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Private COVID-19 Testing Providers Case Study – Concierge Medical Practice

Concierge Medical Practice is a private, home-visiting general practice serving the Cotswolds and surrounding area.  Concierge Medical was granted accreditation to ISO 15189:2012 for the purposes of conducting COVID-19 testing on 23rd July 2021 and was one of the first private providers to achieve accreditation outside of London.

UKAS spoke to Concierge Medical’s Managing Partner, Kat Carrick to find out more about their experience of gaining accreditation.

“We took the strategic decision early in the pandemic to invest in providing a COVID-19 testing service to address the growing demand for testing for the purpose of international travel. We appreciated in advance that achieving the necessary accreditation to support this venture would represent a considerable commitment in terms of time and resource, and so we appointed a dedicated team for COVID-19 testing, led by Rachel Calvert, who has done an amazing job throughout.”

Kat explains that Concierge Medical embarked on this journey to accreditation in January 2021 as they analysed their existing practices, policies and documentation in comparison to the 15189 standard to see what changes needed to be made. Following this gap-analysis, the Concierge Medical COVID-19 team began taking steps towards assessment, which encompassed management of the practice, team, technical and clinical decision-making, and quality standards.”

While this process was Concierge Medical’s first experience of accreditation, as a Care Quality Commission registered Practice, the team was familiar with the inspection process and comfortable and familiar in working in a closely regulated industry.

Due to the relatively short-term nature of the anticipated demand for COVID-19 testing, Concierge Medical had to examine the business case for accreditation closely. Kat explains that they were driven by the needs of their patients to take this important step. “We did have some reservations due to the significant investment (in both time and material resource) that accreditation requires, combined with the fact that we do not envision a permanent market for COVID-19 testing. However, our members were looking to us to provide this vital service, and we felt that to ignore this would be letting them down.”

“Whilst accreditation was mandatory for Concierge Medical to legally be able to offer this kind of COVID-19 testing, we also saw this as an opportunity to cement our reputation for quality assurance.  We viewed the accreditation process as an opportunity to help us continue our service excellence plans and re-commit to a quality-centric approach at the heart of everything that we do.”

Having gone through the process of accreditation, Concierge Medical does not see this as the end of its journey to continuous improvement.  “We will continue to look at the relevant accreditation standards and extend our scope where we are actively providing those activities. We are also looking at ISO certification for our quality and management processes, all of which measures have certainly been triggered by our experience with UKAS.”