Nursing Homes Ireland statement: Overview of 2016 HIQA regulation of social care and healthcare services


Nursing Homes Ireland today, 2nd May, reiterated its call for Government to lead in bringing stakeholders around the table to plan for the challenges in meeting the health and social care needs of our older population. NHI stated publication today by HIQA of its Overview of 2016 HIQA regulation of social care and healthcare services reiterates the importance of the State taking the lead in developing a plan for older person care services.


Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO stated: “Now the regulator of health services is identifying a policy deficit, it must serve as a further wake-up call for the State. HIQA, which has overseen regulation of the nursing home sector since 2009, has recognised necessity for clear national policy direction. For many years, NHI has been advancing requirement for the State to bring stakeholders around the table through a forum that would input to the planning and policy development to enable and support provision of older person care. The Department of Health must lead in bringing policy stakeholders together to support it in addressing the significant challenges being presented in meeting older persons healthcare needs. Headline challenges include policy, workforce planning, and resourcing.”


Of very significant note, the report states: “We believe that improvements within Ireland’s health and social care services can only come about through collaborative effort between all relevant stakeholders. HIQA recognises that there are many challenges facing service providers. For example, the difficulties in recruiting staff and the need for increased resources and capital investment.” Mr Daly added: “NHI welcomes HIQA recognition of significant challenges facing service providers. This is further evidence of State requirement to enable providers to meet these challenges and not turn a blind eye to them.


“Today’s report notes nursing home providers are focussed on achieving regulatory compliance that is above and beyond minimum requirements, with it referring to a “culture of regulation”. Furthermore, it notes nursing homes have taken a lead with regard to regulation and are influencing improvements in hospitals, disability and children’s services. Nursing homes must be enabled to build upon the high standards being achieved in provision of care . In this regard it is critical the costs of meeting regulatory compliance are recognised within fees payable for provision of care. It should be noted an independent analysis of the nursing home sector presented to the Department of Health has highlighted costs incurred for the provision of care by the regulator, HIQA, are not recognised by the State commissioner, the NTPF, in the fees it pays*.


“It highlights positive feedback from residents regarding the care they are receiving within nursing homes and emphasises the kindness of staff. This is important recognition by the regulator of the positive care culture within our nursing homes. It provides rewarding and necessary feedback for staff regarding their commitment to meet residents care needs and ensure they are comforted and reassured living within the nursing home.  The positivity observed by the regulator is reflective of the hard work, commitment and dedication of providers and staff.  


“The report further highlights the two-tier system that continues to operate within our nursing home sector. It highlights “difficulties with outdated nursing home buildings impacting on residents’ privacy and dignity, and their right to be safe while in long-term residential care”.” Under huge pressure from the regulator at significant cost, private nursing homes stepped-up-to-the-mark to meet the physical environment standards within a very tight timeframe that was subsequently extended by a five year period to enable HSE nursing homes significantly delay the works required on their units.”   


For further information contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive, at 01 4699806 or 087 9082970.


*DKM Economic Consultants report Potential Measures to Encourage the Provision of Nursing Home & Community Nursing Unit Facilities commissioned by the Department of Health, extract: “In short, it is untenable that the State quality regulator can assess differentiated dependency levels and in doing so impose costs on nursing homes, while the State price regulator claims it is unable to reflect the same factor in its pricing decisions.”



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