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Views sought on new safeguarding policy
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01 Feb 2024 / ireland Print

Views sought on new safeguarding policy

The Government has launched a public consultation on the development of a new national policy aimed at protecting adults who are at risk of abuse in the health and social-care sectors.

The draft policy proposals for a national policy on adult safeguarding have been developed jointly by the Department of Health and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

The Government says that, while a range of legislation and policy-based measures is already in place to deal with the issue, there is a need to further strengthen the framework and introduce related underpinning legislation.

The new policy proposals outlined in the consultation aim to further prevent abuse, respond to suspected abuse, intervene as necessary, and support adults’ decision-making rights.

Rights of users

Reforms to strengthen the relevant existing legal framework are also proposed.

The new policy will:

  • Apply to all public, private, and voluntary healthcare and social-care services,
  • Strengthen the existing adult-safeguarding policy framework for health and social-care services, and
  • Aim to uphold the rights of at-risk service users to make their own decisions, to foster a strong culture of safeguarding throughout all services, and to support effective intervention, when necessary, to protect at-risk service users against abuse.

It will also set out policies on co-operation, information-sharing, and referral arrangements between the health and social-care sectors and other key sectors – including the gardaí – for the purpose of safeguarding at-risk adults against abuse and harm.

Mary Butler (Minister for Mental Health and Older People) said: "Adult safeguarding is about fostering a strong safeguarding culture in every service and putting the right policy and legislation in place to reduce the risk of harm to adults who may be at risk of abuse.”

An online consultation portal is now open, with a closing date of Wednesday 13 March (5pm) for responses.

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