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Patient Safety.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 30 September 2008

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Questions (72)

Michael D. Higgins


173 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will establish a patient safety authority or agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32157/08]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

In January 2007, I established a Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance to develop clear and practical recommendations to ensure that quality and safety of care for patients is paramount within the healthcare system. The Commission's Report — ‘Building a Culture of Patient Safety' was published on 7th August 2008. The report contains 134 recommendations spanning across almost every area of the health service. The most significant recommendation of the report is the introduction of a licensing system for all health services whether they are delivered publicly or privately. The Commission proposed that the licensing scheme should be operated by HIQA. I am currently considering the Commission's recommendations in detail. It is my intention to bring the report, together with an implementation strategy, to Government as soon as possible.

The implementation plan endorsed by the Commission recommends the immediate establishment of an Implementation Steering Group (ISG) with clear and regular reporting obligations to the Minister for Health and Children regarding progress on the implementation of all the recommendations of the Report. This also proposes the establishment of expert sub-groups comprised of representatives of relevant stakeholders, each of which will be required to report to the ISG on the practical and detailed implementation of the recommendations within their remit. The advantages of this model are that it immediately builds on the structures already in place and can deliver results quickly. On this basis, I am not proposing the establishment of a new patient safety authority or agency.