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New legislation will improve governance and accountability in nursing homes – O’Dowd

19th October 2022 - Fergus O'Dowd TD

The Government’s approval to draft a Health Bill which proposes amendments to the Health Act 2007 will be key in ensuring better governance and accountability in nursing homes, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Louth Fine Gael TD, Fergus O’Dowd, said this will be crucial in addressing the regulatory shortcomings that exist across nursing homes in Ireland.

Deputy O’Dowd said, “It has been clear for some time that the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) under their current powers are not equipped to detect, manage and respond to risks in a timely manner, in particular where there are clear health emergencies.

“Today’s amendments are in response to a number of key recommendations in the COVID-19 Nursing Home Expert Panel Report, published in August 2020. The additional powers which will be provided to the Chief Inspector of Social Services will enhance compliance across nursing homes.

“I have been calling for the introduction of mandatory reporting to HIQA for years, particularly throughout the pandemic which brought many of these serious issues into sharp focus.

The proposed legislation aims to improve the powers available to the Chief Inspector and increase staffing capacity. Fundamentally, this will be pivotal in enhancing the overall quality and safety of care provided to residents.

I have been extremely vocal on the need for a public enquiry into the circumstances at Dealgan Nursing Home during the initial COVID-19 wave. This is essential,” concluded Deputy O’Dowd.

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