Polls finds poor health and social care services

A major new national opinion poll carried out by Red C on behalf of HIQA has found that 63% of people in Ireland have witnessed poor provision of health and social care services. Of particular concern is the significant number of people who have witnessed physical or emotional abuse, including in homecare services.

The poll also found that there was widespread misunderstanding of the areas of health and social care services that were independently regulated or monitored, with 83% of people mistakenly believing private hospitals were independently regulated or monitored and 76% of people believing that homecare services were independently regulated or monitored.

Key poll findings:

There was strong support for respecting the rights of vulnerable people and for accountability and independent oversight of health and social care services. Ninety six per cent agreed that it was important that the rights of vulnerable people in long-term residential settings were respected, 95% agreed that there ought to be clear accountability when provision of health and social care services fell below set standards and 93% agreed that having independent oversight of health and social care services was important to ensure that they were safe and effective.

Poor provision of public services was witnessed across a range of health and social care services in the last five years. It was found that 47% of people witnessed poor provision in public hospitals, 21% witnessed poor provision in homecare services and 21% witnessed poor provision in nursing homes. Of those who witnessed poor provision in nursing homes, 36% witnessed physical or emotional abuse. While for those who witnessed poor provision in homecare services, 24% witnessed physical or emotional abuse.

There was widespread misunderstanding of which services were currently independently regulated or monitored. For example, when asked whether services were independently regulated or monitored, 83% believed that private hospitals were, 80% believed that primary care centres were, and 76% believed homecare services were. However, none of these services are currently independently regulated or monitored.

The aspects of service that the poll found were most important to ensuring good health and social care provision were that people and their families were treated with dignity at all times when accessing health and social services (88%), that their privacy was respected and maintained (85%) and that there were clear standards and guidance in place to help staff to provide safe and effective care (84%).

There was strong support for the independent regulation of a range of services. The highest levels of support were for homecare services (90%), public hospitals (90%) and community-based services for people with disabilities (88%).

Of those polled, 63% were aware of HIQA. However, there was much stronger awareness of HIQA among over 65s (93%) than among 18-24 year olds (36%). The aspect of HIQA’s work for which there was the strongest level of awareness was its regulatory role, with 57% of the population aware of this function.

RED C interviewed a random sample of 1,053 adults aged 18+ online on February 23 – 28, 2017. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results weighted to the known national profile of all adults aged 18+, based on the latest CSO estimates. The full results of the poll can be found at www.hiqa.ie.