The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is the statutory body established under the Health Act 2007 with responsibility for the registration and inspection of ‘designated centres’ for people with disabilities. HIQA recently published its Annual Overview Report on the regulation of designated centres for adults and children with disabilities. The Report is the first annual overview of HIQA’s regulatory work in relation to centres for people with disabilities.

In 2015 HIQA inspected 561 of the 937 designated centres for adults and mixed centres for adults and children with disabilities. There were 741 inspections in total, of which 518 were announced and 223 unannounced.

Mary Dunnion, Chief Inspector of Social Services and Director of Regulation in HIQA, said: “Initial inspections in 2014 showed there was a lack of understanding on how to meet the requirements of the regulations and the standards.” However, the Report shows that regulation has resulted in:-

  • Improvements in the standard of care provided to residents.
  • Centres moving from a compliance-only based agenda to a quality improvement agenda.
  • An improved service for residents with a focus on individual resident’s preferences and goals in many cases.
  • Good practice is reflected in the number of actions which providers were required to respond to in inspection reports. Of inspection reports published in 2015, 49 inspections did not identify any actions required, while a further 208 inspections required less than 10 actions.
  • A small but significant number of centres where the provider was failing to ensure that there was a good standard of service. To combat this HIQA took escalated action, up to and including court action to cancel the registration of the centre. Formal enforcement procedures under Section 59 and Section 60 of the Health Act 2007 as amended were used in respect of four centres during 2015.

Mary Dunnion concluded: “If a provider fails to address the areas of concern identified during inspection then HIQA must consider escalated regulatory action. The priority for the person in charge, and for all staff, must be to continue to improve residents’ quality of life. HIQA is committed to continuing to work with services to drive improvements in the quality of care that residents receive.”

Click here for the link to the full report.