has greatly disrupted the work of the Council as it has affected the entirety of the health service and society as a whole. As we look to exit the emergency phase of the pandemic, we are looking for new public members to assist the Council in meeting the new challenges and the new opportunities that have become apparent over the past 18 months," he said John.

“We are looking forward to strengthening the voice of patients through bolstering the membership of the Council. We are appealing to members of the public who have had direct experience of the six hospitals- either as a patient or as a relative – to consider making an application to join the Patient Council. This work can make a difference,” he added. 

Niamh Hogan, Patient Advocacy and Liaison Services Manager at UL Hospitals Group, says the Council is an essential element in promoting a culture of patient partnership across the six hospitals. 

“We have various ways of gathering patient feedback, through surveys, through research and quality improvement projects, through the complaints process and by other means. In the shape of the Patient Council, we also have a formal structure that meets regularly and through which the voice of our service users and their loved ones is articulated and acted upon. Only by having truly meaningful engagement of this kind can we build the trust and confidence needed to improve our services,” Ms Hogan said.

Colette Cowan, CEO of UL Hospitals, added: “The Patient Council is a key element in ensuring that our service users and their loved ones have their voices heard. We welcome applications to join the Patient Council from across the Mid West as we look to further that partnership."

Applicants will be invited for interview and successful candidates will have undergo Garda Vetting and reference checks before being invited to join the Patient Council.  

The Council meets every six to eight weeks and with an estimated time commitment of around two hours per month.

For more information, contact Niamh Hogan or Liz O’Leary, Patient Advocacy Liaison Managers via email at uhlpals@hse.ie or phone 061 482448 or 061 485259. 

Applications are open until Sunday, October 31.

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