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HIQA release their 2019 Annual Report

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Ireland

The Health Information and Quality Authority ("HIQA") is the independent authority which was established in 2007 to ensure high quality and safe care is provided to people using the health and social care facilities in Ireland. As part of HIQA's role, they develop standards, inspect and review the variety of services and support informed decisions on how the services are delivered.
 
On 9 June 2020, HIQA released their Annual Report for the period 1 January to 31 December 2019. The Annual Report outlines the steps taken by HIQA to fulfil the first year of their 2019-2021 Corporate Plan (the "Plan").  The Plan is centred on working to improve health and social care services for people in Ireland.  HIQA plan on following their vision of:

 
  • Safer services: working to protect and safeguard users.
  • Better care: working to improve the quality of the health and social care services.
  • Better decisions: providing advice, evidence and information to better inform decisions about health and social care services.
  • Independent assessment: providing a reliable source of information for both the public and HIQA's stakeholders.
 
HIQA's Plan sets out the strategic objectives of HIQA over the three year period as follows:
 
  • "Advise on the effective use of information in health and social care;
  • Assess health technologies;
  • Collect service users' views to drive improvement;
  • Regulate health and social care services; and
  • Set standards and guidance for health and social care service."
The 2019 Annual Report outlines the steps taken by HIQA in the following areas:

 

Safer services:

  •  This included the introduction of the National Standards for Adult Safeguarding in conjunction with the Mental Health Commission. These standards ensure that the right of every adult to be safe and free from harm is recognised.  
 

Better care:

 
  • The introduction of Guidance on a Human Rights-based Approach in Health and Social Care Services ("the Guidance"). The Guidance was aimed at supporting the services and the staff that work in these areas to ensure that the principles of human rights are implemented into their daily work.
  • Thematic inspection programmes were conducted in 2019 on dementia care and restrictive practices.
  • In 2019, HIQA developed on their 2017-2018 programme which focuses on the inspection of statutory foster care services to ensure further improvements in care across Tusla's 17 service areas.  



Better decisions:

 
  • HIQA, as part of their statutory role, must evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of health technologies and to provide advice to the Minister for Health and the HSE. This is known as Health Technology Assessment ("HTA") and in 2019, HIQA carried out  the following:  
           -  HTA of C-reactive protein point-of-care testing.
           -  HTA of Pre-exposure prophylaxis programme.
           -  HTA of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation in patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis.
           -  Systematic review of newer and enhanced influenza vaccines.
           -  HTA of birth cohort testing for Hepatitis C.
            - National HTA guidelines.
 

Independent assessments:

  • HIQA held four public consultations to obtain feedback on the work they carried out in the following areas:
           - Scoping Consultation to inform the development of Draft National Standards for Children’s Social Services.
           -  Draft Guidance on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Care and Support in Health and Social Care Settings.
           -  Draft HTA of a PrEP programme.
           -  Draft HTA of C-reactive protein point-of-care testing to guide antibiotic prescribing.     
  •  They conducted various engagements with residents in social care services.
  •  They also conducted various engagements with health and social care professionals.
  •   HIQA addressed the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs in relation to recruitment and retention of Tusla staff.
  •   HIQA have established national and international networks in relation to health technologies.
  •   HIQA continue to represent Ireland in the European Network for Health Technology Assessments.

An overview of the work conducted by HIQA in 2019 is outlined below:
  • 1,676 inspections were carried out.
  • 53 hospital visits were undertaken as part of national care experience programme.
  • 24 meetings were held with resident groups outside of inspections.
  • 202 responses were received in respect of 4 public consultations.
  • 12,343 responses were received in response to national inpatient experience survey.
  • 1,931 health and social care staff attended 21 events.
  • 35 children gave feedback at #childtalks 2019.
HIQA continues to follow the objectives as set out in its 3 year Corporate Plan. A link to the Annual Report can be found here.

Written by Sinéad Taaffe, Treasa Walsh and Sara O'Sullivan 

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