Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (147)

Peadar Tóibín


147. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health the percentage of HIQA inspections which are unannounced; his plans to increase the figure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4739/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) was established in 2007. HIQA is an independent authority established to drive high-quality and safe care for health and social care services in Ireland. HIQA’s mandate extends across a range of public, private and voluntary sector services. Reporting to the Minister for Health and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, HIQA’s role is to develop standards, inspect and review health and social care services and support informed decisions on how services are delivered.

HIQA operates under the Health Act 2007, which sets out the functions which the Authority is to carry out. HIQA has responsibility for setting standards for healthcare services, and monitoring compliance with those standards. It also regulates facilities providing care for the elderly and those with disabilities, and has a role with regard to inspecting some of the social care services which are accessed by children to determine if they are meeting the relevant National Standards. In addition, it undertakes functions in relation to Health Information and Health Technology Assessment.

The Act provides HIQA with the power to set standards for the healthcare services delivered by the HSE, and then to undertake monitoring programmes to assess compliance with these standards. In this regard, HIQA published the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare in 2012; they represent the overarching standard which public health services are expected to meet. Flowing from these themes, HIQA have also developed standards for particular services, e.g. National Standards for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in acute healthcare services. HIQA has in turn conducted a thematic inspection programme against these standards since 2012, which has resulted in the publication of over 300 reports of inspection visits to date. In addition, HIQA has also undertaken thematic inspection programmes in relation to nutrition and hydration in acute hospitals, and in relation to medication safety.

In such cases, HIQA typically undertakes both announced and unannounced inspection of healthcare facilities in order to ascertain the degree of adherence to expected standards. A report of the inspection visit will subsequently be published on HIQA’s website. In cases where remedial action is required, depending on the severity of the risk identified, HIQA may draw the matter to the attention of hospital management during the inspection and request an immediate response, or in less severe cases, will raise the issue in writing. In either case, an appropriate management response would be expected.

The information the Deputy has requested is as follows;


Total percentage of unannounced inspections