HIQA promotes safety and quality in healthcare services in Ireland. To do this, we inspect hospitals and other healthcare providers and talk to patients, staff and managers to determine if healthcare providers are meeting national standards.

National standards describe what patients and people using services should expect when they experience a healthcare service. We monitor healthcare services provided or funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE). Furthermore, we regulate medical exposures to ionising radiation by both public and private providers. Apart from medical exposure to ionising radiation, we do not currently have a legal remit to regulate or monitor providers of private healthcare services. We publish the findings of our inspection reports on our website.

HIQA is currently preparing for the commencement of the Patient Safety (Notifiable Incidents and Open Disclosure) Act 2023. Work is underway, including an in-depth programme of stakeholder engagement with new and existing service providers in preparation for our new function. Further information will be made available in advance of commencement of this function.

The legislation is available here: Patient Safety (Notifiable Incidents and Open Disclosure) Act 2023 (irishstatutebook.ie)

HIQA currently monitors compliance with the national standards in acute and community healthcare services.

The National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare, published in 2012 by HIQA, aims to promote improvements in the quality and safety of healthcare services in Ireland. The standards set out what should be in place for safe and effective day-to-day service delivery. All healthcare service providers can use the standards to improve the quality and safety of the care they provide. HIQA uses these standards to assess the quality and standard of care in Irish healthcare services.

Our Guide to the assessment-judgment-framework to monitor against National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare aims to guide healthcare services on the lines of enquiry (the questions) that will be explored by inspectors to assess compliance with the standards. The guidance provides detail on how inspectors may assess compliance and what they may review during HIQA inspections. A suite of guidance is available below to assist service providers to prepare and self-assess the compliance of their own services against the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare.

HIQA is the competent authority for the regulation of providers (undertakings) of medical exposures to ionising radiation.

Every day, people are exposed to both natural and artificial sources of radiation and radioactivity.  Natural sources include radon and cosmic radiation, while artificial or man-made sources include medical ionising radiation and residual nuclear contamination. Radiation exposure from natural sources is difficult to eliminate; however, appropriate controls and regulation of the use of ionising radiation can help reduce or prevent inappropriate medical exposures.

From 8 January 2019, the EU Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom, which sets basic safety standards for protection arising from exposure to ionising radiation, has been transposed into Irish law. This legislation has designated HIQA as the independent competent authority for medical exposures. This means that HIQA regulates all service providers (undertakings) of medical exposures in Ireland against these regulations. Undertakings may include public hospitals, private hospitals, private clinics, dentists and any other facility that uses ionising radiation for medical exposures. The purpose of HIQA’s ionising radiation (medical exposures) regulatory programme is to promote better, safer practice across all undertakings using medical exposures in Ireland.

HIQA, through its monitoring and regulatory programmes, aims to provide assurances to the public that undertakings are implementing and meeting relevant medical exposures regulations and are making quality and safety improvements that safeguard all service users.