The ACSA process
Subscribe to ACSA
When you decide that you are ready for additional support from the scheme, usually around 70-80% compliant against the standards, the next step is to formally engage to the scheme through subscription. The cost of subscription is calculated according to the size of your department, the number of sites and whether you wish to include any subspecialty domains. This also determines the number of days your visit will need to be.
You can apply to accredit the whole Trust/Board, part of the Trust/Board or a single hospital. If you are looking to accredit the whole Trust/Board and it contains several sites then it is advisable to have a discussion with the ACSA team about how best to do this.
The minimum cost of subscription is £2,685 per year for a small, single site NHS department. The minimum term of engagement is four years and in order to be invoiced you must sign and return a payment agreement covering the four year period. You will be offered the choice to pay the subscription fee on an annual basis or upfront for four years.
What do we get by subscribing
Once you have signed and returned the payment agreement you are subscribed to the ACSA scheme. This means that you will gain access to an assigned college guide and the ACSA good practice library. All college guides are a current member of the ACSA committee, an ACSA lead of an accredited department, an experienced reviewer or a combination of the above. The role of the college guide is to support you through the ACSA process from point of subscription for the rest of your four-year accreditation cycle. They will be able to provide guidance on how to interpret and evidence standards, prepare for your review visit and support with any challenges you may be struggling with.
The ACSA good practice library is an internal College database that includes details and examples of good practice from departments who have had their ACSA review visit. You can request an example against an ACSA standard and we will send you the documentation we have so you can gain ideas and adapt them to your local needs. The good practice library is a developing resource that is expanding over time so if we do not have an example we will source it from one of our accredited departments.
Your subscription covers all costs related to your onsite review visit and your accreditation plaques (one per site).
How to secure funding
The RCoA views ACSA as a supportive tool for anaesthetic departments to drive up quality and in turn, patient safety. Engagement with the ACSA scheme is an excellent way to demonstrate a department’s commitment to quality improvement.
For departments in England, the CQC has stated that it regards ACSA as an approved source of information on the quality of anaesthetic service and the standards are mapped to their KLOEs. The programme also has the support of NHS England National Medical Director, Professor Steve Powis who advocates going through the accreditation process to provide even higher quality patient care.
For departments in Scotland and Wales, the ACSA scheme is supported by the regulators in those nations. Both HIS and HIW take ACSA accreditation status into account as part of their inspection methodologies.
A better quality of service is arguable more cost efficient and the costs of ACSA subscription is considerably lower than comparable schemes in use for other clinical areas.