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Use of NIMS in private hospitals raised by HSE Director General

HSE Director General Mr Paul Reid has suggested the possible use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to capture serious events in private hospitals as part of implementing the Patient Safety Bill.

Mr Reid raised the matter with Minister for Health Simon Harris in a letter dated 31 May. The correspondence has been seen by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request to the HSE.

The letter was focused on HSE plans and preparation for implementing the Patient Safety Bill. On the topic of private hospitals, Mr Reid wrote: “There will be a requirement on private hospitals and potentially other private providers to notify the relevant regulators under the terms of the Bill. These providers fall outside the remit of the HSE.

“There are however options for using the NIMS to capture these SREs [serious reportable events]. This matter has been raised with the NPSO [National Patient Safety Office], who may wish to discuss it further with the SCA [State Claims Agency].”

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed to MI that use of NIMS in private hospitals was being discussed. “In relation to the proposed requirement in the Bill for serious patient safety incidents to be reported by both public and private health services, the Department continues to examine all possible options, including the National Incident Management System,” said the spokesperson.

“The Patient Safety Bill will provide the legislative framework for a number of important patient safety issues, including: Mandatory open disclosure of a list of serious patient safety incidents and the notification of same externally to HIQA and the Mental Health Commission to contribute to national learning and system-wide improvements.”

They added that the Department “continues to engage with a wide range of key stakeholders” in relation to all aspects of the Bill.

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