The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has announced it is to commence a new inspection and monitoring programme of public acute hospitals and rehabilitation and community inpatient healthcare services.
Hiqa will carry out inspections across healthcare services to monitor against the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare and assess the standard and quality of care in services as Ireland enters the next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Director of healthcare regulation, Sean Egan, said: “Healthcare services have faced numerous challenges in the past few years, most notably Covid-19, the cyberattack and capacity issues. These have all had a lasting impact on the health service, and major efforts are still required to enable services to fully recover. Hiqa’s new monitoring programme aims to monitor and publicly report on the quality and safety of healthcare services, as they continue this recovery process and adapt to new realities.
“The inspections will focus on leadership, governance and management of services, and how services ensure the rights of patients using them are properly respected. We will also focus on service safety, assessing the key areas of infection prevention and control, medication safety, transitions of care, and care for patients with deteriorating conditions, such as sepsis. During these inspections, we will also review the conditions in which care is provided in emergency departments, as well as in other key clinical areas.”
All public acute hospitals and rehabilitation and community inpatient healthcare services in Ireland will be inspected as part of this programme.
All services will receive a minimum of two inspections in each three-year cycle, with risk-based inspections carried out as required in response to risk.
The programme aims to drive quality improvement, while also allowing flexibility to respond to concerns as they arise.
Hiqa has published a guide to an assessment judgment framework which provides detail on the new inspection programme, including on lines of enquiry and how compliance will be judged, for the services being inspected.
Mr Egan added: “This monitoring programme places an emphasis on driving quality improvement while also continuing to respond to concerns as they arise. It is also adaptable, and can be applied to all potential services Hiqa will monitor in future as our role expands.
“Currently, Hiqa’s remit is to monitor healthcare services provided or funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE); however, we continue to anticipate the enactment of key pieces of legislation which would extend our powers to monitor private healthcare facilities, to receive and respond to notifiable patient safety incidents and to regulate post-mortem practices.”