Our clinical governance

Clinical governance is the system and ways in which healthcare teams are held accountable for the quality and safety of the services they deliver.

This involves setting standards and monitoring them, to show whether they've been met.

All HSE staff and employees are expected to be committed to the safety and satisfaction of the people who use our services.

Responsibility for clinical governance

Dr Colm Henry is Chief Clinical Officer (CCO) of the HSE. He brings clinical experience and expertise to the leadership of the healthcare system.

The CCO and his team oversee the whole system of clinical governance within the HSE.

They make sure we have safe ways of working, setting quality and patient safety guidelines, and seeing that everyone follows them.

They're responsible for the clinical programmes and services that are run across Ireland. These include the National Cancer Control Programme and National Screening Service.

Our guiding principles for high-quality care

To help health services providers, the HSE has created a set of principles for everyone working in healthcare to follow.

At the highest level, these principles are:

  1. Patient first
  2. Safety
  3. Personal responsibility
  4. Defined authority
  5. Clear accountability
  6. Leadership
  7. Interdisciplinary working
  8. Supporting performance
  9. Open culture
  10. Continuous quality improvement

There is more detail on each of these, including how to check they're being followed, in our clinical governance information leaflet.

Clinical governance information leaflet

The Safety and Quality Committee

The HSE Safety and Quality Committee advises the HSE Board on everything relating to patient safety and quality in the health service.

The committee's Chair is Professor Deirdre Madden, Deputy Chair of the HSE Board.

The committee is authorised by the Board to:

  • monitor arrangements for measuring and improving safety and quality in the HSE
  • advise the Board on the implementation and effectiveness of these measures
  • monitor the development of a patient-centred culture
  • request any information needed from any HSE employee and any agency that is totally or partly funded by the HSE
  • ask anyone it would like to attend a committee meeting

The committee's duties include:

  • overseeing national programmes and strategies that are relevant to patient safety - in particular, the Patient Safety Strategy
  • developing national key performance indicators for patient safety and quality
  • taking regular reports from national directors to review the systems that are in place

The National Clinical Director, Dr Orla Healy, sits on the committee and heads the HSE's National Quality and Patient Safety Directorate.

This directorate works in partnership with HSE operations, patient partners and other internal and external partners to improve patient safety and the quality of care.

The directorate's remit for quality and patient safety includes incident reporting.

Accident and incident reporting

Timely and accurate accident and incident reporting is essential to good clinical governance.

The National Quality and Patient Safety Directorate (NQPSD) supports staff to practice safely, including identifying and reporting safety incidents, and managing and improving patient safety.

Find out more about the NQPSD, including reporting and managing incidents

Contact details

Email the Office of the Chief Clinical Officer: CCO@hse.ie

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