By Lloyd Mudiwa.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is practising what it preaches by developing the leadership skills of its management staff as it prepares to implement a new nationwide monitoring approach of all healthcare facilities from next April.
HIQA — whose new National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare cover, among other issues, hospital leadership, governance and management, after the Authority’s report on an investigation into patient care and governance at Tallaght Hospital in May revealed serious governance problems and a lack of financial controls — said the new approach would standardise methods and reporting systems for national monitoring activities and associated processes.
Implicitly, the new monitoring approach will require managers to manage introduction of change in reporting systems and processes within their control and the control of their direct reports to ensure compliance with the new monitoring requirements.
The Authority is seeking providers of learning and development training, with a proven track record in the field, to develop and deliver a Leadership Development Programme based on a set of four management principles which underpin HIQA’s values, containing defined behavioural expectations of its executives and managers.
The Programme will be delivered to managers of inspection teams and other team managers and will also be offered to other staff.
HIQA CEO Dr Tracey Cooper told IMT last week that the Authority, which currently has 25 managerial staff with such responsibilities, is in ongoing negotiations to hire additional staff to meet its extended brief and is hopeful of a positive outcome.
HIQA, which expects to start conducting independent inspections of all residential centres for people with disabilities next year, last week launched a consultation process on draft national standards for residential centres for adults and children with disabilities, which runs to November 21.
The launch coincided with the Health Research Board’s publication of a new report, showing that while there has been an increase in provision of services for people with intellectual disabilities, people in this population group were living longer and could outlive caregivers, leading to a rise in the demand for services in the next few years.
According to the Annual Report of the National Intel-lectual Disability Database (NIDD) Committee 2011, more than 26,800 people with intellectual disability were in receipt of services, representing 98 per cent of the total population registered on the NIDD — the highest number of people in receipt of services since the database was established. Approximately 30 per cent (8,214) were in receipt of full-time residential services.
Between 2012 and 2016, some 4,505 new residential, day and/or residential support places will be needed to meet service requirements, half of which are residential places, placing a substantial demand on all therapeutic inputs, in particular, psychology, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.
Launching HIQA’s consultation process, Niall Byrne, Deputy Director of the Social Services Inspectorate, said the standards set out the individual-centered care people could expect from good-quality residential care services. If fully implemented, he said, they could bring Ireland’s regulation system in the sector onto a par with those of other jurisdictions.
Dr Cooper added that there were currently an estimated 1,700 places in the State, mostly funded by the HSE, where people with disabilities receive residential care, significantly more than for the regulated sector for elderly people.
To take part in the consultation, visit www.hiqa.ie, where you can download the draft Standards.