Skip to content
News / February 13, 2009

Harney announces plans to license healthcare providers

by Guy Hiscott

The Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney TD, has announced key steps to implement the report Building a culture of patient safety, principally focusing on the Government’s decision to prepare legislation for the licensing of healthcare providers.

The Minister said: ‘The Government place great importance on the policies and practical reforms we are implementing to ensure patient safety and quality-assured health services. In the Programme for Government, we undertook to bring forward and implement recommendations of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance.

‘I am pleased to announce today [12 February 2009] that the Government, having considered the report of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance, have decided to draw up legislation to give effect to its central recommendation on the licensing of both public and private healthcare providers.

‘The licensing system will establish objective, mandatory standards, and compliance with standards will be legally required for every hospital or healthcare provider. The legislation will be complex, and it is important that we start out on the legislative path now.

‘The safety of patients must always be at the heart of what we do. I strongly encourage health service managers and the leaders of the medical, nursing and other professions to take on leadership roles to achieve real and lasting improvements in safety and quality care.

‘Putting patients and patient safety first ultimately leads us all to embrace change where the best interests of patients demand it.’

Welcoming the Minister’s plans, Professor Brendan Drumm, HSE CEO said: ‘Delivering higher quality and safer care in every part of the health service is a priority for the HSE. Any programme that can support this objective is most welcome. Today’s announcement will further support the advances HSE staff is making in raising quality and safety standards.

‘While we continue with this work, developments in areas including licensing, regulation of healthcare professionals and legislative change to support clinical audit and adverse event reporting will be beneficial in our collective pursuit of first class quality and safety standards. We look forward to continuing to work with everyone involved, including patients and their families, to ensure the potential of the Commission’s work is maximised.’

The Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance included members from the HSE and its report, published in August 2008, sets out a vision for safer and higher quality healthcare.