Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation (ACSA)

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the latest ACSA accredited department

What is ACSA?

Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation is a voluntary scheme for NHS and independent sector organisations that offers quality improvement through peer review. The scheme has been developed by the RCoA Quality Management of Service Group and the Clinical Quality Directorate.

Engagement with the scheme entails a period of detailed self-assessment against the ACSA standards and gap analysis. Assistance and support in improving those areas is then offered. This includes access to the Good Practice Library; a collection of good practice documents and guidance gathered from organisations that are engaged with the scheme. When the organisation achieves 100% compliance with the ACSA standards and this has been confirmed during an onsite review, they become accredited.

Why become accredited?

Organisations that engage with ACSA will benefit from:

  • A structured and supportive process for improving services.
  • An expert advisory on-site review, followed by a report that provides targeted advice.
  • Benchmarking against standards and anonymised local, regional and national performance.
  • The engagement of staff in service improvement.

Accredited departments will:

  • Be entitled to use a quality mark to denote their commitment to quality and patient care.
  • Be awarded a plaque to display in the department.
  • Be more attractive to potential employees and trainees.

Who recognises ACSA accreditation?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) recognises the potential value of clinical service accreditation and peer-review schemes as information sources to support its inspections. ACSA has applied and been approved as an official information source.

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) has developed, in association with the cross‐college clinical services accreditation stakeholder’s advisory group, a set of criteria to help CQC determine schemes that can provide robust and reliable information for consideration ahead of and during inspections. The CQC will work with ACSA to ascertain how best to incorporate information from the scheme. Schemes will require written agreement with the participating services to permit that the results of assessments can be shared with the CQC. In the interim, any publicly available information (for example accreditation status) will be taken into account in the CQC inspection methodology, for inspections from 2015/2016 Q1 onwards.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, CQC has stated: ‘I strongly support the work on accreditation being undertaken by the Royal College of Anaesthetists. The ACSA accreditation programme should in due course be a very useful source of information on the quality of anaesthetic service for the Care Quality Commission.’

Dr Mike Durkin, National Director of Patient Safety, NHS England has stated: This is a very positive step in the continuous movement to improve the safety of anaesthesia. The opportunity to share best practice and learning through the ACSA library is also to be commended and is supportive of Don Berwick’s ambition for the NHS to be a system devoted to continual learning and improvement of patient care.’

How much does it cost?

The annual subscription charge is based on the size and complexity of the department. The minimum cost is £2,550 (excluding VAT) per year for a small single-site hospital and the initial term of engagement will be four years.  This fee may increase annually in line with UK inflation rates; however, subscribers will be offered the opportunity to buy a 4 year subscription in advance; fixed at four times the agreed charge for year one and thereby protected from any inflationary increase.

If you have any queries about costs, please contact