Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA)

About the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA)

HIQA is an independent authority set up to drive high-quality and safe care for people using our health and personal social care services in Ireland.

HIQA’s role is to develop standards, inspect and review health and personal social care services and support informed decisions on how services are delivered.

HIQA aims to safeguard people and improve the safety and quality of health and personal social care services across its full range of functions. This includes inspecting and monitoring residential services for children, older people and people with disabilities in Ireland.

HIQA’s mandate to date extends across a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector services.

Please note HIQA does not have a legal remit for private hospitals or healthcare services, private children’s residential services, or mental health services (see relevant information booklet for where to go if you have a complaint about these services.)

Reporting to the Minister for Health and engaging with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, HIQA has responsibility for the following:

Setting standards for health and social care services — Developing person-centred standards and guidance, based on evidence and international best practice, for health and social care services in Ireland.

Regulating social care services — The Chief Inspector within HIQA is responsible for registering and inspecting residential services for older people and people with a disability, and children’s special care units.

Regulating health services — Regulating medical exposure to ionising radiation.

Monitoring services — Monitoring the safety and quality of health services and children’s social services, and investigating as necessary serious concerns about the health and welfare of people who use these services.

Health technology assessment — Evaluating the clinical and cost-effectiveness of health programmes, policies, medicines, medical equipment, diagnostic and surgical techniques, health promotion and protection activities, and providing advice to enable the best use of resources and the best outcomes for people who use our health service.

Health information — Advising on the efficient and secure collection and sharing of health information, setting standards, evaluating information resources and publishing information on the delivery and performance of Ireland’s health and social care services.

National Care Experience Programme — Carrying out national service-user experience surveys across a range of health services, in conjunction with the Department of Health and the HSE.

Tell HIQA about your care

HIQA welcomes information from the public about their experiences of health and social care services, both positive and negative. We call this unsolicited information.

If you or a relative have experienced poor care you have a right to make a complaint directly to the organisation that provided or paid for the care. The providers of these services are best placed to address and help resolve your complaint.

All unsolicited information received by HIQA is acknowledged, logged and examined. If the information relates to a service within HIQA’s remit (see below), it is reviewed by an inspector to establish if the information received indicates a risk to the safety, effectiveness, and management of the service, and the day-to-day care the resident or patient receives.

Your feedback will be reviewed by an inspector, which allows us to:

  • ensure services continue to meet high standards of care for patients and residents
  • consider how well providers handle complaints and use them as opportunities to improve care for patients and residents
  • identify any trends or patterns that could indicate that something unacceptable is happening in a service
  • make decisions when registering and or renewing the registration of designated centres.

If we believe that those responsible for providing a service may not be compliant with the necessary regulations and or national standards, we can take a number of actions in response such as:

Carry out a planned inspection:

Use the information on the next inspection planned for the service.

Request more information

Ask the responsible person for more information on the general issues of concern (not related to an individual person, patient, resident or child).

Request a plan

Request the responsible person to provide a plan on how they will address any identified issues.

Carry out a risk-based inspection

Carry out a risk-based inspection or a focused inspection to assess the quality and safety of care provided to those using the service.

In addition, where the information indicates that people may be at immediate risk, HIQA will use its full legal powers and report the incident, where appropriate, to the Gardaí, the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) or the Health Service Executive (HSE’s) Adult Safeguarding Team.

What does HIQA do with unsolicited information on services outside of our remit?

HIQA also receives information about services that are not within our remit (see below). When this happens we direct the person to the organisation best placed to address the complaint — the provider of the service, the Ombudsman or the Ombudsman for Children. All immediate and or serious safeguarding concerns are referred directly to either Tusla, the HSE’s Adult Safeguarding Team or the Mental Health Commission.

How to contact us

Unsolicited information can be shared with HIQA by phone, or in writing by email or by post.

Phone: (021) 2409646

Email: concerns@hiqa.ie

Post: Concerns, HIQA, George’s Court, George’s Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7.

Further information

HIQA has developed a series of information booklets on how to provide feedback or make a complaint about services within our remit. These are available on HIQA’s website:

  • Nursing homes here
  • Residential services for people with a disability here
  • Healthcare services here
  • Children’s residential, foster care, child protection and welfare services and Oberstown Children Detention Campus here

Under the Health Act 2007, services that are currently within HIQA’s remit are:

  • designated centres for older people (nursing homes)
  • designated centres for adults and children with a disability
  • providers (undertakings) of medical exposures to ionising radiation
  • publicly funded acute, community and rehabilitation hospitals
  • special care units for children
  • statutory children’s residential centres
  • statutory and private foster care services
  • Tusla’s child protection and welfare services.

How to make a complaint about a service:

If you are unhappy with care or treatment you have received you have the right to make a complaint directly to the service provider, have that complaint investigated and be given a full and prompt reply.

By law, all health and personal social care services must have a procedure for dealing efficiently with complaints. The person or organisation that is providing a service is responsible for investigating your concern.

If you have a complaint you should first:

  • speak with the staff providing the care who may be able to resolve your concern at this point
  • ask the service for a copy of their complaints procedure.

When you make a complaint or communicate your concerns to the person or people providing a healthcare service they must:

  • acknowledge your complaint or concern
  • look into and investigate your complaint or concern
  • let you know what they found
  • respond to you in a timely manner.

If you think a crime has been committed or someone is in danger, contact an Garda Síochána.

HIQA’s privacy notice (here) sets out how we process all personal data that we generate and hold in the course of our work.


Page last updated: 6 January 2016