The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is the independent statutory authority responsible for registering and inspecting residential services for older people and people with a disability, and children’s special care units. The Health Act 2007 (as amended) empowers the Chief Inspector to carry out this function through the processes of registration, continual monitoring and inspection and, where necessary, the application of its powers of enforcement.
Following inspection visits, HIQA inspectors produce inspection reports which outline the level of regulatory compliance and non-compliance. The inspection reports are then issued to the service provider following which, the service provider must put in place action plans to address any areas of concern. Service providers are subject to ongoing monitoring and all of the required improvements are inspected again by HIQA in subsequent visits to ensure compliance.
In the interest of openness and transparency, HIQA publishes its inspection reports on the HIQA website where they are available for examination by the general public. The exception is in relation to centres with very low resident numbers where, to protect the privacy of residents, the reports are finalised but are not published.
There is no statutory timeline for the publication of reports. However, in preparing reports, providers are afforded a right of reply so that they can identify any factual inaccuracies or highlight any judgements that they believe are disproportionate. The inspection report is not finalised until this process has been completed. During this process, the provider is asked not to distribute the report until the report has been finalised. This passage of time is considered appropriate in the context of the process set out.
The regulations do require providers to inform residents about how to access the reports when they have been finalised. For example, the Care and Support Regulations for centres for people with disabilities (SSI 367 of 2013), regulation 20(2)(d) requires the provider to include how to access any inspection reports on the centre in their residents’ guide.
I am aware that on 3 June 2021 HIQA issued written notice of a decision to cancel the registration of Camphill Communities of Ireland (CCoI) Duffcarrig residential centre within 28 days. As CCoI do not intend to contest the decision, the HSE is working closely on a transition plan in relation to the Duffcarrig centre with a view to identifying an alternative provider. I understand that the HSE and the provider have met with the parent representatives of the service users concerned and the focus of the HSE is to ensure that residents receive safe services during the transitional period.