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Watchdog to inspect disability centres for the first time

There are around 9,500 people living in residential centres around the country – and this is the first time the centres will be subject to independent scrutiny.

HEALTHCARE WATCHDOG HIQA is to begin inspecting residential centres for people with disabilities, where an estimated 9,500 people are currently living.

It is the first time that these residential centres will be subject to independent scrutiny by a regulator, HIQA said.

There are around 1,200 centres around the country, the vast majority of which are run by voluntary or religious groups with funding from the State. The new guidelines apply to all residential services, whether they’re run by public, private or voluntary bodies.

HIQA – the Health Information and Quality Authority – today published its long-awaited national standards for residential services for children and adults with disabilities, which explicitly lays down guidelines for providers to ensure proper care is given to people living in or using the services.

Phelim Quinn, the head of regulation at HIQA, said the publication of the new guidelines was a “landmark moment for disability services in Ireland”.

From now on, these Standards will provide those who use services and their families or representatives with a guide as to what they should expect from residential services.
Children and adults using residential services have the right to be safe, to receive good care and support and to have access to the services they need to enable them to live a fulfilling life.

HIQA will begin the registration and inspection of residential centres later this year.

The new standards and plans for inspections have been welcomed by groups involved in providing care to people with disabilities.

(Video: hiaqvideo/YouTube)

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