|Laura Booth is a Senior Assessment Manager and IQIPS Technical Focus Person (TFP) at UKAS. She currently specialises in the area of Audiology, working on the IQIPS scheme and dealing with enquiries and providing specific information in this area. This involves collaborating with a number of different teams internally at UKAS including marketing and training as well as those in her area of direct responsibility.|
Although Laura initially trained as a Biomedical Scientist, she moved into Audiological Science and gained an MSc in this discipline. Her career has included working in several NHS Trusts and then going on to become the Principal Clinical Scientist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. She gained her Doctorate in Audiology in 2006. Experience gathered with the Department of Health through the National Newborn Hearing Screening programme, focussing on quality assurance, provided an insight into the variance in service delivery across the country. It was at this point Laura got involved in accreditation for the first time, working with her own Trust on the IQIPS scheme.
Laura comments: “I wanted to be part of the process that moved services forward, using accreditation to help assure patient-centred care and to increase confidence in service delivery. The patient doesn’t always know what he or she isn’t getting, so the accreditation process plays an important role in assurance. By working as an Assessment Manger, I became part of the process that helps make a real difference to physiology services throughout the UK.”
The importance of accreditation in this area is underlined by an increasing number of organisations requesting or recommending that services should be accredited. Laura explains: “Clinical Commissioning Groups contracting audiology services do look for providers who are engaged with the accreditation process. The National Deaf Children’s Society is also keen to see assurance for the post neonatal audiology services, which is something the accreditation mechanism supports. In the wider area of Genomic Medicine pathways for cancer care and infectious diseases, to be part of the Genomic medicine centre (and any service within the pathway delivery) requires accreditation. This encompasses the vast majority of IQIPS disciplines across the UK.”
Managing change effectively is an important part of working at UKAS. Laura has assisted in the ISAS to QSI Imaging Standard transition in 2017 and is currently working on both the transition for the revised IQIPS Standard and moving towards harmonising healthcare accreditation assessments. The benefit of accreditation for many is that the process of regular feedback and review means the system does continually evolve and reflect new developments and pressures when it comes to delivering a quality service. The effort of everyone involved keeps the accreditation current and ensures it delivers assurance of the Quality Management System (QMS) and confidence that each accredited organisation is providing a quality service, as proved by external endorsement.
When asked what makes a good assessor, Laura mentions the importance of being empathetic with clinicians and patients. “Good organisational skills are vital plus effective teamwork” and “delegation is important alongside diplomatic assertiveness”. The use of remote assessments has highlighted the need for good communication skills, plus being flexible and able to adapt to new approaches such as the risk based approached being used in the assessment process.
Reviewing all the different aspects of her role, Laura believes the most important is the “multiplier effect in the way accreditation takes the overall knowledge gained from delivering accreditation across many industries and organisations and ensuring that insights benefit each individual applicant”. She also derives significant job satisfaction from being able to apply her extensive industry experience to each of businesses she works with as a Senior Assessment Manager: “My original goal when moving to accreditation was to be part of a process that assures patient care and increases confidence in the quality of services. Delivering this outcome remains an important part of the job satisfaction.”