News from around your health services

  1. HMI Leaders Award 2016
  2. HSE to review employment practices
  3. Tusla Chief Executive
  4. €2 million pilot nurse staffing scheme
  5. University Hospital Kerry
  6. Public nursing home investment
  7. Health Needs Of The Homeless
  8. HSE confirms 900 cases of cancer caused by alcohol annually
  9. Screening for cervical cancer
  10. Revised demographic dataset
  11. Legal restrictions on ECT
  12. Board of Nua Healthcare
  13. Informed decision making
  14. Nurses take over tasks from doctors
  15. How many hours do you spend sitting each day?
  16. Sexual health needs of children in care
  17. Managers’ views sought on maternity standards
  18. Masters in Human Factors in Patient Safety
  19. Healthcare Leaders Masterclass 2016


HMI Leaders Award 2016
Proudly sponsored by Novartis
Proudly sponsored by Novartis

Spring is here and the clock is ticking towards the launch of the HMI Leaders Award for 2016.

The purpose of the award is to recognise those who are instrumental in leading change in our health services These changes can be either simple or complex, but importantly, remain intrinsic to the core values of our health service i.e., the delivery of safe, high quality care for patients.

We are eager to hear of those projects which lead to improvements in patient outcomes, which enhance service delivery and those which improve resource allocation.

This is the third year of the award. Over the past two years, our adjudication panels and members alike have been deeply impressed by the inspiration, resourcefullness and talent of applicants who have delivered and achieved amazing projects and results. The process is open to all who work in the healthcare service, clinical and non-clinical. The Council of HMI encourages anyone with a suitable project to apply. There is nothing to loose, but lots to gain.

The application process will open in early April. We will issue alerts as the date approaches. You can keep updated by checking www.hmi.ie


HSE to review employment practices

The HSE is to review employment practices and procedures for staff who move between different hospitals and facilities.

This is to ensure that all steps possible are taken to ensure that doctors and other staff who are taken on are qualified to the required standard, and that all recruitment procedures, including verification of references, are completed prior to anyone taking up a post.

The HSE is also to ensure that performance evaluations of health service staff are undertaken on a regular basis and immediately in all situations where concerns are raised about the performance of staff.  The Executive wants the full enforcement of contractual provisions requiring employees to declare whether they are, or have been, the subject of any investigation by a medical registration or licensing body or authority in any jurisdiction with regard to their practice or conduct.


Tusla Chief Executive
Mr. Fred McBride
Mr. Fred McBride

Mr. Fred McBride has been appointed Chief Executive of Tusla –  the Child and Family Agency.

Mr. McBride, who was previously Tusla’s Chief Operations Officer, took up his post as Chief Executive this month on the retirement of Mr. Gordon Jeyes.

From Dundee, Scotland, Mr. McBride is a graduate of Dundee University and has 30 years’ experience in social work practise and management, predominantly in the field of Child Protection and Welfare Services.  Prior to joining Tusla in 2014, he was Director of Social Work for Aberdeen City Council where he had responsibility for Older Persons Services, Mental Health and Disability and Children and Family Services.

Commenting on the appointment, Tusla Chair, Ms. Norah Gibbons, said: “We are delighted to have a person of Fred’s calibre, experience and track record to lead the Agency as Chief Executive.  He has made a substantial contribution to improvement in service delivery in his role as COO.   The challenge now is to build on this success and, with the support of colleagues inside and outside the organisation, create a service that will truly serve the needs of children and families in Ireland.”

Ms. Gibbons also paid tribute to outgoing Chief Executive, Mr. Gordon Jeyes: “As its first CEO, Gordon has worked tirelessly to help create Ireland’s first agency dedicated to Children and Family Services as part of the Government’s ambitious reform programme.  His skill, determination and leadership has established a solid foundation for the Agency on which to build further progress and improvement.”


€2 million pilot nurse staffing scheme

The first national framework for safe nurse staffing and skill mix in acute hospitals is to be piloted later this year in three acute hospitals in general and specialist medical and surgical inpatient units.

The €2 million pilot project is aimed at ending the practice of calculating nurse staffing levels based on ward size, and instead allocating nurses according to the needs of the particular patients in that ward. The three pilot hospitals range in size from small-scale to large-scale.

The Framework identifies four core assumptions which should be used in calculating the number and type of nurses to be deployed on any given ward:

  • Individual patient need should be measured to identify the actual demand for nursing care through acuity and dependency measurement for example:
    • The skill mix within the nursing team as a whole in addition to the nursing hours required to meet patient need should be assessed to determine the optimum skill mix and number to provide safe, effective and efficient care
    • Monitoring the ward and organisational culture are important indicators of effective leadership that can influence the ward and organisational climate and delivery of safe, effective and efficient care and staff experience
    • The monitoring of patient outcomes of quality and safety including patient experience, pressure ulcers and falls, along with day to day measurement of safety triggers such as nursing care left undone, can provide a mechanism for both the necessary immediate response and recognition of patient safety concerns in addition to their medium to longer term management across hospitals.

The Framework also recommends changes at organisational level to ensure continuous monitoring of staffing levels within hospitals and across hospital groups. It sets out an overarching nursing workforce governance structure, where ward to board and board to ward accountability for safe nurse staffing decisions is centre stage.

The Framework was drafted by a 17 member Steering Group. The Chair of the Steering Committee, Dr. Siobhan O’Halloran, said ‘The way the Steering Group developed this work, was one of genuine partnership, through engagement at local level with clinical nurses. The richness of this approach has delivered a  a patient focused way to determine nurse staffing that ensures the right balance for both patient and staff experience that is so vital and necessary in our services’.


University Hospital Kerry

Kerry General Hospital has been renamed as University Hospital Kerry.

Chair of the South/South West Hospital Group Professor Geraldine McCarthy said, “The formal renaming of University Hospital Kerry is a truly significant occasion. It represents the hospital’s key role as part of the South/South West Hospital Group and the partnership with UCC, its primary academic partner. By optimising research, innovation, education and training we will ensure that the hospital has a highly trained team of staff to deliver excellent care to all its patients. The improved links and working relationship with UCC will attract and retain increased numbers of high-calibre professionals to the hospital.”

Dr. Michael Murphy, President of UCC, said, “Hospitals have always occupied a central position in community life and University Hospital Kerry has occupied a unique place in the lives of the people of Kerry throughout the past 32 years. Today’s renaming captures how University College Cork, as the primary academic partner of the South/South West Hospital Group, can support the development of a culture of quality, excellence and innovation throughout our hospital group. I strongly believe that hospitals which operate within the wider context of clinical service, education, training, research and innovation deliver an enduring dividend for society. In partnership with the staff of University Hospital Kerry, UCC looks forward to strengthening this new and more structured relationship and advancing the position of this fine hospital in the years to come.”

A new leading-edge CT scanner has been installed at University Hospital Kerry providing a much improved service to patients requiring CT. Professor McCarthy said “this CT scanner is the first one of its kind to be installed in an Irish hospital and will bring considerable benefits to patients.”

This new scanner allows for a full cardiac CT scanning service and CT bowel colonoscopy service for the first time in the Kerry region. The scanner also emits lower radiation doses and a higher image quality than other scanners.

In 2015, over 12,000 CT examinations were performed in University Hospital Kerry. The Radiology Department operates a 24/7 CT service, with emergency cover after 5pm and weekends. The CT service covers a broad range of referrals from consultants in the following areas: ED, neurology, oncology, general surgery, vascular surgery, general medicine, orthopaedics, paediatrics and care of the older person.

A new 15 bed Specialist Inpatient Unit in Palliative Medicine, which is a joint project between University Hospital Kerry and the Kerry Hospice Foundation, is expected to be opened early this year. Professor McCarthy said, “The Kerry Hospice Foundation has been instrumental in bringing Palliative Care Services to Kerry. They have contributed approximately €6 million in capital funding as well as ongoing financial support towards running costs and the revenue cost is being provided by the HSE.


Public nursing home investment

A total of €385 million is to be invested in public nursing home facilities around the country between now and 2021.

This includes the replacement of 33 existing facilities and refurbishment/extension of 57 others. In addition, it is planned that this programme of investment will deliver 215 additional beds in centres being built or refurbished in locations identified as having particular capacity issues.

The investment is made up of €148m in the current HSE capital plan and a further €237m capital made available under the government’s multi-annual Capital Plan.  In addition, the programme includes 10 facilities to a value of €150m for which public private partnerships (PPP) or alternative funding arrangements will be considered.

The Department of Health says that as a result of this investment, it is intended that all public nursing homes will be compliant with the environmental aspects of HIQA standards by 2021.  The 90 facilities have a total of 4,723 beds.


Health Needs Of The Homeless

An additional €2m has been allocated to the HSE budget this year to address the health needs of homeless persons in the Dublin region, who manifest chronic mental ill health and/or substance misuse and addiction problems.

The allocation comes from additional funding for mental health in the 2016 National Service Plan specifically targeting homelessness.

A range of in-reach services is to be supported with the additional funding. These are to include care and case management and intensive addiction and mental health programmes targeting homeless people in supported temporary accommodation, and homeless couples with high support needs in long-term accommodation.

It is planned that the increased funding will also provide long-term intensive care for homeless people with chronic and enduring health needs living in long-term supported accommodation that do not require acute hospital care, but have high support needs.

The Department of Health said that national data showed that there were 3,560 adults and 1,679 dependents using State-funded emergency accommodation.  This included 802 family units comprising 1,089 adults (a subset of the 3,560 above).  Family homelessness was most acute in the Dublin region, which accounted for 705 of the homeless families.  In the Dublin region, 500 families, with 1,049 dependents, were accommodated in commercial hotels, while 205 families with 417 dependents were accommodated in private emergency accommodation.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive conducted a rough sleeper count on the night of November 30, 2015 which recorded a total of 91 rough sleepers. This compared to the 168 recorded in November 2014 – a decrease of 46%.


HSE confirms 900 cases of cancer caused by alcohol annually

Alcohol causes over 900 cancers in Ireland every year, with 500 deaths, according to the HSE National Cancer Control Programme.

Stressing that “the more we drink the greater our risk of alcohol related cancer,”  Dr. Marie Laffoy, Consultant in Public Health with  the HSE National Cancer Control Programme said that “the cancers caused by alcohol can take many years to develop, so the effect of drinking habits today will be seen well into the future.”

Alcohol is known to cause seven cancers – breast, bowel (colon and rectum), pharynx, larynx, oesophagus and pancreas.  While the highest risk is for head and neck cancer, the greatest impact in Ireland relates to breast and bowel cancer, simply because these are common cancers.

Said Dr. Laffoy:  “For women in Ireland, the most important impact from alcohol is in relation to breast cancer. Approximately 12% of all breast cancers (300 cases per year) are associated with alcohol consumption.  For men, the most important impact relates to bowel cancer where around 100 cases are caused by alcohol annually (one in every twelve cases).  Consumption of just one standard drink per day is associated with a seven per cent increase in the risk of developing breast cancer, compared to non drinkers, while consuming three to six standard drinks per day increases the risk of breast cancer by 41%.

“There is a very long lag time between exposure to alcohol and the development of cancer (10-20 years). This is an especially important message for young women in relation to breast cancer risk. New research has shown a clear association between drinking in young women and the risk of developing both benign breast disease and breast cancer in later life. Therefore teenage girls should delay the onset of drinking for as long as possible.”

It has been widely acknowledged that the volume of alcohol consumption in Ireland (eleven litres per person per year) is higher than the European average (nine litres per person per year).

The NCCP stressed however that most alcohol related cancers can be prevented by adhering to Department of Health low-risk drinking guidelines (up to eleven standard alcoholic drinks per week for women and up to seventeen for men). A standard drink is half a pint of beer, a single measure of spirits or a small glass of wine.  Overall in relation to alcohol and cancer risk, Dr. Laffoy stated that: “Less is good and none is best of all”.


Screening for cervical cancer

HIQA is to conduct research to determine the optimum primary screening test for the prevention of cervical cancer in Ireland.

At the request of the National Screening Service, HIQA will undertake a health technology assessment to independently evaluate the clinical, financial, ethical and organisational implications of establishing human papillomavirus (HPV) testing as the primary screening test for preventing cervical cancer. At present, liquid-based cytology is used as the primary screening tool by the National Cervical Screening Programme (CervicalCheck).

If low grade abnormalities are detected, the same sample is tested for HPV DNA to determine if the woman should be referred for colposcopy or back to routine screening. HIQA says that changing the order of these tests, that is, using HPV DNA testing as the primary test followed by liquid-based cytology, has the potential to improve the detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous cell changes and to increase the efficiency of the screening process.

HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment Dr. Máirín Ryan said: “By examining international evidence on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of HPV testing — and by modelling these benefits, along with the budget impact of switching to HPV DNA testing for the Irish healthcare system — we will be in a position to provide independent advice on the optimal screening strategy for preventing cervical cancer in Ireland.”

HPV is a common virus usually spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual contact. Most people will have HPV at some point in their lives, and in most cases it causes no symptoms and is cleared by the body’s immune system. However, persistent infection with a number of HPV virus types can lead to the development of cervical cancer.

An expert advisory group (EAG) comprising key stakeholder groups is currently being formed and will advise the HTA evaluation team during the course of this assessment.

The final results of the HTA are expected at the end of the year and will be submitted to the National Screening Service for consideration.

The Terms of Reference of the HTA are to:

  • Describe the epidemiology of cervical cancer and human papillomavirus in Ireland.
  • Examine the current evidence of efficacy and safety for human papillomavirus testing as a primary screening method for the prevention of cervical cancer.
  • Review the international cost-effectiveness literature of human papillomavirus testing as a primary screening method for the prevention of cervical cancer.
  • Estimate the clinical implications and cost-effectiveness of human papillomavirus testing as a primary screening test for the prevention of cervical cancer, including potential changes to the screening interval, age ranges and test sequencing compared with the current programme of liquid-based cytology screening.
  • Estimate the resource implications and budget impact of human papillomavirus testing as a primary screening test for the prevention of cervical cancer.
  • Consider any wider ethical or societal implications that human papillomavirus testing as a primary screening test for the prevention of cervical cancer may have for patients, the general public or the healthcare system.
  • Based on this assessment, advise on the optimal screening strategy for the prevention of cervical cancer.

About 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Ireland each year. It is the eighth most common female cancer in Ireland.

Cervical cancer is a cancer of the cells lining the cervix (neck of the womb). Most cervical cancers are caused by the HPV virus.   There are over 100 different types of HPV. Most are low risk and do not cause changes to cervical cells. HPV infection can persist for many years without symptoms and is usually cleared by the body’s immune system. However, if the HPV infection does not clear up on its own, there is a greater risk of developing cervical abnormalities that require treatment.

Vaccination against HPV can reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer. In 2010, the HSE began a HPV school immunisation programme for girls in their first year of secondary school, with a catch-up programme offered from 2011 to 2013 for 6th year pupils. The current vaccine being used protects against two high-risk HPV types (types 16 and 18) that cause seven out of every ten cases of cervical cancer.


Revised demographic dataset

A revised National Standard Demographic Dataset and Guidance for use in health and social care settings in Ireland has been published by HIQA

In 2012, one key deficiency identified by both HIQA and a number of stakeholders was the absence of a national standard demographic dataset across the Irish health and social care sector. At that time there was no standardised or agreed guidance on the collection of demographic data.

The National Standard Demographic Dataset and Guidance, first published by HIQA in 2013, presents health and social care service providers with a standard core set of data elements to support the consistent, complete, and accurate recording of information for each service user.

Dr Kevin O’Carroll, Acting-Director of Health Information with HIQA, said, “The National Standard Demographic Dataset and Guidance sets out how health and social care providers should record demographic data about individuals accessing their services. The guidance provides support and assistance to the health and social care sector to meet the requirements of the National Standard Demographic Dataset, and ensure consistency in the recording of the data.”

“The importance of these standards and guidance is to ensure consistency in the recording of the data. Safe and reliable health and social care depends on access to, and use of, information that is accurate, valid, reliable, timely, relevant, legible and complete. It also limits the way data can be collected, interpreted and exchanged between different groups, reducing unnecessary duplication and improving the safety and quality of care provided. ”

Based on comments received in relation to the introduction of National Standard Demographic Dataset and Guidance for use in health and social care settings in Ireland (2013), the publication of the Health Identifiers Act (2014) and the introduction of postcodes nationally HIQA undertook revision of the original standard published in 2013 to take into account these important changes.


Legal restrictions on ECT

Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) can no longer be administered to patients involuntarily admitted to psychiatric hospitals, following the signing into law in February of the Mental Health (Amendment) Act 2015.

The new Act provides that where a patient admitted involuntarily under the Mental Health Act 2001 has capacity and refuses ECT, that patient’s wishes will be respected. Section 60 of the Act has also been amended to ensure that a person with capacity will also have his/her right of refusal of the administration of medicine over three months respected.


Board of Nua Healthcare
Maureen Lynott
Maureen Lynott

Ms. Maureen Lynott has been appointed to the board of Nua Healthcare as its new Non-Executive Clinical Governance Director.

Ms. Lynott has extensive healthcare governance, leadership and management experience in the public and private sectors across the USA, Ireland, Europe and Asia. She was a senior advisor to the HSE on performance improvement and change programmes from 2005-2010.

Nua Healthcare is a provider of private intellectual disability care services The company recently announced that it would create 800 new jobs over the next three years through the planned development of new residential and day care facilities.  Three hundred of these would be delivered in 2016 through the opening of seven facilities in the greater Munster region, marking the expansion of Nua Healthcare beyond its historical base in Leinster.


Informed decision making

HIQA has published guidance for adult health and social care professionals to support the rights of people who use health and social services, in particular vulnerable people in their care, to make informed decisions and to live more independent lives.

Marie Kehoe-O’Sullivan, HIQA’s Director of Safety and Quality Improvement, said: “The purpose of this autonomy guidance is to help services demonstrate how they show respect for human dignity, how they provide person-centred care, and how they ensure an informed consent process that values personal choice and decision-making. By ensuring that people’s autonomy is respected, service providers will improve the quality of care, safety and quality of life of people who use their services.

“Autonomy is about respecting people — such as nursing home residents — and their dignity, privacy and choices. The guidance stresses that people have a right to make informed decisions that match their personal values and beliefs. This includes, for example, services finding out what can be done to help people live more independently.

The guidance also addresses the question of balancing professional concerns about the potential risks arising from people’s decisions about their care and treatment. HIQA says critical principles to promoting autonomy in health and social care settings include avoiding pre-judging, and communicating clearly and appropriately to establish, explore and promote their preferences.

Marie Kehoe-O’Sullivan said: “It is important to note that not every choice can be fully facilitated. For example if people’s choices are unlawful, or those choices upset the lives of others (such as loud music in a shared bedroom) or the cost impacts on other people, then this choice may not be practicable. However, not having enough resources is not an acceptable excuse for providing poor care to people.”

A ‘promoting autonomy’ leaflet is also available for people or families using health and social care services. This is being sent to health and social care providers, including GPs for distribution to the public.


Nurses take over tasks from doctors

Nurses are to take over four key tasks from doctors, including intravenous cannulation, phlebotomy, intravenous drug administration (first dose) and nurse led discharge

Special training is being provided and it will operate mainly in acute hospitals but also in some district hospitals.

The Department of Health said that the reform complemented the initiatives from the Emergency Department agreement between the HSE and the INMO. It was envisaged that the transfer of tasks from medical staff would allow doctors to undertake tasks more appropriate to their training and would support NCHD compliance with the European Working Time Directive.

The agreement on the Transfer of Tasks from NCHDs to nurses was reached under the related provision in the Haddington Road Agreement.

It was agreed between the Department of Health, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the HSE, IMO, INMO and SIPTU Nursing under the chairmanship of an independent facilitator, Mr. Sean McHugh.

The Department said that local management had primary responsibility for the implementation of this agreement with national oversight.


How many hours do you spend sitting each day?

Health managers can now find out how many hours they spend sitting down each day  with the sitting time calculator on the HSE’s new website getirelandactive.ie.

The calculator adds up the number of hours people spend sitting and evaluates their risk of ‘sitting disease’. The website also suggests tips on how to fight ‘sitting disease’ by building more activity into the day.

The HSE said that Irish people spend on average 5.3 hours sitting each weekday at work, in the car, at meals and in front of the TV.

It said the new website provided user-friendly advice and help in getting active, regardless of age or level of fitness. “The content is streamed from the early years right up to older adults with expert advice from professionals such as the HSE’s physical activity co-ordinators.”

Prolonged sitting is as dangerous to a person’s health as smoking, according to researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast. The study found that sitting for long periods of time was linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even early death.

The 2015 Healthy Ireland survey found that two thirds of the Irish population do not engage in enough regular physical activity, particularly women of all ages, those at home doing domestic duties, unemployed people, and older people.

Colm Casey, HSE Physical Activity Co-ordinator said, “Researchers, scientists and health professionals know that being active on a regular basis can lead us to healthier and even happier lives. Evidence shows that people who are physically active generally live longer, and have a lower risk of suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers, cardiovascular disease and depression. However, sometimes people need a little bit of encouragement to make positive changes to their lives. We are hoping that by raising awareness about the benefits of physical activity that we will inspire more people to become active in 2016, continuing on for the entire year and beyond. Log on to getirelandactive.ie  to help you get started.’’

Sarah O’Brien, HSE National Lead for the Healthy Eating and Active Living Programme said: “Studies show that few Irish people take part in regular physical activity particularly women, unemployed people and older adults. The HSE’s new website getirelandactive.ie  aims to get as many people as possible to become aware of the appropriate level of physical activity for their age. The website offers bespoke content that is motivating, inspiring and engaging, yet supportive of all Irish age groups no matter how active or inactive they are. It gives key information on the health benefits of being physically active with motivation tips and a database full of places throughout Ireland where you can go to be active.”


Sexual health needs of children in care

TUSLA and the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme has published new research  documenting the sexual health and sexuality education needs of young people in care.

International evidence indicates that young people in State care are at higher risk of early sexual initiation, risky sexual behaviours and early pregnancy.

The study describes the sexual education and sexual health needs of young people in care in Ireland, the approaches used by professionals engaged in providing such sexuality education and sexual healthcare and the challenges they experience in undertaking this work.

The research project includes an e-survey of 182 respondents and in-depth interviews with 22 service providers, 19 foster carers, 5 birth parents and 19 young people who had left State-care.  The study was led by Professor Abbey Hyde, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems UCD.

Overall, the authors found that those with the most continuous and consistent contact with a young person were best placed to provide him/her with relationships and sexuality education (RSE).  For young people in foster care, foster carers were the most important source and for those in residential care, the most important source was deemed to be the social care worker.   There was a very strong shared sense that for young people in care, RSE needs to be underpinned with emotional security and stability in their everyday life and  additional attention should be given to allowing the young person to develop self-esteem and the social and personal skills required to safely negotiate relationships and sexual encounters.

There were several references to very positive relationships with individual professionals in the interviews with care leavers. Care leavers also acknowledged the importance of consistent adults in their lives in terms of building meaningful relationships, as staffing changes can often interrupt the development of such relationships. Care leavers also highlighted the need for consideration to be given to how their personal information is shared, particularly in relation to intimate sensitive information.

The major challenge identified by service providers was the uncertainty arising from a perceived lack of clear guidelines nationally and locally about how they should approach sexuality education and the provision of condoms and contraception to young people who they know to be sexually active under age 17, the legal age of consent for sex.  Almost all young care-leavers interviewed in this study (19), reported that they had first sex before the age of 17 years and the majority reported that they did not use contraception consistently.

Cormac Quinlan, TUSLA Director of Policy and Strategy, said:  “A robust action plan has been developed to respond to individual actions within the report. Along with our partners in the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme, Tusla is committed to its implementation. The report findings will also be incorporated into Tusla’s revised Alternative Care Strategy.”

Helen Deely, Head of the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme said:  “This is an important piece of research, as it clearly sets out that while there is some very good work happening with RSE and sexual healthcare for young people in care, there is a greater need to respond in a more coordinated way to the contraceptive, sexual healthcare needs of sexually active young people in a supportive way. We have committed to working with TUSLA and service providers on implementing the ten actions outlined in this report.”


Managers’ views sought on maternity standards

HIQA has launched an eight-week public consultation on new draft National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services, which may be of significant interest to many health managers.

Chief Executive of HIQA, Phelim Quinn said; “These draft maternity standards, based on international evidence and extensive engagement nationally, have been developed to improve the standard of maternity services in Ireland. For most women pregnancy and childbirth are safe and are associated with a happy outcome. We believe that if these standards are implemented, women’s experience will be enhanced and the safety and quality of Irish maternity services will be improved.

“HIQA is organising a public consultation on these draft standards to provide an opportunity for people to be part of shaping the future of maternity care in Ireland. This marks a new beginning for anyone who uses maternity services. The draft national standards were developed with key stakeholders, including women and their partners, advocates and maternity services providers.”

HIQA said that in recent years, Government, HIQA and other stakeholders had identified a need to improve Irish maternity services. “A number of high-profile reviews and investigations undertaken by HIQA and others found failings in the care and support provided to women by Ireland’s maternity services, including HIQA’s 2013 Galway and 2015 Portlaoise investigations. Following the Portlaoise investigation, HIQA committed to the development of these standards as an important mechanism for driving quality and safety.”

Phelim Quinn said: “The draft standards for public consultation will give a shared voice to the expectations of women using maternity services, their families, service providers and the public. They were developed with a standards advisory group made up of a diverse range of interested and informed parties, including women who had recently used the maternity services, advocates, healthcare professionals, and representatives from the Department of Health and the HSE. HIQA also held 12 focus group meetings with women and their partners and with front-line staff working in maternity services.”

The public consultation invites feedback from all stakeholders. The draft national standards are available for public consultation for an eight-week period; until 5pm on Monday May 16, 2016.

Phelim Quinn concluded: “We encourage members of the public and all interested parties to provide feedback and become involved in the consultation.”

The draft standards are available in full, along with a guide to the draft standards and information on the public consultation, on our website here: www.hiqa.ie/node/9816

The consultation form can also be completed online here: http://hiqa.polldaddy.com/s/draft-maternity-standards-consultation


Masters in Human Factors in Patient Safety

The RCSI has introduced an MSc in Human Factors in Patient Safety. The two-year part-time Masters is approved by RCSI, the National University of Ireland and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, and positioned at Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Human Factors is concerned with the relationship between human beings and the systems within which they work. RCSI has long recognised the importance of Human Factors in the care of surgical patients and was the first Surgical Royal College in the world to develop a structured programme of training in Human Factors.

The College says that, tailored for those involved in the care of surgical patients, the Masters will be of interest to surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists and allied health professionals. It focuses on issues such as team-working, decision-making, leadership and enhancing efficiency, with the goal of minimising errors and improving patient safety.

This unique programme is led by Prof. Oscar Traynor and Dr. Eva Doherty. Speakers at the launch earlier this month at RCSI also included Mr. Declan Magee, President, RCSI, Dr. Philip Crowley, National Director, Quality Improvement Division, HSE, Mr. Patrick Lynch, National Director, Quality Assurance and Verification, HSE and Mr. Eunan Friel, Managing Director, Surgical Affairs, RCSI.

Speaking after the event, Dr. Eva Doherty said that “this new Masters is designed and delivered by health professionals to meet the learning needs of inter-professional teams working together in acute Irish hospitals. We believe that health professionals who work together should learn together”.

To find out more or register your interest in the programme, please visit www.rcsi.ie/pghumanfactors.


 Healthcare Leaders Masterclass 2016

The HSE Healthcare Leaders Masterclass 2016 will be held at the Convention Centre, Dublin on May 11 and 12.

Now in its third year, the Masterclass is expected to be attended by 900 senior health managers in the HSE, voluntary and private healthcare and the wider business and education sectors.

The focus of this year’s event is embedding the values the HSE has committed to trying to live every day – Care, Compassion, Trust & Learning. Specially selected speakers have been invited to help promote an increased understanding of ‘how managers can live these values – in real and meaningful ways’.

Speakers who will discuss  leadership, change and innovation, compassion, staff engagement and empowerment, include Helen Bevan, The NHS Institute, Gianpiero Petriglie, INSTEAD, Dame Ruth Carnall, Carnall Farrar and former rugby Star Paul O’Connell.

Further information on www.hsemasterclass.ie