Hospitals group seeks patient council members

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THE UL HOSPITALS Group is trying to strengthen its relationships with patients by recruiting members of the public to join its Patient Council to advise on ways of improving services and patient experience.

The Patient Council is intended to be a “strong independent voice for patients, service users and their families. It gives patients and the public the opportunity to become involved as active partners in UL Hospitals Group,” according to a UL Hospitals Group spokeswoman.

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Established in 2016, the council is made up of members of the public along with members of the hospital group management team. Vacancies have arisen as some members’ time on the body is up.

Expressions of interest are sought from across the MidWest region from people who have had experience of University Hospital Limerick, Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital or University Maternity Hospital Limerick.

“We welcome applications from anyone interested in improving our health services and patient experience and would particularly like to hear from people who have direct contact with our hospitals either as a patient or a relative of a patient”, UL Hospitals Group chief executive Prof Colette Cowan explained.

“The Patient Council’s role will be pivotal in providing input on the development of quality improvement plans in response to patient feedback such as the results from the National Patient Experience Survey”.

Feedback will be sought about patient needs, experiences and outcomes and the Hospitals Group will use this information to inform decision making.

“Members of the Patient Council have been actively involved in a variety of different projects and initiatives across the Group over the last few years”, said Patient Advocacy Manager Catherine Hand.

“They took an active role in supporting the opening of the new Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick, are involved in committees such as the End of Life Committee, Nutrition and Hydration, patient flow and National Patient Experience Survey. They also bring their experience of using the health service and work with different groups and committees to ensure that we keep the patient at the centre of all that we do.”

Patient Council chairperson John Hannafin said it had a considerable and significant contribution to make to patient care as was clearly demonstrated over the past two years.

Applicants will be interviewed and Garda vetted. The Council will meet every six to eight weeks and a time commitment of about two hours per month would be required.

Anyone interested should contact Miriam McCarthy or Catherine Hand Patient Advocacy Liaison Managers via email at [email protected] or 061 482448/485259.  Applications are open until Friday next, August 10.