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Written Answers - Services for People with Disabilities

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 462.  Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  if he will provide an update on inspections for persons with a disability in day care and residential services. [23713/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has prepared and published standards for this sector, which outline what is expected of a provider of services and what a person with a disability, his or her family, and the public can expect to receive from residential care services. As the Deputy will be aware, the current Programme for Government includes a specific commitment to put these standards on a statutory footing and ensure that the services are inspected by HIQA. While separate National Quality Standards for both adults and children with disabilities have already been developed by HIQA, it is considered that a single, unified set of standards for the sector is desirable, in order to ensure that the system of registration and inspection for the sector is as robust as possible. HIQA is engaged in this process unifying the draft standards and once this work is completed, the drafting of regulations will commence.

Discussions are also on-going at this time with HIQA regarding the resources required to set up and commence the registration and inspection regime, in addition to the need for recruitment and training, as required, of inspectors for the new regulatory model. It is expected that the new regulatory system should be up and running by mid 2013. Given the complex nature of residential service provision for people with disabilities — ranging from congregated settings to dispersed housing in the community — careful consideration is being given to designing the most appropriate regulatory model and this work is ongoing. While the HIQA standards have yet to be put on a statutory footing, it is worth noting that compliance with the HIQA standards [486]is already included in the Service Level Arrangements between the HSE and service providers in the disability sector.

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