HSE boss asks patients to ‘please ask’ four key questions at next healthcare appointment

Speaking ahead of World Patient Safety Day on Sunday, Mr Gloster said the “key message” to members of the public is to ask staff, including their GP, if they need more information on their treatment, care or diagnosis.

The HSE has advised members of the public to ask the following four key questions when they are attending a medical appointment: What do I need to know now? What do I need to do next? What can I expect? How will this help me?

“Our key message to you is: if you’re not sure, please ask us,” Mr Gloster said.

“Most people we know have had an experience as a patient, or as an advocate for a child, a parent or sibling where they have struggled with healthcare information or instructions.

“This can impact everything from medication safety to the outcomes of care.

“We want patients and their families to get involved in the design and delivery of services. Your input and experience is valued.

“Meaningful conversations matter – in all our engagements, whether it’s an appointment with your GP, a visit from the public health nurse or as a member of a working group.”

Katie Verling, who was diagnosed at the age of 44 with leukaemia said the “willingness” of doctors and nurses to answer her questions allowed her to feel involved in her care as a cancer patient.

“The people on the team were open to questions and there was a willingness of the doctors to listen and explain any new symptoms,” she said.

“The nurses encouraged me to speak up and ask questions if I was concerned about anything.

“There was a trust, a sense of being heard and of being involved in my care.”

It is estimated that one in three people will have difficulty accessing and understanding health-related information in their lifetime.

Chair of the Safety and Quality Committee of the HSE Board Deirdre Madden said: “We want patients to be active partners in their own care, engaged in co-designing services, policy development, and partners in the governance structures delivering services.

“Through my work with the HSE Board Safety and Quality Committee, I’ve seen first-hand the impact of the patient voice at the table.

“I hope that people will acknowledge the importance of the patient voice and recognise that what patients have to say and what they would like to know is important for a quality and safe service.”

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