Status: Published on

HIQA is developing Draft Guidance on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Care and Support in Health and Social Care Settings in conjunction with Safeguarding Ireland. The project is part-funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission under the Human Rights and Equality Grant Scheme 2017.

There are several national standards developed by HIQA that promote a human rights-based approach, for example National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare (2012) and National Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland (2016). This guidance provides additional support to people working in adult health and social care settings in understanding a human rights-based approach and implementing national standards.

Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that everyone should be free to enjoy. They are protected by Irish and international law. While human rights are protected in Irish legislation, this has not lead to widespread knowledge or understanding of the application of these rights in health and social care settings, as noted by HIQA and the Mental Health Commission (MHC).

This draft guidance is an accessible resource that provides practical examples and case studies illustrating a human rights-based approach to support staff across a wide range of services. Although primarily written for staff working within health and social care settings, the guidance will also be useful for people using services, their families, carers, friends and advocates.

What is a human rights-based approach to care?

A human rights-based approach to health and social care is about making sure that human rights are protected in practice and embedded in the culture of a service. It is about people being treated with fairness, respect, dignity and equality, having a say over their lives and participating as fully as possible in decisions about their care and support.

What is this consultation about?

After a scoping consultation and extensive stakeholder engagement, HIQA is now holding a public consultation from 5 June to 17 July 2019. The public consultation gives people the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft guidance and become involved in the development process by submitting their views to us. As this guidance will apply to all adult health and social care settings, we welcome feedback from staff, people using services, advocates, and family members with experience of any adult health or social care services in Ireland.

Further Information

HIQA has published a background document which summarises national and international evidence on human rights and a human rights-based approach to care and support.

For further information or if you have any questions, you can email the Standards Team at or call 01 814 7400 and ask to speak to a member of the Standards Team.

How to give feedback

  • The fastest way is to complete the online questionnaire from the link at the bottom.
  • Or complete a PDF version of the consultation form available below, and email the completed form to
  • Or print, complete and post the completed form to:

Health Information and Quality Authority
Draft Guidance on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Care and Support in Health and Social Care Settings
Dublin Regional Office
George’s Court, George’s Lane
Smithfield, Dublin 7
D07 E98Y

How we will use your comments

Comments will be collected and considered by HIQA’s Standards Team. We will carefully assess all feedback received and use it to inform the development of the draft guidance.