Finbarr Colfer, HIQA Deputy Chief Inspector of Social Services has warned that the legal timeframe for a final decision on residential centres for people with disabilities to be registered is fast approaching.
HIQA said 2018 was a very significant year for the registration of residential centres for people with disabilities, as the first cycle of registration drew to a close.
“During this time, we have seen excellent services that promote and protect the rights of residents. We have also seen good services that needed to make some improvements in order to ensure that they met the regulatory requirements. We have seen centres where providers have used the initial registration cycle to improve their services, which has had a significant and positive impact on the quality of life for residents.
“The first cycle of what we term ‘section 69’ registration for residential centres will come to a conclusion on October 31, 2018, and at the time of writing, there were 117 centres that had yet to complete the process.
“As the available time frame decreases, providers of many of these remaining centres have yet to demonstrate a sufficient level of compliance in order to be registered by HIQA.
“Therefore, we are engaging with the relevant providers to identify whether they have the capacity and ability to meet their regulatory responsibilities and bring their centres into compliance with the nationally mandated regulations and standards.
“Whenever there are no serious risks to the safety and quality of life for residents, the Chief Inspector within HIQA will continue to consider plans from providers to address remaining areas of non-compliance.
Said Finbarr Colfer, “We are conscious that the time frame is becoming very short. We would like to be in a position to register the centres but will only do so where the provider is ensuring a commitment to ongoing quality improvement in the service to residents. Where providers submit improvement plans for consideration, they must include specific, identifiable actions to address the areas of non-compliance and have a clear time frame.”
Where providers fail to either address the areas of non-compliance or fail to submit an acceptable plan, the Chief Inspector is required by the Health Act 2007 to make a final registration decision by 31 October 2018
Finbarr Colfer concluded: “There is a significant risk that the Chief Inspector will be required to cancel the registration of some of those centres. However, we are conscious of the upset this may cause for residents and their families and are actively engaging with providers to ensure that they clearly understand what is required to achieve registration and prevent such a situation for residents and their families.”