Hiqa will conduct annual surveys to improve healthcare standards

Research shows 63% of people have seen ‘poor’ health and social care services

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has decided to conduct an annual public experience survey in an effort to improve healthcare standards.

The State agency, which was established 10 years ago to safeguard people and improve the safety and quality of health and social care services, found in its first survey last year that 63 per cent of people had seen “poor provision of health and social services in Ireland”.

Publishing it agency's annual report on Thursday, Hiqa chairman Brian McEnery said after carrying out its first public experience survey in 2017 it had decided to continue the survey to assess progress .

He said the results would be used to “inform Hiqa’s monitoring activity in acute hospitals.”



Hiqa said last year it carried out over 1,500 inspections and spoke with thousands of people who use health services.

Inspections included 839 designated centres for children and adults with disabilities; 600 inspections of centres for older people; and 57 inspections in public acute hospitals.

Forty-three inspections were of services provided to children, including 16 inspections of foster care services, 21 centres of residential care and annual inspections of each special care unit and Oberstown Children Detention Campus.

“We received and assessed 1,118 pieces of unsolicited information in relation to designated centres for older people and people with disabilities,” says the report.

“We also received 360 pieces of unsolicited information relating to healthcare services and 108 pieces relating to children’s services. All information was used to inform our monitoring activity.”


On the recent cervical screening scandal, the report said: “We recommended that Ireland’s National Cervical Screening Programme changes the sequence of their cervical screening (smear) tests, increase the interval between testing to five years, provide an extra screening for women under the age of 30 who have not received the HPV vaccine, and extend screening up to the age of 65 for women who have only had access to CervicalCheck from the age of 50.”

Mr McEnery said Hiqa will continue to advocate for strong health information legislation and discharge its health technology assessment (HTA) function.

This, he said “ensures that the right healthcare is targeted to the right patient at the right time in the right place, delivering the best patient outcomes and most efficient use of the healthcare budget.”

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh is a contributor to The Irish Times