Hiqa threatened to close 59 care centres since 2011
Tough stance pays off as more homes and disability centres comply with standards
Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn. The body said it was not unduly concerned about the cancellation of 17 registrations in the nursing home sector. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
Hiqa threatened to cancel the registrations of almost 60 disability centres and nursing homes over the past five years.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the HSE received more notices of cancellation than any other care centre operator in the State between January 2011 and June 2016.
Overall, 17 centres – all nursing homes – did eventually have their registrations cancelled for severe breaches of regulations. It is thought that the Irish Society for Autism (ISA) is the only care provider to have had multiple registrations cancelled since 2011.
The charity lost the right to run three residential centres in Westmeath, Kildare and Wexford in July after Hiqa inspectors raised serious concerns about the health and safety of 47 patients in its care.
The Irish Times invited the ISA to explain the reasons behind severe non-compliances witnessed at the three facilities – Cluain Farm in Kinnegad, Dunfirth Farm in Johnstownbridge and Sarshill House in Kilmore – but it did not respond.
Hiqa last year adopted a get-tough stance regarding the provision of nursing home care.
The four HSE centres threatened with cancellation were St Patrick’s Hospital Waterford, St Joseph’s Hospital Millstreet, New Houghton Hospital in Wexford and Grove House disability services in Cork, which has since been wound down.
The HSE acknowledged that it did face challenges in providing suitable care settings.
“In general terms, there are 129 centres registered with Hiqa across the country and in [this] context, only a very limited number of centres have received notice of proposals to cancel registration,” it said.
Hiqa said it was not unduly concerned about the cancellation of 17 registrations in the nursing home sector as there are 567 homes nationwide.
“The sector is maturing in relation to regulation and compliance and as a result we are seeing increased compliance with the regulations and standards,” a spokeswoman said.
Hiqa withheld the identities of 21 centres which received notices of cancellation as it felt full disclosure could “prejudice the outcome” of ongoing audits and procedures. It is thought some of these facilities are run by St John of God and the Daughters of Charity.