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HIQA launches consultation on extending inspection standards to private hospitals

By Reporter - 01st Mar 2024

HIQA has today launched a public consultation on amending the scope of the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare (2012) to include private hospitals.

The Patient Safety (Notifiable Incidents and Open Disclosure) Act 2023, which is expected to commence this year, expands HIQA’s standard-setting and monitoring functions to private hospitals. HIQA is engaging with new and existing health service providers to prepare for the new requirements under the Act.

The National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare contain 45 standards. The current scope of these standards include all healthcare services (excluding mental health) provided or funded by the HSE. The standards were developed through extensive stakeholder engagement and review of research evidence. They have been used by HIQA since 2012 to inspect, monitor and investigate healthcare services.

In preparation for the commencement of the Patient Safety Act, HIQA has launched a public consultation on amending the scope of the standards to include private hospitals. This will facilitate monitoring in private hospitals against the national standards by HIQA, on commencement of the Patient Safety Act.

Ms Rachel Flynn, HIQA’s Director of Health Information and Standards, said: “The National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare support the enablement of person-centred, safe and effective healthcare services. The standards equip service providers with a structure for achieving high-quality care and support for patients.”

The Patient Safety Act 2023 is an important piece of legislation that expands HIQA’s remit significantly. Ms Flynn continued: “This update will be a welcome development for many patients who avail of services in private hospitals, as it will ensure consistency across both public and private hospitals.”

Once finalised, the standards will be used by HIQA for inspecting and monitoring all healthcare services under its remit, including private hospitals.

HIQA is inviting the feedback of members of the public and health service providers on amending the scope of the standards to include private hospitals and welcomes their views. The deadline for submissions is Friday 12 April 2024.

The consultation documents can be found here: https://www.hiqa.ie/reports-and-publications/consultation/public-consultation-amendment-scope-national-standards-safer

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