Press Release

Minister Harris welcomes Medication Safety Inspection Reports published today by HIQA

The Department of Health welcomes the Medication Safety Inspection Reports published into 7 hospitals today by HIQA, and notes their findings.  It is heartening to see that the reports find that a number of the hospitals inspected have robust and effective governance systems in place for medicines management.

Minister Harris stated ‘This is the first time HIQA have conducted inspections on medication safety in our hospitals and I am pleased that it shows many good practices in the first 7 hospitals inspected.  However some variations in practices have become apparent and opportunities to improve identified. I am satisfied that each hospital is preparing their own action plan to implement the necessary changes from a quality and patient safety perspective.  This is a very positive initiative and I welcome the HSE’s commitment to examine the appropriate actions required at national and Hospital Group level to support it”.

Medication management is an essential element of safe patient care.  Individual hospitals now have direction in terms of their requirements for improvement. As Hospital Groups continue to develop their governance structures, they are well placed to provide leadership and support, to enable individual hospitals to address the findings of the HIQA Medication Safety Reports.

A strong quality and safety culture is associated with a responsive health system that listens and learns in order to improve services, reduce errors, has a high incidence of reporting patient safety incidents and supports patients when adverse events do occur.  It is welcome that HIQA notes the knowledge and practice of open disclosure across the hospitals inspected.

Minister Harris continued ‘I am also pleased that the forthcoming National Patient Experience Survey will ask hospital patients direct questions on medication management. This survey is a joint partnership between HIQA, the Department of Health and the HSE. It allows the health service to capture learning from its patients that in turn inform improvements to the quality and safety of that service. The National Patient Experience Survey will also for the first time facilitate a comparison between Irish and international patient experiences’.
Notes for editors:

HIQA’s medication safety monitoring programme, which commenced in November 2016, aims to examine and positively influence the adoption and implementation of evidence-based practice in public acute hospitals regarding medication safety. HIQA monitors medication safety against the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare.

The seven inspections were carried out between November and December 2016 in the following hospitals: Bantry General Hospital, Connolly Hospital, Naas General Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital and University Hospital Waterford.

The reports improve visibility of current medication management practice, identify variation in practice, where present, and identify system requirements to reduce risks. This in turn provides a clear opportunity for improvement and further development of these systems.

The HSE National Service Plan 2017 commits to enhancing and building capacity of quality and safety across hospitals.  In particular, the HSE is developing a system to report hospital patient safety statements in line with the Chief Medical Officer’s Portlaoise Report recommendations.  It is intended that such statements will be published by each hospital on a monthly basis, and will be used to inform local hospital and Hospital Group management in carrying out their role in relation to safety and quality improvement.

Further information in relation to the National Patient Experience Survey is available at