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The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has welcomed the Data Protection Commissioner’s recent report into Data Protection issues in Irish hospitals.
Exactly one month on from the commencement of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the IHF is adding its support to the Data Protection Commissioner’s recommendations to tackle the lack of Speech Privacy in hospitals.
According to the report, Speech Privacy was one of the most common matters of concern noted in hospital inspections last year. Location of communication between patients and hospital staff was the issue everywhere from reception desks, corridors to treatment cubicles in Emergency Departments and at hospital beds.
Head of Healthcare Programmes with the IHF, Marie Lynch, said: “We would strongly support the report recommendation that patients should be afforded the privacy to discuss things like their medical condition, their financial arrangements and all other personal matters with hospital staff without the risk of being overheard by others.”
“This is very much in line with our approach to the provision of appropriate spaces and places for breaking bad news to patients and their families, as well as and enhancing privacy and dignity through our Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) programme.”
Chair of the HSE/HFH Oversight Committee, Cillian Twomey: “We know from our HFH Programme just how vital having such privacy is for all involved.  Through the Design & Dignity project, for example, hospitals have created relaxing, spacious family rooms within busy acute wards, updated mortuaries and redesigned family focused bereavement suites in emergency departments and maternity units. The feedback from families and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.”
In its Pre-Budget Submission released last week, the IHF is calling for further supports to ensure dignity at end of life for those who die in acute hospitals. (Currently 43% of Irish people die in acute hospitals each year). It recommends additional funding for 10 End-Of-Life Co-ordinators across 6 hospital groups be made available as part of the Hospice Friendly Hospital’s programme.
The nation’s only charity dedicated to dying, death and bereavement is also asking the Government to fully implement the recommendations of the National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death, including the provision for adequate funding to develop quiet rooms and counselling rooms in Maternity Units.
For more information on the HFH programme, click here. To read the IHF’s Pre-Budget Submission 2019, click here
* The IHF receives core funding from Pobal from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government’s Scheme to Support National Organisations 2016-2019.