Press Release

All Nursing Homes, public and private, to be subject to independent and transparent inspection regime from today (Wednesday July 1st.)

New Care and Welfare Regulations for Residential Care Settings for Older People come into force today, Wednesday 1 July 2009.

These regulations underpin the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland, which were approved by the Minister last February.

Welcoming the commencement of the new regulations, the Minister for Health and Children , Mary Harney TD said today (Wednesday July 1st) , “the Chief Inspector of Social Services will now have the power to inspect all designated centres for older people. As part of the new regime all Nursing Homes will have to be registered. This will replace the current system whereby the HSE registered and inspected private nursing homes only.”

Minister Harney said “An effective, rigorous , and independent inspection regime for residential services for older people is an absolute necessity. Under the new registration and inspection regime which comes into effect from today (Wednesday July 1st)) older people who can no longer live in the community because of their high levels of dependency and complex care needs can have the reassurance that the care they are given, and the environment they live in, will have to meet the highest standards.”

“My continued focus has been to introduce quality standards that are patient centred and recognise the unique and complex needs of the individual person at the centre of care. Earlier this year at the launch of the new National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland I gave a commitment to commence the relevant parts of the Health Act, 2007 to allow the Chief Inspector for Social Services inspect Residential Care Settings for Older People. These Regulations give effect to the standards to allow independent registration and inspections by the Chief Inspector of all nursing homes (public, private and voluntary) to commence today.”

The Minister for Older People, Áine Brady, T.D. welcomed the announcement : “Today is a significant day for older people, particularly for each and every resident in a nursing home – we have set a bar for service providers with Standards and Regulations that will drive quality care.”

The Health Act, 2007 provides for the registration and inspection of all nursing homes. Future inspections will be carried out by the Chief Inspector of Social Services, part of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA). This replaced the previous system set out under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, 1990, where the HSE registered and inspected private nursing homes only.

A Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) on the Nursing Home Standards and proposed Regulations has been carried out which included an “Assessment of costs of the National Quality Standards for residential care setting for older people in Ireland”. Nursing Home Providers were consulted about the potential impact of the draft standards. In drafting the Regulations the Department engaged with the stakeholders and worked closely with HIQA.

The Regulations have been laid before the House of the Oireachtas are being published here on the Department’s website together with the RIA. The Regulations will also be available from the Government Publications