Minister for Health Simon Harris will bring legislation to Cabinet today that will set patient safety standards for both public and private hospitals.

The new system will see all hospitals having to apply to the Health Information and Quality Authority for a licence and it will be an offence to operate a hospital without one. 

The legislation will give HIQA the power to cancel a hospital's licence and to force its closure if it is not delivering the safest possible service.

It will allow HIQA to attach conditions to a licence and it can order detailed improvement plans to be submitted.

Acute public hospitals are currently inspected by HIQA but the new measures will see standards set for all hospitals around patient safety and clinical governance.

This will be underpinned by ongoing monitoring which will be carried out by HIQA.

The Department of Health believes that concerns expressed in the past about some providers of plastic surgery would be addressed by the new legislation, as it would for the first time put in place core standards for all hospitals.

After the Cabinet meeting the bill will be referred to the Oireachtas Health Committee.

Meanwhile, a new study by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) has found that more older people in Ireland die in hospital compared to seven other high income countries.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, senior author of the report, Professor Charles Normand from the School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin said nearly half of those surveyed - 46% - died in hospital while the figure in other countries is closer to 25%.

He said a large group of people are dying in hospital and if they were given the services at home, or in nursing homes, then it would be possible to keep them out of hospital at the end of their life.

Prof Normand said: "We need to start looking much more seriously at how depression may well come along with more chronic problems that older people have".

He said for a lot of people approaching the end of their life, many of those suffering from depression do not get diagnosed or those who do, do not get adequate treatment.

He said the findings also showed that friends and family members account for 40-45% of all care received, while just over half comes from statutory services.

However, he said the end of life period is incredibly varied with one third of people able to look after themselves that final year while another third are very dependent and need help with day-to-day living tasks.

He said one of his recommendations would be increasing access to care including information about what services are available and that very often this lack of information leads to more expensive care, compared to people being treated in hospital.