Key points to note from HIQA’s new Standards Development Framework: a principles-based approach

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On 29th September 2021, HIQA published Standards Development Framework: a principles-based approach.  This document outlines a set of principles to underpin all national standards for health and social care services in Ireland. These principles will be used as HIQA’s standards development framework, instead of the eight-theme framework which HIQA has used to develop standards since 2012.

What are the principles?

There are four principles, these are:

The principles have been developed to be used consistently across all national standards developed by HIQA, irrespective of the setting or service type. The principles underpin all national standards, including any tools developed to support their implementation.

Structure of all National Standards

HIQA note that this new Standards Development Framework will not affect national standards published prior to the development of these principles. All future health and social care national standards will consist of three sections:


All national health and social care standards will be structured under the four principles:


The standards will describe how service providers can achieve safe, high-quality, and integrated person-centred care and support for people accessing the relevant services. HIQA envisaged that each standard statement will be comprised of two elements:


The features will demonstrate how a person should experience a service that is meeting the standards.


In line with emerging international evidence, HIQA developed the four principles to underpin all national standards for health and social care services. At the centre of the four principles is the person receiving care and support, they must be at the core of everything with each of the principles working together to achieve person-centred care and support.

To find out more about the principles see the HIQA website here.

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