The neurophysiology department at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust is the first of its kind to achieve UKAS accreditation to the Improving Quality in Physiology Service (IQIPS) standard.

Chris Monaco managed the seven strong neurophysiology team.  Although a relatively small and niche department, it exerts a big influence on patient care within the Trust, as Chris explained:  “We may be a relatively small department within the Trust, but the work we do has a huge impact on patients.  ‘Doing the right thing’ is very important to us and the ethos of the IQIPS standard fits well with the Trust’s aims of being safe, caring, responsive, effective and well led.  In practical terms it means that our diagnoses must be accurate and timely, as this makes a significant difference to the quality of patient care we offer.”

Outlining the department’s motivation behind opting to apply for IQIPS accreditation Chris said:  “IQIPS provides an ideal way of measuring the quality of our services – it is the only standard that covers all the aspects of neurophysiology service delivery, including education of staff, infection control and patient care.  IQIPS is an independently verified standard that not only holds the department to account but also ensures that patients receive a level of care that is benchmarked against a recognised national standard.” 

Meeting both the Trust and national quality of service targets was just one of the reasons why the neurophysiology department elected to apply for IQIPS accreditation.  Perhaps the most important was the beneficial effect it would have on patient confidence.  Chris said:  “Our IQIPS accreditation gives patients the confidence that they can come in for tests safe in the knowledge that the team are acting appropriately and with their best interests at heart.”

Already one of the UK’s leading neurophysiology departments, IQIPS accreditation has confirmed the department’s standing within the neurophysiology community, as Chris explained:  “Neurophysiology is a quite a niche discipline within the health profession, with a small number of both departments and specialist staff working within them.  As the first neurophysiology department to achieve IQIPS accreditation it is difficult to benchmark ourselves against other Trusts.  However, by being the first, we are setting the bar high for fellow neurophysiologists to follow, and enhancing our reputation as a forward thinking department within the profession.”

The ‘global’ approach of IQIPS led to Chris and her team performing a detailed gap analysis on each individual aspect of its service and implementing measures to ensure that the whole service complied with the standard.  This was a rigorous process and involved every member of staff within the department over a 12 month period.  Chris said:  “The collective effort adds to the department’s feelings of ownership and pride at having achieved IQIPS accreditation.  By helping us to understand the bigger picture, the lessons we learned by going through the accreditation process can be applied in other departments throughout the Trust.”

Far from being a one off tick-boxing exercise, accreditation by UKAS is a continual process, based on a four yearly cycle of annual assessment visits.  Chris said: “From the outset we realised that gaining accreditation was just the start of the process and maintaining it would be an ongoing challenge.  However, we felt that it was the right standard for us to achieve, so it was important to develop systems to ensure we retain our accredited status, allowing us to continue to be a leading department within our field.”

Following a successful assessment visit by UKAS, Chris was able to evaluate the merits of the IQIPS programme and the work required to achieve it:  “This was our first experience of an IQIPS type assessment and we received regular visits from the UKAS team, who supported us through the accreditation process in a friendly and professional manner.  I would recommend the IQIPS process to anyone who has the need to demonstrate and/or desire to improve the quality of their physiological services.  Although it was hard work at times, it was important to reach the IQIPS standard and the end result has definitely been worth the effort.”

Calderdale & Huddersfield Neurophysiology Team

Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS FT Nuero Physiology Team

Calderdale & Huddersfield Neurophysiology Team

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