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Quarterly Bulletin - July 2024

We produce a Quarterly Bulletin to give readers a short update on our most recent work.

The July Bulletin highlights two reports into complaints about health trusts, and one into a complaint about a government department. It also contains information about our work to help public bodies support users experiencing vulnerability.

  • Corporate news

Free learning resources to help organisations support people who are experiencing vulnerability

Anyone can experience vulnerability at some point in their life. People experiencing vulnerability may mean they struggle to access and navigate public services, which in turn can lead to disadvantages. While some people may not see themselves as vulnerable, being mindful of this helps public service providers ensure that everyone's unique and individual needs are identified and met. 

With others, we have created a set of resources to help public service providers support people experiencing vulnerability.

The toolkit contains a Powerpoint presentation, a Workbook, Facilitator's Notes, and videos with contributions from organisations discussing their work in this area.

Access the resources here: www.nipso.org.uk/resources/vulnerability


  • Corporate news

Trust failed to explain reasons for not carrying out Serious Adverse Incident investigation

A woman whose father died in Causeway Hospital complained that staff should have monitored him more closely.

Read our full investigation report here.

  • Media statements

Easter Holidays

Please note, our Office is closed to the public on Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Easter Tuesday.

Our phone lines are open on Good Friday, but will be closed on Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday.

Our online Complaints Form is available throughout the Easter break.

  • Corporate news

Quarterly Bulletin - March 2024

Our Quarterly Bulletin highlights some of our most recent investigation reports and provides other updates on our work.

  • Corporate news

Good records management

Public bodies should be transparent.  They should record the criteria for decision making and give reasons for their decisions.

This was the message given by Ombudsman Margaret Kelly and Deputy Ombudsman Sean Martin at a recent talk given to an event held in the Public Records Office Northern Ireland.

While people don't generally complain about poor record keeping, explained Ms Kelly, a significant proportion of those cases going to the Ombudsman's Further Investigation stage uncover issues with record keeping.  This often can be an indicator of other underlying problems.

Stressing how good records protect everyone, both urged members of staff working in public bodies to record their rationale when making key decisions.  This not only helps others within the public body but can act as a 'shield' if those decisions are questioned at some point in the future.

  • Corporate news

A Patient Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland

Ombudsman Margaret Kelly has called for patients to be given a central role in shaping safety protocols within Northern Ireland's health service.

Speaking yesterday (20 March) at a conference on patient safety, Ms Kelly asked the Department of Health to take the lead in creating a comprehensive framework that empowers patients and fosters a culture of safety and accountability.

With a keynote address from Sir Robert Francis KC (Chair of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust inquiries, 2010 and 2013), the conference brought together a range of voices and expertise to explore potential strategies and approaches to improving patient safety and public trust in our health and social care system.

Ms Kelly stated:

‘Complaints, patient feedback, and raising concerns have proven to be a reliable indicator of safety issues.  Patients must be central to any solutions to improve patient safety. Our investigation work highlights a culture that is sometimes defensive rather than open with patients, and which does not always use complaints as an opportunity to learn and prevent future harm. We hope this conference will mark a step towards ensuring that patient perspectives are not only heard but actively incorporated into the fabric of healthcare policies and practices.

A Patient Safety Strategy setting out how our health system is prioritising safety and involving patients in the process would provide reassurance and help build public trust in a health system that is committed to being patient centred.’

A report from the conference will be published in the near future.

  • Corporate news

Public Awareness Survey

We have appointed Opinion Research Services (ORS) to carry out our second Public Awareness Survey.

ORS will be contacting around 600 members of the public throughout March and April 2024 to ask questions about their awareness of NIPSO and their attitudes to complaining about public services.

The information we obtain from the survey will help us decide how to improve our service going forward.

We will publish the survey's findings later in the year.  In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the survey please get in touch with us at communications@nipso.org.uk

The report from the first survey, carried out in 2021, is available here.

  • Corporate news

Quarterly Bulletin - January 2024

Our Quarterly Bulletin highlights some of our most recent investigation reports and provides other updates on our work.

  • Corporate news

Getting out and about

Our Engagement Team meet community groups, charities, other public bodies, and members of the public across Northern Ireland to listen to their issues and to tell them about our service.

If you would like a visit from one of the team, please get in touch!


  • Corporate news

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