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Quality planning and control for nurses and midwives

Quality planning and control are about meeting standards and being confident in the quality of care. There are many ways nurses and midwives can get a level of assurance in the quality of their care. Measuring and controlling for quality as well as undertaking after action reviews.

Policies, procedures, protocols and guidelines

The HSE has many policies, procedures, protocols and guidelines (PPPGs) in place. The use of PPPGs forms a central part of assurance processes.


Seeking feedback from people who receive and provide care provides a strong signal of the quality of care.

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Comments, compliments and complaints

Risk management

Nurses and midwives adopt a proactive approach to managing risk in everyday practice. They identify risks and have plans in place to reduce the chances of risks occurring. If risks occur, they minimise their impact.

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Integrated risk management policy


Audit is a process that seeks to improve care and outcomes through a systematic review of care against explicit criteria described in standards, policies and protocols.

Clinical audit

Clinical audit is a structured review of performance to ensure that what should be done is being done. Clinical audit provides pointers to enable improvements.

National clinical audits

The National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA) maintains some prioritised national clinical audits. These measure against national and international standards.

Nurses and midwives have a central role in coordinating and using findings from national clinical audits. Each audit focuses on a unique area of practice such as hip fracture, major trauma, hospital mortality, ICU care, maternity care and joint replacements.

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NOCA website

Healthcare audit

Healthcare audits provide assurance that healthcare services meet statutory obligations and best practice. It is part of the quality, assurance and verification function and plays a key role in the HSE’s assurance framework.

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Healthcare audit

Incident management

Nurses and midwives work in very complex environments. There are times when things don’t happen as expected. Incidents can cause harm.

The HSE's incident management framework provides guidance and steps for the management of incidents.

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Incident management framework

Protected disclosure

The HSE receives and responds to concerns raised by nurses and midwives delivering care. Arrangements for dealing with protected disclosures are also known as whistleblowing.

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Protected disclosure