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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA)?

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) was established under The Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. It is the independent body responsible for monitoring and inspecting the availability and quality of health and social care services in Northern Ireland, and encouraging improvements in the quality of those services. Click here to view the Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003

What does RQIA do?

We register and inspect a wide range of health and social care services. Our inspections are based on a new set of minimum care standards which will ensure that both the public and the service providers know what quality of services is expected.

Our inspectors visit nursing and residential care homes and children's homes to examine all aspects of the care provided, to guarantee the comfort and dignity of those using the facilities, and ensure public confidence in these services. We also regulate nursing agencies and the independent healthcare sector.

RQIA has a role in assuring the quality of services provided by health and social services boards, trusts and agencies, to ensure that every aspect of care reaches the standards laid down by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and expected by the public.

Why was RQIA established?

People in Northern Ireland care passionately about the quality of health and social care services, and these public expectations continue to increase. We need an independent organisation that can inspect against care standards and encourage continuous quality improvement. Research and experience across these islands and across the world has shown that independent assessment of governance in organisations can lead to higher quality health and social care. RQIA will undertake these independent assessments and report to government and the people of Northern Ireland.

Governance means that organisations must make sure that there are visible and rigorous structures, processes, roles and responsibilities in place to deliver, monitor and promote safety and quality improvements in the provision of health and social care.

What is clinical and social care governance?

Clinical and social care governance is about organisations taking corporate responsibility for performance and will provide guarantees for the standards of clinical and social care. It is the framework within which HPSS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care and treatment. Clinical and social care governance will help those planning and delivering services to identify and build on good practice; to assess and minimise risk of untoward events; to investigate problems as they arise and to ensure that lessons are learnt. It will help professionals by ensuring that lifelong learning through continuous professional development is addressed by and within their organisation. (DHSSPS, April 2001 ‘Best Practice – Best Care’ p.37)

Is RQIA independent?

Yes, we are an independent body. Our board and staff are completely independent of health and social services. Board members cannot be appointed if they continue to have links with health and social services organisations.

How do you involve the public in your work?

RQIA also has a role in assuring the quality of services provided by health and social services boards, trusts and agencies. We carry this work out through a series of Clinical and Social Care governance reviews. These involve lay reviewers - members of the public with an interest in improving the standards of health and social care, working alongside health and social care professionals, to ensure that every aspect of care reaches the quality standards published by DHSSPS.

We also involve lay assessors in our inspections of nursing and residential care homes. If you wish to get involved, please email us or telephone: (028) 9051 7500. We also consult with the public when developing our policies and procedures.

What is RQIA's annual budget?

£7.0m, £6.2m grant in aid from DHSSPS, £0.8m from registration fees

Does RQIA publicly report on its work?

Each year we publish an annual report which reports on our performance against our business plan targets, and outlines our key activities during the previous year. Where we carry out reviews of services we publicly report on our findings, highlighting learning for organisations across the health and social care sector.

Inspections
Click here
to find Inspection reports.

Service provider directory

Enforcement Activity
Click here
to access details of enforcement.

Register of services
Click here
to view our register.

Feedback and complaints
Click here
for guidance.

Whistleblowing
Click here
for guidance on whistleblowing.

Freedom of Information (FOI)
Click here
for information on FOI.