Patient Advocacy Service – New Contract & expansion of service

Published on: 02 November 2022

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD and Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, welcome the start of a new contract for the continued delivery of the Patient Advocacy Service and the expansion of the service to private nursing homes.

The Patient Advocacy Service (PAS) provides a free and independent national service which helps people using healthcare services to make a formal complaint regarding the care they have received. From today, PAS will extend its services over the coming year on a phased basis to private nursing homes, with the focus initially on building awareness of the service.

PAS is a critical support service for patients, residents, and their families who have been through a serious patient safety incident or who are making a complaint about healthcare services. It often enables them to participate in HSE incident review processes or make complaints about healthcare more effectively. 

In its first two years of service, PAS was contacted by 1,600 healthcare service users. During this period PAS provided support for these patients on over 4,000 healthcare issues. 

In an external evaluation carried out in 2021, over 85% of respondents indicated that the support they received from PAS was helpful with their healthcare complaint. 

Minister Donnelly said:

‘'I am delighted to welcome the commencement today of a new contract of service for the Patient Advocacy Service, which will cover the period 2022-2027. The Patient Advocacy Service (PAS) provides a vital service to patients and their families to facilitate complaints when they are not happy with the care they have received. Public feedback about the Patient Advocacy Service has been extremely positive and I look forward to the continued provision and expansion of the service in the years ahead.’

Welcoming the new contract Minister Butler said:

‘'The extension of the Patient Advocacy Service to private nursing homes is a significant and positive initiative. The service will provide private nursing home residents with expert support and guidance if they need it and more broadly seeks to place greater emphasis on the voice of residents, empowering them to shape and improve their care. To support this extension of the service to private nursing homes, amendments are being made to relevant legislation, which I expect will come into force imminently.’


Notes to Editor 

The Patient Advocacy Service (PAS) is a national service commissioned and funded by the Department of Health. 

PAS was launched in October 2019 initially for public acute hospital users and, it was extended in June 2021 to residents of HSE-operated nursing homes. 

The new PAS contract has been awarded following a public tender process. The contract which will run from 2022 to 2027 includes the expansion of the service. From today, on a phased basis, the service will be extended to cover private nursing homes. In coming years, the expansion of the service to Mental Health Services will be examined in line with commitments in the current Programme for Government.

The Department of Health will continue to oversee the provision of this service and will engage with PAS and health care providers to gain learnings in order to improve the care provided, based on the information gathered through service users’ engagement with PAS. 

In order to support the rollout of PAS to private nursing homes, amendments are being made to the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2013, which are expected to come into force imminently. 

The Patient Advocacy Service website provides a step-by-step guide to making a complaint along with lots of other resources for patients. The Patient Advocacy Service be contacted by phone, email or via the website