The Commissioning Framework for adult hearing services states that alongside monitoring KPIs, outcomes and service user feedback, it is important for all services to demonstrate that they meet clearly defined quality standards, and are delivering high-quality services for service users by achieving United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accreditation.
As of 1 April 2017, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) assumed full responsibility for the management and delivery of the Improving Quality in Physiological Services (IQIPS) accreditation scheme. Previous to that date, the scheme was managed jointly with the Royal College of Physicians. This change in management was made to streamline the approach to preparation for assessments, and also the ongoing maintenance of accreditation for all IQIPS customer organisations.
The IQIPS Standard will continue to be developed and owned by the professional bodies that represent the eight recognised physiology disciplines: audiology, cardiac physiology, gastro-intestinal physiology, neurophysiology, ophthalmic and vision science, respiratory and sleep physiology, urodynamics and vascular science.
UKAS accreditation against the IQIPS Standard is fully endorsed by NHS England as it provides an essential framework for organisations that deliver those services to engage with NHS England Objectives. This endorsement is confirmed in the NHS England position statement published in October 2016:
'We fully support 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.'
UKAS accreditation is a tool that can be used to support the commissioning of healthcare services that are safe, effective and continually improve the experience for patients. As such, the accreditation aligns closely to a key objective of both local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and national specialised commissioners in England: to drive up the quality of care for patients, while delivering efficiency and productivity.
Under the model service specifications, NHS audiology services are expected to undertake a self-assessment audit against the IQIPS Standards before delivering NHS care, and also monitor their performance on a regular basis.
Organisations can apply for accreditation using the UKAS online application forms. Prior to submitting an application for assessment and accreditation, UKAS strongly encourages all applicants to:
- undertake a detailed self-assessment against the accreditation standard using the online Traffic Light Ready gap analysis tool
- attend a UKAS preparation for accreditation workshop
- carefully read the IQIPS standards, 'IQIPS 1: UKAS Assessment and Accreditation for the Improving Quality in Physiological Services scheme' documents together with the application documents and relevant UKAS publications.
To find out more, visit the UKAS website.