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May 2024 Milestones for Health Information and Quality Authority

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The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) continues to play a crucial role in promoting high standards of health and social care services in Ireland. In June 2024, HIQA’s efforts were marked by several significant initiatives aimed at enhancing patient safety, improving service quality, and ensuring regulatory compliance. These initiatives reflect HIQA’s ongoing commitment to safeguarding public health and supporting healthcare providers in delivering exceptional care. Through rigorous assessments and comprehensive guidelines, HIQA strives to maintain and elevate the standards of care across the country.

HIQA has released its 2023 Annual Report, highlighting its efforts to improve the quality and safety of Ireland’s health and social care services. The report details HIQA’s regulatory and monitoring activities, development of national standards, and provision of health technology assessments to support policy decisions. It also covers HIQA’s preparation for expanded responsibilities under new legislation and monitoring of International Protection Accommodation Services. HIQA’s leaders emphasized the importance of collaboration with various stakeholders to enhance the delivery of safe, high-quality care in Ireland.

HIQA has published new national standards to improve information management in Ireland’s health and social care services. These standards, approved by the Minister for Health, align with significant policy developments like the European Health Data Space regulation and the Health Information Bill. Rachel Flynn, HIQA’s Director of Health Information and Standards, highlighted that high-quality health information is essential for safe and effective care. Findings from a 2021 public engagement showed broad support for electronic health information management, provided proper safeguards are in place.

HIQA issued a statement regarding the cancellation of Aperee Living Ballinasloe Nursing Home’s registration as a designated centre under the Health Act 2007. Castlerea District Court made this order on 28 June 2024, due to concerns about the health, safety, and quality of life of the residents. Consequently, the Health Service Executive (HSE) was directed to take charge of the nursing home from 10.00am on 29 June 2024. This action ensures the continued care and safety of the nursing home’s residents.

HIQA also published a report detailing residents’ feedback on their rights and the support regulations provide in disability services. The report, released on 13 June 2024, highlights the experiences and insights of residents in designated centres for people with disabilities, based on face-to-face forums held in 2022 and a survey conducted in 2023. Residents shared their thoughts on their rights, the inspection process, safeguarding, and how information is communicated to them. This feedback is integral to HIQA’s efforts to ensure a human rights-based approach in health and social care services, guiding improvements and promoting better outcomes for all residents.

HIQA has published 50 inspection reports on residential centres for older people, covering inspections from January to April 2024. Inspectors found several centres demonstrating good practice and compliance, with 17 centres being fully or substantially compliant with regulations. However, 15 centres were non-compliant with up to three regulations, and 12 centres were non-compliant with four or more, with issues in areas such as governance, complaints procedures, and infection control. Providers of non-compliant centres must submit plans to address and correct these deficiencies.

Health Information and Quality Authority

HIQA has published 28 inspection reports on designated centres for people with disabilities. This was also done to ensure compliance with the Health Act 2007 and the National Standards for Residential Services for Children and Adults with Disabilities. Among these, 14 centres showed good practices in resident engagement and independence, operated by providers like Avista CLG and Brothers of Charity Services Ireland CLG. However, 14 other centres were found non-compliant in areas such as governance, fire safety, and risk assessments, necessitating corrective action plans to improve resident care and safety.

HIQA has also published 28 inspection reports on designated centres for people with disabilities, revealing a mix of compliance levels. Of these reports, 14 centres, operated by various providers including Avista CLG and Brothers of Charity Services Ireland CLG, showed good compliance with regulations and standards. However, the remaining 14 centres faced issues such as poor governance, inadequate fire safety measures, and insufficient staffing. Providers of non-compliant centres were required to submit plans to address and rectify the identified issues.

HIQA has published 27 inspection reports on designated centres for people with disabilities, assessing compliance with the Health Act 2007 regulations and the National Standards for Residential Services. Of these inspections, 20 centres, operated by providers such as the HSE, Lotus Care Limited, and Nua Healthcare Services Limited, showed generally good compliance. Positive practices were observed, including residents engaging in community activities, educational courses, and recreational pursuits. However, non-compliances affecting care and support were found in seven centres, with issues such as poor governance, inadequate risk management, and staffing deficiencies identified, requiring corrective action.

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HIQA also conducted an unannounced inspection of a children’s residential centre managed by Tusla in the South region in March 2024, focusing on leadership, management, and child care quality. The centre was compliant in five of the 12 assessed standards, substantially compliant in five, and not compliant in two, revealing gaps in leadership and staff supervision. Despite these gaps, the centre recognized the individual needs and rights of each child, promoting their health, development, and wellbeing, with children expressing satisfaction with the care they received. A compliance plan has been submitted by the provider to address the areas needing improvement.

HIQA published 27 inspection reports on centres for people with disabilities. Fifteen centres, including those operated by Redwood Neurobehavioural Services and St John of God Community Services, showed good compliance with regulations and standards. Examples of good practice included community integration and high resident satisfaction. However, 12 centres had issues like poor governance, inadequate safeguarding, and needed improvements in premises and healthcare.

HIQA published a report on Coovagh House Special Care Unit, following an unannounced inspection on 19 March 2024. The inspection was prompted by concerns over improper use of physical restraint and security personnel. The unit met three out of eight regulations, with significant management and safeguarding issues identified. A compliance plan was submitted to address these risks.

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