HIQA calls for regulatory reform of health and social care services

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published a report calling for reform to health and social care regulations. The report summarises HIQA’s experience of regulating social care services over the past 12 years and outlines the changes HIQA believes are required to make regulation fit for purpose into the future. 

Phelim Quinn, HIQA’s CEO, said: “Social care is changing and evolving. Based on our experience as regulator, we have suggested some changes to current legislation and regulations, which we believe will better support our most vulnerable.”

HIQA’s engagement in the monitoring and regulation of various health and social care services has offered it a wealth of knowledge on the quality and safety of services, as well as the weaknesses of the regulatory framework. Our report outlines some key components of regulatory reform that need attention, such as:

  • consideration to be given for the development of a comprehensive, integrated social care policy that considers social care in its totality alongside Sláintecare
  • a comprehensive review of the current regulations pertaining to social care services in Ireland, and the establishment of a regular review process 
  • the reform of the Health Act 2007 to take account of the changing landscape in health and social care services
  • the introduction of regulation into other forms of care that are currently unregulated and whose service users may be vulnerable
  • a framework that makes a clear distinction between the purchaser and provider of services along with clear governance and accountability arrangements.

Mr Quinn continued: “This is now an opportune moment for society and the Oireachtas to reflect on the learning from regulation over the past decade, and chart a path forward that is representative of modern social care services. We hope that the recommendations from our report form an integral part of the debate around how we can better care for all citizens into the future.”

HIQA’s recommendations serve to complement the objectives set out in Sláintecare by furthering the commitment to delivering person-centred care in the right place and at the right time for all.  

The report is available from the link at the top of the page.

Ends.
Further information:
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement
01 814 7480/085 805 5202, mwhelan@hiqa.ie

Notes to Editor:

  • As set out in the Health Act 2007, it is HIQA’s role to promote safety and quality in the provision of health and personal social services. 
  • Social care in Ireland is a broad term which covers services for a wide range of people including children, people with disabilities and older people.
  • The services that are subject to regulation are defined in the Health Act and are referred to as ‘designated centres’, which include:
    •  nursing homes
    • residential services for people with disabilities
    • children’s special care units.
  • At present in Ireland, there is no overarching social care policy or legislation that outlines clearly what the State’s role is in the identification and addressing of the social care needs of its elderly and more vulnerable populations.
  • There are two sets of regulations which govern the care and welfare of older people and people with disabilities:
  • Health Act 2007 (Care and Support of Residents in Designated Centres for Persons (Children and Adults) With Disabilities) Regulations 2013
  • Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2013.