Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Health
Health Information and Quality Authority
520. To ask the Minister for Health the level of national oversight that is in place and provided from HIQA and the HSE in view of the immediate medical support, advice and urgent assistance if required to nursing homes and congregated settings in which there are outbreaks of Covid-19 they can provide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30116/20]
The Chief Inspector within HIQA maintains oversight of all designated centres through the receipt of solicited and unsolicited information and through inspections. Registered providers are required to notify the Chief Inspector of any suspected or confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19. When HIQA is informed of new or rising numbers of cases, individual registered providers are contacted to determine whether or not they have the resources needed to keep staff and residents safe. HIQA shares this information on a daily basis with the HSE’s Director of Community Operations.
If HIQA determines that a provider requires assistance, the situation is escalated to the local HSE COVID-19 response team, and to the HSE at the national level if required. Currently the most common reason for escalation is to secure additional infection prevention and control advice for centres, and less frequently to highlight concerns about staffing levels and the impact of increasing numbers of COVID-positive staff in individual centres. We also engage directly with public health and infection control advisers.
While responsibility for the provision of safe services rests with registered providers, the Chief Inspector is at all times focused on ensuring that HIQA takes whatever action is necessary to support providers to provide safe, high-quality care to residents.
On the matter of the oversight provided by the H.S.E., as this is also an operational matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.