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Work to Commence Patient Safety Act 2023 Continues

Today marks the one-year anniversary since the Patient Safety (Notifiable Incidents and Open Disclosure) Act 2023 was signed into law on 2 May 2023. We discussed the key features of this legislation in a previous article available online.

Since this legislation was enacted, the Minister for Health launched a National Open Disclosure Framework to complement the Act. The Framework sets out a system-wide approach for public and private health and social care providers to follow, when engaging in open disclosure following notification of a patient safety incident[1].

The Government also advised, in November 2023, that a number of preparatory steps were to be implemented before setting a commencement date for the Act. These steps include:

  • Necessary updates to the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • Roll-out of open disclosure training policy to all HSE staff, and
  • The finalisation of the communications programme to be put in place for patient-requested reviews in cancer screening services

The intention is to commence the Act as soon as possible, once these steps have been completed.

HIQA stated in its Overview Report, published in December 2023, that it is expected the commencement of the Act will increase the number of services to be monitored by HIQA. It is also expected that HIQA will require additional resources to manage the volume of patient safety incidents being reported by health service providers[2].

HIQA also launched a public consultation process on amending the scope of the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare[3]. This process was open for feedback from the public and health service providers during March-April 2024. The aim was to allow them an opportunity to share their views on the inclusion of private hospitals within the scope of these standards. The standards have been utilised by HIQA since 2012 to inspect, monitor and investigate healthcare services provided by the HSE. Effecting this change will allow HIQA to monitor private hospitals upon the commencement of the Act.


It remains to be seen whether the Act will be commenced during 2024. While it may present challenges for those working within the health services, the Framework should assist in a consistent approach being adopted to embed a culture of open disclosure resulting in a better, safer care experience for patients and their families.

In the meantime, it is important that health service providers familiarise themselves with their mandatory obligations and put appropriate systems in place to ensure compliance with the Act once commenced.

For more information and expert legal advice, contact a member of our Medical Law or Healthcare teams.

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

[1] National Open Disclosure Framework (2023)

[2] HIQA Overview Report – Monitoring and Regulation of Healthcare Services 2021-2023 (December 2023)

[3] HIQA – National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare (Draft version 2 for public consultation – March 2024)

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