» Accreditation Underpinning Quality Healthcare Commissioning
The need to drive up the quality of care for patients, whilst delivering efficiency and productivity is a key principle for commissioners of healthcare services, both local commissioners (CCGs) and national specialised commissioners in NHS England (NHSE). UKAS accreditation is a tool that can be used to support the commissioning of healthcare services that are safe, effective and that continually improve the experience for patients.
The influence and use of UKAS Accreditation in healthcare continues to grow across a wide range of areas, to support the delivery of informed and effective purchasing, good governance and public confidence. Accreditation is provided to diagnostic services such as pathology laboratories, physiological services, imaging services, point of care testing, as well as service providers such as dental practices and adult social care homes. UKAS accreditation schemes have also been recognised by CQC and have been approved for use within CQC hospital inspection methodology.
The benefits of accreditation for Commissioners include:
- Providing an independent assurance of quality and safety that supports commissioning decisions to deliver better care and value for patients.
- Providing a mechanism for measuring quality improvement.
- Supporting consistency in the quality of care.
Further information is available in this briefing paper for Healthcare Commissioners.
Resources for Commissioners
NHS England has outlined its strong position towards accreditation of diagnostic services by publishing a position statement. It remains committed to, and strongly endorses participation of diagnostic services in the ISAS, IQIPS, and Medical Laboratory accreditation programmes. A copy of the position statement can be viewed on the NHS England website.
These Guidelines, produced by the Society and College of Radiographers and British Medical Ultrasound Society, have been published to be used as recommendations for good practice in Ultrasound services. They recommend that services should be assessed to the Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme (ISAS).
The Commissioning Services for People with Hearing Loss – a Framework for Clinical Commissioning Groups (NHS England, July 2016)
The framework states that with IQIPS accreditation, hearing services can assure commissioners and service users that they meet a range of clearly defined quality standards:
The provider will be expected to undertake a quality audit such as the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) IQIPS-Self Assessment and Improvement Tool (SAIT) before delivering NHS services under the contract and continue using the quality audit on a regular basis;
The provider will be expected to be working towards UKAS IQIPS accreditation standards and achieving accreditation.
The Learning Environment
A web-based tool, delivered by NHS England and the NHS Commissioning Assembly, that provides a central point of information where CCG’s can easily access a wide range of support and development opportunities.
UKAS accreditation schemes feature as an offer in the directory detailing how accreditation can be used to support Commissioners in their work.
Quality Images Services for Primary Care.
A good practice guide, jointly produced by the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Society and College of Radiographers and the Royal College of Radiologists, states that referrers, GPs and Commissioners can be assured that ISAS accredited services are delivering the highest quality services.
Lessons from accredited paediatric audiology services - Why commission and provide an IQIPS accredited service?
This document, published by the National Deaf Children’s Society, sets out why an accredited service is important for deaf children and their parents, the benefits of accreditation for audiology services based on the experiences of services that are accredited, and practical advice on participating in accreditation based on the experiences of those who have obtained accreditation.
Strategic Review of Cardiac Physiology Services in England.
The joint review into cardiac physiology services in England by the SCST (Society for Cardiological Science and Technology) and the BCS (British Cardiovascular Society) recommends that all cardiac physiology services should be accredited through the Improving Quality in Physiological Services programme (IQIPS) to demonstrate that the service they provide meets these defined quality standards in order to transform services and patients’ experience of cardiovascular disease care.
Monitor, Making the health sector work for Patients
A report by Monitor provides more information for commissioners by providing answers to questions and issues relating to the use of the 'Any Qualified Provider' (AQP) in adult hearing services. These questions and answers are also relevant for other services where choice applies. When commissioning services in these areas, local and national ‘specialised’ commissioners are advised to specify UKAS accredited services, wherever possible.
New NHSP Commissioning guidance for Newborn Hearing Screening Programme requires IQIPS Accreditation
Commissioners’ should ensure that Audiology services participate in, and maintain accreditation to defined quality standards operating under the umbrella of the United Kingdom Accreditation Schemes (UKAS) / improving Quality in Physiological Services (IQIPS).
Management and use of IVD point of care test devices
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) states that any site providing a POCT service should undergo accreditation. Accreditation is assessment, by an external body, of the competence to provide a service to a recognised standard. By having this independently confirmed, POCT providers are able to give reassurance to users of their service.
Commissioning for Quality
The Good Governance Institute (GGI) has developed the ‘Commissioning for Quality’ programme to help clinical commissioners address their post-Francis quality responsibilities. A core tenant of the work has been raising awareness and confidence amongst those on governing bodies in CCGs around the quality assurance processes within NHS providers. The role of clinical laboratory, imaging and physiological services accreditation has emerged as a potential resource for CCGs ensure quality in commissioned services. A key aspect of the Commissioning for Quality programme is to identify opportunities to use existing quality assurance activities to inform commissioning decision-making and secure quality assurance knowledge.