A notice about cookies

This website uses cookies. Some cookies may have been set already. To find out more about our use of cookies you can visit our Privacy policy. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.


This is a prototype - your feedback will help us to improve it.


Patient Safety Surveillance

Published: 4 July 2019
From: Department of Health

Patient Safety Surveillance

The National Patient Safety Office has commenced a scoping exercise to establish a national patient safety surveillance system. This will provide evidence to inform patient safety policy and leadership decisions, bringing data from many sources together to inform prioritisation and monitoring of implementation.

This creates the opportunity to address the ‘precursors to harm, and not just the harm itself’ and helps to develop a ‘problem sensing’ culture that actively seeks patient safety alerts.

A surveillance system is likely to include (but is not limited to):

  • elements on clinical activity
  • clinical outcomes
  • complaints trends
  • notifications to the Health Products Regulatory Authority
  • information from the Coroner
  • information from the State Claims Agency

The collection of data is not an endpoint and it is important that the surveillance of patient safety profiles for patients, service and clinical cohorts is part of the quality improvement cyclical process. It will also assist in identifying and developing processes to address data gaps of importance.

Health Information and Quality Authority - International review of patient safety surveillance systems

National Healthcare Quality Reporting System

The National Healthcare Quality Reporting System (NHQRS) is an annual publication with the purpose of providing publicly available information on the quality of healthcare. It allows data on the quality of Ireland’s health service to be transparently shared with patients, service providers and policy makers.

The NHQRS is now established as an important annual publication. It reports on a broad, balanced range of indicators of health service structures, process and outcomes with the purpose of providing a means of comparison against international data and nationally accepted standards and best practice.

Now that the NHQRS is in its sixth year, it provides a mechanism through which data about the quality of Ireland's healthcare structures, processes and outcomes can be compared year-on-year, showing, in many cases, incremental improvements, and in some areas of care where further improvements are required.

The process of developing each report is overseen by the Governance Committee and supported by the Technical Group. Each report and the associated infographic summary (from 2016 onwards) can be accessed by clicking the link below.

National Healthcare Quality Reporting System Reports

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

What is Antimicrobial Resistance?

Antimicrobials are medicines used to treat infections or disease, and are essential in both human and animal health.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when an antimicrobial that was previously effective, is no longer effective to treat an infection or disease caused by a microorganism.

The development of resistance is a natural phenomenon that will inevitably occur when antimicrobials are used to treat disease. The problem at present is that the sheer volume of antimicrobials being used globally in humans, animals and in other situations is leading to significant increases in the rate of development of resistance with the result that common infections are becoming more difficult to treat and microorganisms that are resistant to many antimicrobials, so called ‘superbugs’, are emerging.

Whilst the term antimicrobial resistance is used throughout this document, much of the detail and the activities in this, Ireland's first national action plan on AMR, are focused specifically on antibiotic resistance. The Plan was jointly published with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and you can access their AMR webpage here.

Visit the HSE Healthcare Associated Infection & Antimicrobial Resistance page.

Further information is available on antimicrobial resistance.

National Patient Experience Survey

The Department of Health is pleased to be involved with the National Patient Experience Survey. This nationwide survey, which commenced in 2017, will ask patients about their recent experience in hospital in order to inform and guide quality improvement initiatives for the health service at a local and national level. The department is committed to initiatives of this kind which will allow the health service to capture learning from its patients that in turn inform improvements to the quality and safety of that service.

This project is a joint partnership between the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the department and the HSE; you can find further details at National Patient Experience Survey.

Patient Safety Reports

A number of Patient Safety Reports and working documents have been published in Ireland. These provide significant learning in relation to patient safety. In addition, the reports have a number of recommendations for implementation by various bodies.

You can access National Patient Safety Reports below:

Working Documents

Part of