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HIQA CEO wrote to Secretary General on ‘sustainability’ of nursing homes

By Paul Mulholland - 06th Feb 2023


The HIQA CEO wrote to the Secretary General of the Department of Health stating that the Authority can contribute to supporting “sustainable delivery” within the nursing home sector.

In the letter dated 3 November 2022, obtained by the Medical Independent (MI) through Freedom of Information law, CEO Ms Angela Fitzgerald referred to meeting Mr Robert Watt at a recent health and social care leaders’ event.

“I enjoyed our discussion on key issues facing the health system at this time and how they might be addressed to deliver sustainable change,” wrote Ms Fitzgerald.

She referred to a brief discussion on how HIQA can support the priorities for health and social care services, with specific reference to “leveraging” evidence synthesis to inform decision-making and “driving value”, particularly in access to care.

“HIQA also has some thoughts on the specific challenges facing the nursing home sector at this time and how we might support sustainable delivery within the sector having regard to the experience of other jurisdictions in this area,” according to Ms Fitzgerald’s letter.

Minutes of HIQA’s board meeting on 9 September 2022 stated that research commissioned by the Department on international approaches to the regulation of nursing home care was “progressing well”.

A spokesperson for the Authority told MI this research has been submitted to the Department for consideration.

The minutes also noted the provision in the Patient Safety Bill that would require HIQA’s Chief Inspector to undertake or commission patient safety reviews of specific incidents in nursing homes, such as unexpected deaths.

“The provision could potentially have a significant impact on workload,” the minutes stated.

HIQA’s spokesperson commented: “We are considering the provisions of the Bill and its impact on the expanding remit of the Authority and are working with the Department on the implications of the Bill to enable us undertake the extra work.”

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