Patient Safety and Quality


Improving the quality of care provided to service-users including the safety, effectiveness, appropriateness, access, efficiency and acceptability of that care has been identified as a policy imperative in recent years. A wide range of initiatives are underway at a policy and an operational level to progress the patient safety agenda. These include:

  • strengthening and reform of regulatory frameworks for providers and professionals,
  • the establishment of the Health Information and Quality Authority and structural reforms within the HSE and the Department;
  • a range of other policy initiatives (many arising from the Report of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance – July 2008).

Taken together with the reforms outlined in the Programme for Government 2011-2014, these initiatives have the potential to radically transform the direction and delivery of health and personal social services.

Functions and Responsibilities

The Chief Medical Officer has overall policy responsibility relating to patient safety and quality in the health services. Functions include:

  1. Develop and implement proposals for the establishment of a Patient Safety Authority;
  2. Ensure ongoing external support for and monitoring of implementation of the report of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance (Madden Commission);
  3. Support the National Patient Safety Advisory Group;
  4. Monitoring of response and learning systems to patient safety incidents within the public and private sectors;
  5. The management of the patient safety protocol within the Department;
  6. The corporate relationship between HIQA and the Department of Health, including approval of authorised persons for standards monitoring and investigations and managing budget/staff controls and business planning;
  7. Maintaining relationship with HSE/Agencies on Protected Disclosures provisions of the Health Act 2007;
  8. Funding and support for the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua);
  9. Provide administrative support to the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee and the National Patient Safety Advisory Group;
  10. Monitoring and evaluation of the HSE’s response to healthcare associated infections;
  11. Represent Ireland and participate in meetings of EU Patient Safety Working Group as required;
  12. Maintenance of Patient Safety First Website

Contact this Unit


Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eibhlín Connolly
Assistant Principal Officers Eithne Barron
Robbie Breen
Susan Reilly

Primary Legislation

Health Acts 2004 and 2007

Bodies under ageis of DoH

Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA)

Established in 2007, HIQA is the independent Authority to drive continuous improvement in Ireland’s health and social care services. HIQA has statutory responsibility for:

  • Setting Standards for Health and Social Services
  • Monitoring Healthcare Quality
  • Health Technology Assessment
  • Health Information
  • Social Services Inspectorate

Working Groups

National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC)

A National Committee for Clinical Effectiveness was established as part of the Patient Safety First Initiative. The Committee is involved in the systematic development of clinical guidelines and the promotion of clinical audit on a national basis. The aim is to strengthen the evidence base for the most effective delivery of clinical care, resulting in improved outcomes for patients and greater reassurance for them about the quality of their care.

Working group of NCEC

This Working Group will develop/adapt the documents that will guide the work of both the Committee and guideline developers, and will undertake quality assurance of guidelines that are submitted to the Committee.


Report of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance (2008) -

Final Report of the Implementation Steering Group for the recommendations of the Report of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance (2011) -

Useful Links

This is the website of the Patient Safety Initiative in Ireland which provides information, documentation and links to useful resources and developments in Patient Safety in Ireland

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is Ireland's specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases

ISQua, The International Society for Quality in Health Care Ltd.

Section 15 FOI

Record Classes

Administrative – Non Personal, semi private

Significant Systems


Personal Information Holdings

Relating to claims under the Clinical Indemnity Scheme, Patient Safety Protocol cases, Unit Reps