Dáil Éireann - Volume 663 - 14 October, 2008

Written Answers. - Nursing Home Standards.

Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide resources to support the implementation of the draft national quality standards for residential care settings in respect of older people; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34443/08]

Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children when the Health Information and Quality Authority Draft Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People will be approved; the status of the regulatory impact assessment; when this procedure will be completed; when the standards will apply; if they will apply compulsorily; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34572/08]

  Deputy Máire Hoctor: I propose to take Questions Nos. 53 and 80 together.

The present standards for nursing homes are set out in the 1993 Care and Welfare Regulations and the HSE inspects private nursing homes on the basis of these standards.

Under the Health Act, 2007, statutory responsibility is given to the Chief Inspector of Social Services for inspecting and registering all residential centres for older people, including private nursing homes. Once this part of the 2007 Act is commenced, he or she will inspect centres against the regulations governing these centres and standards set by HIQA.

In January 2007, draft National Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People were published. The standards were developed by a working group chaired by Department of Health and Children and included the Health Service Executive, Social Service Inspectorate and the Irish Health Services Accreditation Board. Once introduced, these standards will apply to all nursing homes — public, private and voluntary.

As the Health Act, 2007 provides that the enhanced inspection function will be taken over by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the draft standards were formally referred to HIQA for consultation and finalisation. The Authority established a wide-ranging Working Group to finalise the draft standards. Earlier this year the Board of the Authority approved their draft National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People and submitted them for the approval of the Minister for Health and Children, as required under section 10(2) of the Health Act, 2007.

[567] The draft Standards and the Regulations required to underpin them are subject to a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) before finalisation. The RIA process has commenced and it is intended to have the RIA finalised and both the approved Standards and Regulations in place in 2009.

The overall resources that will be made available to HIQA in 2009 is dependent on the outcome of the budget and estimates process for next year, which is not yet finalised. It is not appropriate for me or my Department to comment on the resources that will be allocated in 2009, prior to the announcement of the Budget 2009 package.