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An unannounced HIQA inspection in January — on which a report was published this month — found that there are ongoing issues of concern at the Co Mayo centre for people with intellectual disabilities.
At HIQA’s Board meeting on 28 January, CEO Mr Phelim Quinn advised that external expertise had been sought to review the Authority’s “engagement with the centre to ascertain if there are learnings that apply to this particular sector”.
A HIQA spokesperson informed the Medical Independent (MI) that the external experts are Ms Marcia Ramsay, Director of Operations at Leonard Cheshire (Scotland), who was formerly Director of Regulation (adult services) at Care Commission Scotland; and Mr Dermot Parsons, former Head of Programme (Regulation) at the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, Northern Ireland.
The cost of the exercise has not yet been finalised but will become clearer in the coming weeks, said HIQA’s spokesperson.
The reviewers “will engage with staff who were involved with the regulation of Áras Attracta” and review documentation held in respect of the centre, confirmed the spokesperson.
It is envisaged that the process will be finished at the end of this month.
Asked if the Authority has concerns about monitoring protocols pertaining to disability centres, the spokesperson responded: “As a learning organisation, HIQA is keen to examine whether there were issues in respect of our engagement with Áras Attracta and whether there is scope for wider learning for our regulation functions.”
On whether the area of monitoring implementation of prior HIQA recommendations was a key focus, he said the exercise “looks at our total engagement with the service”.