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Covid-19 exposed shortcomings in regulatory framework – HIQA

HIQA’s experience of regulating during the pandemic has “highlighted the need for reform in the way in which services are delivered to our older citizens”, CEO Mr Phelim Quinn has said.

Speaking as the Authority released its 2020 annual report, Mr Quinn commented: “Covid-19 exposed gaps and shortcomings in the current regulatory framework, and over the past year HIQA has repeatedly called for a review process to make the current regulations fit for purpose and in line with the changing models of care we see across the country. Regulatory reform will remain a focus for us over the coming years, as health and social care services work to meet the long-term consequences of the pandemic.”

The annual report details the steps the organisation took throughout the year to respond to the pandemic in health and social care services and to develop evidence and advice for the National Public Health Emergency Team.

The report also outlines how HIQA continued to fulfil its remit across other functions such as making recommendations on health information, developing standards for care and promoting quality improvement through online learning modules and webinars.

Mr Quinn said 2020 was a challenging year for everyone and every organisation.

“This report demonstrates how HIQA decisively responded to the pandemic, using our powers, resources and knowledge to contribute to the national fight against the disease. We engaged with Government and public health from the outset of the public health emergency, and liaised closely with our stakeholders to ensure a cohesive approach to tackling many of the challenges posed by Covid-19.

“As the regulator, we continued to monitor the safety and quality of health and social care services, responding to risk and liaising with the Health Service Executive to better assist those services that needed support. Our evidence synthesis work advanced knowledge about the emerging virus, providing advice to decision-makers on how Covid-19 could be better identified, tracked and traced, and how to better protect our vulnerable populations.”

The report also includes the Report of the Chief Inspector of Social Services, Ms Mary Dunnion. It details how health and social care services were supported to prepare for a Covid-19 outbreak, the findings of over 1,200 inspections of services, and the information received from and about services during the year.

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