A consultation on minimum care standards for independent hospitals, clinics and hospices has been launched by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
It sets out draft requirements for the registration and inspection of independent providers by the NI Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.
Nearly 70 standards are proposed covering areas such as staffing, recruitment, staff supervision and volunteers.
The proposed standard on staffing states that “at all times, the number and ratio of staff on duty meets the assessed care needs of all patients”.
Meanwhile, for dedicated children’s services and on each inpatient ward dedicated to the care of children, there should be a minimum of two registered children’s nurses on duty at all times, the standards suggest.
The minimum standards will apply to independent hospitals, clinics, hospices, medical agencies and in-patient mental health services.
They will also apply to independent establishments that deliver procedures such as in-vitro fertilisation, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, dialysis, laser treatments and endoscopy.
The consultation on the standards closes on 27 September.
The Royal College of Nursing said it was currently preparing its response.
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