Sinn Féin Health spokesperson David Cullinane TD has called on the Minister for Health to progress HIQA recommendations on reform of the agency, after HIQA’s appearance at the Covid Committee earlier today.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“As far back as 2013, HIQA have been making recommendations on addressing the deficiencies within the regulations that frame and guide HIQA’s work and powers.
“Specific deficits have been identified by HIQA which, if rectified, would make them more effective in doing their job.
“The Minister must urgently review the regulations to ensure relevance with emerging models of care as calls for an updated regulatory framework have fallen on deaf ears.
“Where there are failings in individual cases, HIQA needs the power and authority to not just inspect, but investigate and report on failings and, where appropriate, initiate inquiries.
“In the meantime, the onus is on the Government to initiate an inquiry into what happened in nursing homes during the early months of Covid and the transfer of patients from hospitals to nursing homes without adequate testing.
“Work remains to be done more broadly on the failings in parts of the nursing home sector which have led to neglect, abuse, and worse even before the pandemic.
“If these reforms are not implemented, we have a real problem and there will be no accountability. That would be unacceptable.
“We are also backing HIQA’s call and seeking the development of adult safeguarding legislation to enable a statutory agency to investigate individual cases of neglect or abuse including cases of institutional neglect or abuse.
“HIQA told us that this is a deficit in the legislation for quite some time. I am more than willing to work closely with the Minister on this.”