In a world grappling with global challenges such as climate change, conflict, global pandemics, and inequality, the importance of working together to create sustainable change has never been more evident. World Standards Day 2023 celebrates the theme of a “Shared Vision for a Better World,” focusing on the incorporation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all. As an organisation dedicated to promoting quality and competence, UKAS plays a vital role in achieving SDG 3 and underpinning quality healthcare for all.
The significance of SDG 3
SDG 3 serves as a global call to action, emphasising the importance of accessible and safe healthcare for everyone. It recognises that access to quality healthcare is not only a fundamental human right but also essential for sustainable development. Achieving SDG 3 requires a collective effort from governments, organisations, and UKAS accreditation will assist the UK in its contribution to this goal.
The role of international standards in achieving SDG 3
International standards developed by organisations such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) play a crucial role in achieving SDG 3. These standards provide a global framework that facilitates the adoption of digital health technologies, research and development, manufacturing, and maintenance of healthcare devices and systems.
By adhering to international standards, countries can ensure that effective, safe, and reliable medical devices, health services, and systems are accessible to a broad population. These standards also form the basis for effective policymaking and regulation, encouraging collaboration to improve healthcare outcomes. As the sole accreditation body in the UK, UKAS incorporates these international standards into its accreditation processes to support the highest quality and safety standards in healthcare.
UKAS’s accreditation process and SDG 3
The accreditation process carried out by UKAS aligns with the goals of SDG 3, contributing to the overall objective of ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all. UKAS provides accreditation services to a wide range of organisations involved in healthcare, including medical laboratories, diagnostic imaging and physiological science services as well as inspection bodies and certification bodies providing services to healthcare settings.
Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates that an organisation has met internationally recognised standards, ensuring the competence, impartiality, and integrity of their services. By undergoing the rigorous accreditation process, healthcare organisations can enhance their credibility and demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality and safe healthcare services.
UKAS has played a significant role in supporting health-related initiatives and improving healthcare outcomes through accreditation. UKAS continues to work with partners in the national measurement system as part of the NHS England Knowledge Transfer Partnership, which is a prime example of how UKAS, as an organisation, is engaged with and facilitates the sharing of best practices and knowledge within the healthcare sector. There are plans for this partnership to extend into the other UK nations in 2024. By promoting the exchange of expertise and standards, UKAS has contributed to the enhancement of the overall quality of healthcare services across the UK.
New accreditation in this area
Furthermore, UKAS is currently working with NHS England to establish a project to develop new accreditation for Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs). NHSE has stipulated that CDCs are to be accredited within two years of being established. Over 170 CDCs have already been approved to operate services which may include pathology, phlebotomy, point of care testing, diagnostic imaging, and physiological science services. As the national accreditation body, UKAS is the only organisation recognised to provide accreditation across healthcare diagnostic and scientific services. UKAS will now work with host Trusts and CDC providers to determine the most suitable approach to deliver accreditation across the relevant disciplines, and the scope and the timeframes that services are planning to work to.
UKAS continues to work with the Healthcare Science leads in the devolved administrations to ensure UKAS accreditation is supporting developments in policy and delivery across the UK.
As the world strives for a better future, the achievement of SDG 3 – ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all – remains a fundamental priority. UKAS is committed to upholding international standards in its accreditation processes. By incorporating these standards, UKAS plays a vital role in improving healthcare outcomes, promoting patient safety, and contributing to the overall goal of a healthier and more sustainable world.
Through its accreditation services and collaboration with healthcare organisations, UKAS enables the sharing of best practices, establishes consistent standards, and drives continuous improvement in the healthcare sector. UKAS supports the vision of SDG 3 and demonstrates its unwavering commitment to a shared vision for a better world.
For more information on UKAS’s accreditation services and the significance of standards in healthcare, please visit the UKAS website and explore the spotlight on accreditation standards series.