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29 April 2022 HIQA publishes review on governance and safeguarding in HSE disability services in Donegal

Today, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published a report on its review of the effectiveness of governance and management and safeguarding arrangements in designated centres for people with disabilities operated by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Co. Donegal.

HIQA undertook a regulatory programme in a cohort of centres over a two-week period in January 2022, arising from concerns about the management of safeguarding concerns by the HSE in the Donegal area. 

As part of the programme, HIQA visited 18 HSE centres in Co. Donegal and met with residents, staff and senior managers. HIQA assessed compliance with regulations on governance and management, protection and positive behavioural support; and the impact on the quality and safety of care for residents living in these centres. 

Overall, HIQA found that most residents were living in pleasant, homely environments and the centres were being managed by experienced and knowledgeable persons in charge. However, the Chief Inspector required the HSE to address its poor oversight and governance arrangements at local, regional and national level. In addition, the HSE was required to improve its assurance mechanisms at regional and national levels to ensure that safeguarding arrangements to protect residents from the risk of harm are effective. 

HIQA’s Chief Inspector of Social Services, Carol Grogan, said:

“Any safeguarding issue is of significant concern to everyone, especially to the people involved and their families. A critical aspect of effective safeguarding is good oversight and management of centres at provider level.

“The HSE has submitted a detailed plan on how it intends to address the governance and safeguarding gaps we identified as part of this regulatory programme. We have commenced a programme of inspections in HSE designated centres to assess the implementation of this plan to ensure sustainable delivery of improvements to the quality, safety and the lived experience for residents.”

Read the report at

For further information please contact:
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement
085 8055202, 

Notes to the editor:

  • Since the commencement of regulation of designated centres for people with disabilities in 2013, HIQA has raised concerns about the HSE’s ability to sustain effective governance and oversight of designated centres for people with disabilities in the HSE’s Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 (CHO1). This has been evidenced by repeated escalated regulatory action in the area over a number of years. 
  • As of January 2022, the HSE was operating 30 designated residential centres in Co Donegal. Since September 2021, HIQA has inspected 27 of these centres. 
  • HIQA conducted this regulatory programme in HSE-operated designated centres for people with disabilities over a two-week period from 11 January to 21 January 2022. During this two-week programme, inspectors met with 69 residents and 80 staff members, including all persons in charge, and spoke with residents in all 18 centres. In addition, inspectors spoke with both middle and senior management in CHO1.