The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has renewed its calls for regulation reforms in the health and social care services.
In its annual report, Hiqa says the pandemic exposed 'gaps and shortcomings' in the regulation framework in which it works under.
It says there are new models of care, such as home care, which are currently unregulated.
CEO Phelim Quinn says other issues around regulation need to be addressed as well.
Mr Quinn said: “Things like ensuring there's a distinction between the purchaser and the provider of care in making sure there is appropriate governance and accountability arrangements in place.”
He added: “There is a key deficit which is a comprehensive, overarching, integrated social care policy.”
The report outlines steps Hiqa took to in health and social care services to gather evidence and make recommendations to the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
Mr Quinn said Hiqa has repeatedly called for a review process to make sure the current regulations are fit for purpose.
“Our experience of regulating during the pandemic has highlighted the need for reform in the way in which services are delivered to our older citizens,” he said.
“Covid-19 exposed gaps and shortcomings in the current regulatory framework, and over the past year HIQA has repeatedly called for a review process to make the current regulations fit for purpose and in line with the changing models of care we see across the country. Regulatory reform will remain a focus for us over the coming years, as health and social care services work to meet the long-term consequences of the pandemic.”