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GPs express their disquiet over planned inspections

Dr Andree Rochfort, Director of Quality Improvement at the ICGP, told the Medical Independent (MI) that “unease” was evident at two special sessions held on HIQA quality standards.

This unease was articulated by GPs in the context of the additional time and practice resources that will be required, in addition to the daily clinical and administrative demands already overstretching many GPs, she explained.

GPs with patients residing in nursing homes and with experiences of HIQA inspections of nursing homes in their practice area were particularly anxious about the manner in which external assessments may be conducted.

HIQA’s Director of Safety and Quality Improvement Dr Marie Kehoe O’Sullivan spoke at the sessions, which centred on patient-centred care, as outlined in HIQA’s National Standards for Safer, Better Healthcare.

One requirement of the National Standards is to measure patient-centred care. This must involve the patient through feedback systems such as satisfaction surveys and practice-based incident resolution processes, outlined Dr Rochfort. She described having undertaken this process in her own practice, which was “a positive experience” for patients and staff.

“Workforce morale is an important factor in terms of quality of care,” she noted.

Dr Rochfort said it is important to clarify that the HIQA National Standards were launched three years ago, and HIQA inspections are inevitable for all healthcare premises. The ICGP has no information on when GP practices will be inspected but in the interim, there is lead time for GPs to prepare for assessments.

The ICGP working group on HIQA’s quality standards has developed a number of resources for GPs and published these on the College’s website. She said it was appreciated that such tools need to be brief, high quality and practical.

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