Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Department of Health and Children
Services for People with Disabilities
John Moloney (Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Minister of State, Department of Health and Children; Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Minister of State, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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As the Deputy will be aware, National Quality Standards: Residential Settings for People with Disabilities were published by HIQA in May 2009 and are under consideration by the Minister for Health and Children. These standards will provide a national framework for quality, safe services for adults with disabilities in residential settings. Given current fiscal constraints, a move to full statutory implementation of the standards for residential care settings for people with disabilities, including regulation and inspection, presents significant challenges. In 2009, the cost of such a move was estimated to be in the region of €7 million to €9 million. In this context, the Department, the HSE and HIQA agreed that progressive implementation of the standards should commence on an administrative basis and become the benchmark against which the HSE assesses both its own directly operated facilities and other facilities that it funds.
Residential care services for older people have been subject to mandatory registration and inspection by HIQA since 1 July 2009. Earlier this year the Department of Health and Children engaged in useful preliminary discussions with HIQA in relation to the possible extension of this model of registration and inspection to designated centres for people with disabilities and the resource implications of same. Given the complex nature of residential service provision for people with disabilities - ranging from congregated settings to dispersed housing in the community - further consideration is being given by my Department to the most appropriate models of registration and inspection for these centres and this work is ongoing.
Currently every provider of disability services is required, as part of its service arrangement with the HSE, to have systems in place to assess quality and standards and to specify the actions it is taking to maintain and monitor quality and service. Examples of such monitoring actions could include audit tools appropriate to the service, service user evaluations and satisfaction surveys, and carer and service evaluations.