Hiqa ‘not consulted’ on Government policy change

The independent health watchdog, whose brief includes nursing home inspections, was not consulted in advance of a Government policy change which gives State nursing homes an extra six years to upgrade to the required standards.
Hiqa ‘not consulted’ on Government policy change

The first that the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) heard of the change was when the Government announced last week that it was to push out the original July 2015 deadline to have substandard nursing homes closed or upgraded — to 2021.

A spokesperson for Hiqa said that, as a statutory agency, it was “bound by Government policy”.

While Hiqa was “disappointed” that the national standards had not been met in some nursing homes, it welcomed the Government commitment to invest to bring them up to scratch, the spokesperson said.

“Any change in Government policy will be reflected in the conduct of our legal mandate, however our focus of ensuring that the people using the services we regulate are safe remains unchanged.”

Separately, speaking at the Nursing Homes Ireland annual conference yesterday, chief executive Tadhg Daly warned that the country was “on the cusp of an emergency in the provision of nursing home care”.

Mr Daly said the Government’s revised deadline for nursing home upgrades was essentially “political influence in the independent regulation process” and that the €300m committed by the Government for upgrades over the next six years was not enough to address outstanding works.

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