A number of families who felt sidelined following complaints about the care their loved ones receive in long term residential care are to have the visiting restrictions imposed on them reviewed by the HSE.

This follows an RTÉ Investigates programme, which was broadcast last night.  

The programme ‘Troublemakers’ highlighted the adverse experiences of some families who raised concerns about relatives in long-term care and in some cases found access to visiting their family member restricted.

The HSE said: "It is very regrettable to see rare situations arise where there is a breakdown in the relationship between the families of patients, and those who care for them. 

"The HSE intends to further assure itself in this regard and each of the nine Community Health areas of the country, who provide these care settings, will examine each of the current instances where there may be some level of a restriction in their facilities.

"Where these are in place they will be reviewed by the local Chief Officer for the area with an emphasis on ensuring that the restriction is to the least extent possible, and stands up to scrutiny in terms of the basis for those decisions.

"This review will encompass both the decision to restrict visiting and the duration for which such a restriction lasts."

Watch RTÉ Investigates: Troublemakers
Read: Daring to challenge HSE's comment, complaint service

In a statement today, the Department of Health said that Minister for Health Simon Harris has "been informed by the HSE that each of the current instances where some level of a restriction is in place will be reviewed and the Minister welcomes that decision.

"From a policy perspective, the Minister has taken a number of steps to ensure the voice of patients is embedded in the health service.

"The Minister intends to appoint two patient advocates to the board of the Health Service Executive.

"Proposals for an independent Patient Safety Council are at an advanced stage and the Minister expects to be in a position to bring proposals to Government very shortly."