HIW is independent of the Hospital and carries out inspections of healthcare facilities, including the use of the Mental Health Act 1983 and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. It carries out functions on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales. HIW uses a variety of people to carry out its work, including doctors, lawyers, nurses, social workers, psychologists and other specialists as well as interested lay persons. HIW reviews the operation of the Mental Health Act and the way its powers of detention and consent to treatment provisions are exercised, and also ensures the rights of detained patients are being upheld. HIW visits all hospitals and units where patients are detained under the Act. They can interview patients, examine legal documentation and they also monitor deaths of detained patients.
HIW also keep under review the operation of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards procedures. These only apply in hospitals and care homes.