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The concern was outlined in a joint HIQA/HSE meeting on regulatory risk on 3 July, the minutes of which were seen by MI through Freedom of Information legislation.
“In some cases, sites have not been identified or plans submitted for centres due to be built between now and December,” according to the minutes. “In other cases, plans with completion dates of 2022 and 2023 (outside [the] regulatory timeframe) have been received.”
The minutes stated that, in some centres, plans had been “significantly altered”, changing single and double rooms to four-bedded rooms. “Local managers recognise that the centre has not been future-proofed and that these centres will not be able to compete with private nursing homes who offer single accommodation, particularly if there is significant change to the NHSS [Nursing Home Support Scheme].”
Some centres previously believed to be closing had been identified as remaining open after 2021, without an associated plan for implementation before the end of that year.
Ms Mary Dunnion, HIQA’s Chief Inspector of Social Services and Director of Regulation, said there was an opportunity for the HSE to receive the current capital plans and address these issues. She further advised that “some HSE centres simply have too many residents for the accommodation provided, and the HSE will always be challenged to sustainably provide a person-centred service”.
“That said, significant improvement could be made to the quality-of-life of residents by reducing the numbers of residents accommodated therein,” according to the minutes.
Meanwhile, in relation to acute and community services, it was noted that a range of capital projects were underway to improve the built environment in which services are provided.
These included new primary care centres and a new national forensic hospital.