Quality Standard for Imaging (QSI) Frequently asked questions

  • How long will it take us to achieve accreditation?

    The time it takes to complete the assessment and accreditation process from Application to Grant of accreditation depends on the validity of the conformity claim made by the organisation during the application.
    If the organisation is ready and able to provide UKAS with convincing evidence to demonstrate that they conform fully to the standard then the process can take as little as 6 to 8 months from application to grant of accreditation.

    The assessment process devised by UKAS should normally take 6-12 months.
    For those organisations that are not yet ready to make an application, timescales for preparation vary depending on what systems and documentation you already have in place.

  • How many services are already accredited?

    The latest information on accredited organisations can be found here.

  • How much does it cost?

    Each applicant, regardless of size pay a one-off application fee of £1,500 plus VAT.

    Accreditation fees are then payable in annual instalments. This annual fee is determined by the size of the assessment team needed to assess the organisation, which depends on the number of modalities and locations to be assessed.

    Information on how the fees are calculated and some example fees can be found in the published Terms and Conditions of Business.

    Imaging services can request an estimate of annual fees by contacting Ann Pinder, UKAS Senior Assessment Manager at [email protected].

  • How do I know if we meet the requirements of the standard?

    Performing a gap analysis against the standard and gaining support from the Colleges should provide assurance of the requirements for meeting the standard. This should enable you to estimate how long it will take to close the gaps and be in a state of readiness to make a formal application and will ultimately depend on your resources.

    Become familiar with the standard and begin to integrate the requirements into your daily practice now. A copy of the standard is available for download.

  • Why do we need imaging accreditation, we have passed our CQC inspection?

    CQC inspection is based on a Regulatory Standard to ensure minimum levels of safety are adhered to. Accreditation assesses the competence of an organisation to deliver an effective, efficient, safe, well managed and sustainable service that is patient focused and developmental. If your organisation is accredited it should be able to demonstrate adherence to any relevant regulatory requirement.

    Accreditation is endorsed by NHS England and the CQC will take account of accreditation status as part of their inspections approach.

    Accredited Imaging services give stakeholders, service users, patients and their carers, confidence in their diagnosis and care. It improves clinical governance standards, raises the level of competency and enhances the credibility of the service amongst patients and assures those who fund the services.

    Imaging services who have been accredited state that the process will:

    • Support a focus on patient safety and care
    • Raise local standards and support continuous improvement
    • Encourage and motivate staff to work together
    • Act as leverage for change, staff motivation and sharing good practice
    • Provide third party confirmation of good practice
    • Enhance efficiency and value for money
    • Increase confidence in the service

    High quality care is the cornerstone for good medical practice and both NHS and independent providers are seeking recognition of their standards. Accreditation provides this independent declaration of competence.

  • Why isn't accreditation mandatory?

    The decision to participate in accreditation is normally made for good business purposes in that the management of the organisation wish to make a commitment to its customers about the quality of products and or services they should expect from the business.

    The way that the NHS is organised and managed makes it difficult for anyone apart from the CEO/Trust Board of the organisation to mandate accreditation.

    It is possible for local Commissioning Groups to mandate accreditation as a requirement for awarding contracts. NHS England has stated that it ‘fully supports a commissioning system focus on the prioritisation of accredited diagnostic services. We are confident that with continued resolute focus, accreditation will become the baseline standard for diagnostic services across the NHS in England’.

    Where mandates are applied, they are normally associated with sanctions. However, most health care policy makers tend to caution against mandates as they have the potential to drive perverse incentives.