Written Answers - Health Services.

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 618 No. 81

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  233.  Mr. Wall  Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   the guidelines that a nursing home must adhere to in regard to room temperature for patients within the nursing home; the mechanism her inspectors use to ensure such guidelines are adhered to; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16511/06]

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. S. Power): Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  The Deputy’s question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

The Nursing Homes (Care and Welfare) Regulations 1993, made under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act 1990, set out the standards which private nursing homes must adhere to. The Health Service Executive currently carries out inspections in private nursing homes. Article 11.2(k) of the Regulations provides that in every nursing home suitable and sufficient accommodation must be provided which meets the minimum standards. Suitable and sufficient heating with a minimum heating of 65 degrees F (18 degrees C ) in bedroom areas and 70 degrees F (21 degrees C ) in day areas is required.

In the context of the Health Bill 2006, the process has begun to review the current system with a view to strengthening the powers available to those involved in inspecting facilities and to extend a strengthened inspection system to public facilities.

It is also intended that the Bill will provide for the setting and monitoring of standards for residential facilities for older people. In addition, the Department has commenced a review of the Nursing Homes (Care and Welfare) Regulations 1993, and is working in conjunction with the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) and the Irish Health Services Accreditation Board (IHSAB), with the intention of developing standards that will apply to all residential services for older people. It is intended that the Health Bill 2006 will establish both the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) and the SSI on a statutory basis and will contain provisions to underpin a more robust inspectorial system.

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