‘Root-and-branch’ review of RQIA acknowledges radical overhaul is necessary

BDA Northern Ireland has welcomed the decision by the Department of Health (DoH) to undertake a major review of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) and the policy and legislation that underpins healthcare regulation.

NIDPC Chair Richard Graham and BDA NI Director Tristen Kelso recently met officials from DoH Quality, Regulation, Policy and Legislation Branch as part of a pre-consultation stakeholder meeting. A DoH discussion paper produced as part of the review acknowledges the existing, “uniform approach to registration and inspection” and developments in regulation policy, as well as existing “gaps” mean a radical overhaul of the policy and legislation underpinning RQIA is necessary.

Richard Graham said: “Being classified as ‘independent hospitals’, and subject to annual inspections despite being considered ‘low risk’, while we see three-yearly inspection periods elsewhere, has perpetuated the feeling among GDPs that the inspection regime is overly onerous, and not fit for purpose.

“We welcome the root-and-branch approach as proposed, not least the acceptance of moving to a ‘right-touch’ regulatory regime, and acknowledgement of the issues associated with dental practices being classified as independent hospitals.”

BDA NI has been calling for the 2003 Order to be reviewed. A chance to meet DoH officials was secured after representations to the Permanent Secretary. A move to inspections every two years appears to be in the offing in the short-term, subject to sign-off by the Permanent Secretary. An opportunity to further extend this will be part of the latest review.

Tristen Kelso added: “While this process is still at an early stage, we welcome the opportunity to engage with the DoH in shaping the future of regulatory policy.”

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Published: 8 January, 2019 at 14:30