Covid-19 has exposed gaps and shortcomings in the regulatory framework under which the Health Information and Quality Authority works, according to its Chief Executive Phelim Quinn.

HIQA has published its annual report for 2020, outlining its role in responding to the pandemic.

The report details the steps the organisation took in health and social care services and to develop evidence and advice for the National Public Health Emergency Team.

Over the past year, according to Mr Quinn, HIQA has repeatedly called for a review process to make the current regulations fit for purpose and in line with the changing models across the country.

During 2020, HIQA carried out 1,242 inspections of health and social services, such as nursing homes, residential centres for people with disabilities, children's services, and public hospitals.

It developed 49 reports on Covid-19 for the Minister for Health, Department of Health, and National Public Health Emergency Team.

16,362 people took HIQA’s e-learning module on infection prevention and control in community health and social care services.

It also outlines how the authority continued to fulfil its remit across other functions such as making recommendations on health information, developing standards for care and promoting quality improvement through online learning modules and webinars.

HIQA says regulatory reform will remain a focus over the coming years, as health and social care services work to meet the long-term consequences of the pandemic.