HIQA’s healthcare team promotes safety and quality in healthcare services in Ireland. To do this, we inspect hospitals, talk to hospital patients, staff and managers to determine if hospitals are meeting National Standards.

We then publish the findings of our inspection reports on our website. National Standards describe what patients and people using services should expect when they experience a healthcare service.

Our healthcare team can also investigate or carry out a service review into the safety, quality and standards of healthcare services if we believe there is a serious risk to the health and welfare of people who use healthcare services.

Under current legislation, we monitor healthcare services provided or funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE). We do not currently have a legal remit to monitor providers of private healthcare services. 

Some of the different types of monitoring programmes we are currently undertaking are outlined below.

Prevention and Control of Healthcare-associated Infections

The ongoing reduction of healthcare-associated infection rates is one of the most important challenges facing health and social care services

Healthcare-associated infections are infections, such as MRSA (Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus), that patients may acquire while receiving treatment for other conditions within a healthcare setting, such as a hospital. The ongoing reduction of healthcare-associated infection rates is one of the most important challenges facing health and social care services internationally.

Reducing these infections is vital to improve the quality and safety of care for people who use these services. We inspect public hospitals in Ireland to determine if they are meeting National Standards for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections. We publish guidance about the inspection programme and the findings from each hospital inspection on our website.

Maternity services

Pregnancy and childbirth are normal physiological life-changing events and the majority of pregnancies are low-risk.

For a minority of women, even those considered to be at low-risk of developing complications, circumstances can change dramatically prior to, during labour and delivery or immediately following delivery, and this can place both the woman's and the baby's lives at risk.

HIQA will inspect all 19 maternity hospitals and maternity units in public acute hospitals from 2018 to 2019. These inspections will assess implementation of relevant National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services, including how maternity hospitals and units are led, governed and managed on a daily basis with a focus on obstetric emergencies. 

Read the guide to this monitoring programme here.

Medication Safety

Has been identified by a number of organisations in Ireland as a key focus for improvement.

Medication safety programmes have been introduced in many hospitals to try to minimise the likelihood of harm associated with the use of medicine, and in doing so maximise the benefits for patients.

We inspect public hospitals, focusing on medication safety for patients, to determine if the hospital is meeting the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare. We publish guidance about the inspection programme and the findings from each hospital inspection on our website.