Ο θεσμός του συνήγορου της υγείας - ευρωπαϊκή και διεθνής εμπειρία
The institution of health services ombudsman - european and international experience
The subject of this Graduate Thesis is the presentation of the institution of Health Services Ombudsman as a European and international phenomenon. A comparative study is attempted through the presentation of responsibilities, actions and interventions of established Health Services Ombudsmen in Greece and in foreign countries (United Kingdom, France and Australia), in order to reach a conclusion about the effectiveness of the institution, to determine disadvantages and to adopt good practices. Finally, suggestions will be made for the strengthening of the institution in Greece as well as in general. The “Independent Authorities” are widespread worldwide and their mission is the protection of citizen rights, the confrontation of maladministration and the respect of legality. Health is an important social right and the Independent Authorities are responsible for its protection. The establishment of specialized Ombudsmen, Mediators and Commissioners or only one national Ombudsman for human rights, was subject to discussions and disagreements. The specialized Ombudsmen have the advantage of “recognition”, like in the case of the most famous Ombudsman, the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman for England. On the other hand, the complaints may be more complex and they should not be treated partially. Moreover, it is essential nowadays the institutional economy and the avoidance of the phenomenon that different authorities have the same responsibilities. No matter what is the choice of each country, the referral to the courts is time consuming and costs a lot of money, while the services of the Ombudsman are free of charge and the organizations usually accepts its suggestions even though they are not binding. The Health Services Ombudsmen have a wide range of responsibilities and apart from the complaints reported on them, they can do self - appointed researches and find organizational and functional malfunctions, insufficiencies of health and social care system as well as legislative gaps. They propose reforms, measures for the improvement of proceedings, processes and communication between the health services users and the health services providers when the dialogue is broken. Last but not least, through the interventions of Health Services Ombudsmen or Commissioners it is achieved to provide high quality health services, to save resources and to improve the population’s health level.