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Private nursing homes’ clinical governance gaps ‘pose health risk’

There is a risk to the health of residents in private nursing homes because of the present regulatory framework and lack of clinical governance, according to the most recent HSE corporate risk register seen by the Medical Independent.

The newly added risk, titled ‘governance of private nursing homes’, stated: “There is a risk to the health and wellbeing of the residents of private nursing homes as a result of the current policy and regulatory framework, governance, including clinical governance… and model for private nursing home provision in Ireland.”

The most recent register, which was approved by the HSE’s executive management team on 7 September, also noted the impact of the cyberattack. Two previously separate risks, titled ‘cyber security’ and ‘ICT systems and
infrastructure’, have been amalgamated and rewritten in the new document.

“There is a risk that inadequate cyber-security controls and/or the inability [of] the HSE to rapidly invest in and implement modern ICT and specialised medical device dependent services will result in serious clinical errors and patient harm if the health service cannot provide urgent, time-critical services related to lack of access to critical clinical
systems and information,” stated the new register.The register also noted a risk in the “reduction in the resilience of staff and their associated health and wellbeing when working in high stress environments in the absence of appropriate IT supports and compounded by the ongoing impact of Covid-19”.

Serious threats to “the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of HSE data and in particular sensitive
patient data” are also included in this risk item.

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