The public is today being asked for their opinion on new standards and guidelines for the safety of patients in the health system.
The Health Information and Quality Authority hopes to roll out the final standards next year.
Under the system a hospital that continually breaches the new rules could face being closed down.
Speaking at the launch of the consultation on the draft standards, Jon Billings, director of healthcare quality and safety with the authority, said: “The public should know what they can expect from healthcare services, just as those providing care should know what is expected of them.
“The National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare aim to drive real improvements for patients by creating a common understanding of what makes a good, safe, health service.
“The draft standards raise questions on how services are organised and aim to bring systematic changes throughout the health system where required.
“The standards put the service user at the heart of the care process, focusing on dignity, respect and empowering service users by providing effective information.”
“It is essential for us to receive as many comments as possible on the draft standards during this consultation. All of the comments will be taken into account in finalising the standards to ensure that they will effectively meet the needs of those using Irish healthcare services.”
The Authority has also created an easy-to-read version of the standards, along with an audio version on iTunes, a podcast on YouTube and an online feedback form on www.hiqa.ie. Information is also available on Facebook and Twitter.
Once approved by the Board of the Authority the standards will be mandated by the Minister for Health and Children and rolled out nationally.
HIQA will then monitor compliance with the standards to assess how they are being followed in practice. The Authority will then prepare for the commencement of licensing as the designated licensing body for healthcare services in 2012.
The closing date for comments is November 4, 2010. All the information on where to get copies of the draft standards and how to take part in the consultation is available from www.hiqa.ie.