Press Release

Minister for Older People, Máire Hoctor, welcomes the final Draft HIQA Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People

Government policy is to develop and improve health services in all regions of the country and to ensure quality and patient safety. An important function of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is the setting of standards on safety and quality and to monitor compliance on the part of the HSE and service providers with these standards in an open and transparent way.

On the 25th February, 2008 the Board of the Authority approved their draft National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People and submitted them for the approval of the Mary Harney, TD, Minister for Health and Children, as required under section 10(2) of the Health Act, 2007. Today, 11th March, 2008, HIQA has published the final draft.

Welcoming the draft standards Minister Hoctor said “We must ensure that our older people receive appropriate levels of quality care in surroundings which are of a high standard. To ensure quality we must have evidence-based standards and I congratulate HIQA in overseeing this important work. I would also like to compliment the Working Group established by HIQA on the commitment, effort and time invested in drafting the Standards”.

The draft Standards and the Regulations required to underpin them will be subject to a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) before finalisation. The RIA process is expected to commence shortly and both the approved Standards and Regulations can be expected to be in place later this year.

Background

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. The Health Act 2007 reflects this principle and provides for the establishment of the Health Information and Quality Authority (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.

In 2007, Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health and Children published a new set of draft national standards for residential care. As the Health Act, 2007 provides that the enhanced inspection function will be taken over by HIQA, the draft standards were formally referred to the Authority for consultation and finalisation. HIQA established a far ranging Working Group to finalise the draft standards which included public consultation. This process has now been completed.

In the meantime, the Health Service Executive continues to carry out inspections of private nursing homes under the 1993 Care and Welfare Regulations.