Under the Health Act 2007, statutory responsibility is given to the Health Information and Quality Authority for the independent inspection and registration of certain categories of designated centres including residential care settings for older people. This responsibility is underpinned by a comprehensive quality framework comprising the Health Act 2007, Regulations and the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland.
All designated centres, public, voluntary and private nursing homes are subject to the same core standards and regulations in relation to quality and safety in order to ensure the well-being of their residents. In accordance with the legislation, all designated centres are required to have a comprehensive policy in place for dealing with complaints made by or on behalf of residents.
Government for National Recovery, 2011-2016 commits to developing and implementing national standards for home support services, which will be subject to HIQA inspection. Primary legislation and resources will be required for the introduction of a statutory regulation system for home care services. This is being considered in the wider context of the licensing of Public and Private Health Service Providers.
I would like to emphasise, however that statutory regulation or licensing is only one way of improving quality and safety and the HSE is already progressing a range of measures to improve Home Care provision overall, to standardise services nationally and to promote quality, and safety. These include a Procurement Framework for Home Care Services with quality and screening requirements which came into effect in 2012 and applies to services procured by the HSE from external providers.
The HSE is currently undertaking a review of home care services with a view to improving services generally.