One of the respected international hospital accreditors, Trent Accreditation System, recently had an unexpected shock. The UK government has to find savings on NHS spending; the local health trust that funded the accreditor decided to close the scheme. Their relationship with the scheme was a non-profit, non-surplus one, so in their opinion it was a venture that would never provide it with any income and so was deemed an unnecessary administrative burden. At no stage was there any suggestion of problems in the quality of what Trent’s surveyors were doing; many were NHS employees.
So when the organization that used to oversee the UK’s Trent Accreditation Scheme, or TAS, made the decision to withdraw from all hospital accreditation-related activities, the surveyors who had been very happy to donate their own precious time and duty leave to undertake surveys on behalf of TAS, thought that to let it die would be a waste. Surveying of hospitals and clinics was considered to be highly worthwhile, providing continuing professional development for those healthcare professionals from diverse professional backgrounds who were involved. It was obvious that there was a considerable pool of talent, expertise, experience and enthusiasm in existence just waiting to be drawn upon.
Although previously linked mainly to Hong Kong hospitals, recent years have shown that partnership with UK-sourced healthcare accreditation is an attractive option to hospitals and clinics around the world. So, a group of former surveyors took the decision to collaborate and to continue with accreditation work. It was out of this decision that QHA Trent has risen phoenix-like from the ashes of TAS.
Quality Healthcare Advice (QHA) is a new limited company based in the Trent region of the UK, and it is owned and managed by a group of UK doctors and healthcare executives. QHA Ltd will provide independent accreditation services under the banner of QHA Trent, and the plan is to: -
- Provide services at highly competitive rates, on the fees charged and surveyors’ airfares and living expenses.
- Be transparent on charging.
- Ensure that QHA operating methods and health standards remain as high and as professional as is possible.
- Seek to partner organisations with reputations for excellence in the field of healthcare quality and risk minimization.
- Maintain an independent panel of experts drawn from a wide range of backgrounds to oversee the accreditation work of QHA Trent.
- Ensure there is a strong bespoke element embedded into the co-development process for standards with partner hospitals.
- Base the scheme on voluntary expert surveyors who are actively working in healthcare and relevant academia in the UK.
- Offer the option to recruit and train additional surveyors drawn from the staff of QHA Trent’s partner hospitals around the world.
- Offer high quality assistance at competitive rates for hospitals and clinics preparing for accreditation.
QHA Trent adheres to a developmental approach to the accreditation process, and the scheme can either survey and accredit individual hospitals or clinics with surveyors brought in entirely from outside the country, or work with a group of hospitals within a given locality to set up a locally-based system for surveying and accrediting those hospitals which makes use of surveyors recruited from the staff of those hospitals.