HIQA and the Office of the Ombudsman Sign Memorandum of Understanding in order to Provide Further Protections to the Public

Author: Colm Reddan, Leanne Kiernan, Sinead Taaffe

August 22, 2019

The Health Information and Quality Authority (“HIQA”) is an independent statutory authority established to promote safety and quality in the provision of health and social care services. The Office of the Ombudsman’s (“the Ombudsman”) primary role is to examine individual complaints against public service providers, provide individual redress, where appropriate, and use complaint outcomes to improve public administration.

On 9 July 2019, the CEO of HIQA, Mr Phelim Quinn, and the Ombudsman Mr Peter Tyndall, signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding (‘MOU’) to further cooperation between both organisations.

The purpose of the updated MOU is to establish a framework for cooperation and information sharing in relation to health and social care services which fall within both HIQA’s and the Ombudsman’s respective remits, and to establish effective procedures for directing members of the public to each other’s services.

The MOU aims to promote cooperation between the parties in areas of strategic and high level operational interest that is to the benefit of service users and ensure that relevant information and personal data in respect of relevant complaints, where appropriate, is shared between the two parties.

The MOU introduces a list of specific actions to be considered by the parties in order to further cooperation, for example, where HIQA receives a complaint by email or letter, HIQA will provide a written response to the complainant which will set out the option of referring a complaint to the Ombudsman, a brief note of the remit of the Ombudsman and the contact details for the Ombudsman.

Speaking at the signing, Phelim Quinn commented: “HIQA has a broad and growing remit; however, in everything we do, we strive to put the needs, voices, rights and protection of people who use health and social care services at the centre of our work. We want to ensure that members of the public receive safe and high-quality care, and that the potential for risk or harm is minimised… This agreement promotes cooperation between the Ombudsman and HIQA and provides an additional safeguard for members of the public.”

Mr Peter Tyndall added: “HIQA inspects health and social care services. My Office deals with individual complaints from health service users. By working together we make sure that there is no wrong door for people bringing concerns and help to deliver better and safer healthcare for all.

The MOU will be subject to a formal review every two years from the date of its signing or otherwise as requested by a party to the MOU.

The MOU between can be viewed here

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