Significant cases resolved by Ombudsman in 2012
Emily O’Reilly published her annual report today. Photograph: Frank Miller / THE IRISH TIMES
Chapter Four of the Ombudsman’s Annual Report describes a number of the more significant cases dealt with during 2012:
Man received €68,000 after the Department of Social Protection failed to inform him of his entitlement to a pension: The man did not apply for a survivor’s pension when his wife died as he believed he was not entitled to it. He applied some years later and the Department backdated his payment to the date of his application, not the date of his entitlement. Following an examination of the Department’s files the Ombudsman discovered that the Department had become aware of the death of the man’s wife shortly after her death but had not informed him of his pension entitlement.
Woman refused second opinion despite confusion over a serious diagnosis: A woman diagnosed incorrectly with a serious heart condition felt she had no option but to arrange a second medical opinion privately when she received a contradictory diagnosis. Her second opinion clarified that she did not have the serious condition alleged. The HSE apologised and refunded her costs.
Son distressed to receive call from his mother in hospital telling him she was dying: The man received a call from his mother at noon, arrived at the hospital at 13.30 but was not briefed by medical staff of the seriousness of his mother’s condition until approximately 17.45. His mother died that night before other members of her family could arrive. The hospital apologised, and introduced guidelines and training aimed at ensuring next-of-kin are contacted in a timely manner and improving patient care.
Council revised procedures for housing transfer requests following intervention by the Ombudsman: Laois County Council turned down a request for transfer on grounds that there were no ‘exceptional medical or social circumstances’ but did not show evidence of considering the circumstances of the case.