Press Release

Minister Brady responds to nursing home complaints

The Minister for Older People, Ms Áine Brady TD has noted recent reports which refer to complaints made to the HSE in relation to nursing homes during the first six months of 2009.

Minister Brady said “Of course any incident which adversely effects a resident in a nursing home, or their family, is cause for concern. I understand the HSE investigated the complaints it received in relation to private nursing homes up to July 2009 and took action where they found complaints to be upheld. There are approximately 25,000 people residing in nursing homes around the State at any one time and any number of complaints must be examined in that context.”

The Minister continued “There have been significant developments since these incidents took place which aim to protect residents. This Government has put in place an independent inspection and registration regime for all nursing homes public and private. The National Quality Standards provide the basis for the very best quality of care to be provided, monitored and enforced in all nursing homes. These are underpinned by regulations which provide the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) with significant powers to act where there are concerns for the safety and welfare of residents.”

A fundamental principle of the Health Service Reform Programme is to put the users of health and personal social services at the centre of the services. On 1st July, 2009 the new registration and inspection regime for all residential centres for older people – private, public and voluntary commenced. Statutory responsibility is given to the Chief Inspector of Social Services, (part of HIQA) for inspecting and registering nursing homes. This replaces the previous system under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act 1990.

Additional Information

The Health Act 2007 reflects this principle and provides for the establishment of HIQA. The objective of the Authority is to promote safety and quality in the provision of health and personal social services for the benefit of the health and welfare of the public.

On 26 June the Minister signed the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations. These regulations came into force on 1 July 2009, and underpin the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland (these were approved in February 2009 and published in March).

Please refer to National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People on the Department’s website for background information on both the Standards and the Care and Welfare Regulations.