The Anaesthetic Team at Epsom and St Helier hospitals have received the prestigious Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation (ACSA) from the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) - one of only five trusts in London to be recognised for such high standards of care.
The accreditation shows the hospitals’ commitment to achieving and maintaining a high standard of good practice, which includes providing reliable and high quality services to patients in line with the requirements set by RCoA.
Working across our hospitals, the anaesthetic team provides anaesthesia services for various types of surgery, the delivery suites, emergency surgery, trauma, pre-operative assessments, chronic pain service, support and training to the resuscitation service and anaesthetic cover for intensive care for patients with life threatening conditions.
Consultant Anaesthetist and ACSA Lead, Dr Bernadette Ewah said: “We are delighted to have attained the high standards required for ACSA. Working through the ACSA process has been a positive experience for the team and a great deal of work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure we achieved it, from updating guidelines and policies to investing in top of the range monitoring equipment.
“What’s more, the RCoA identified six examples of outstanding practice from our Anaesthetic department for inclusion in their library of good practice as a reference for other organisations.”
Areas of good practice identified were broken down into four categories: care pathway (that’s the model of care provided to a patient); equipment, facilities and staffing; patient experience; and clinical governance. The Trust excelled in the following areas:
- Care pathway: The communication system used between departments was identified as good practice, as well as the guidelines to care for patients from recovery to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), which all staff were clear on. The Trust has also been identified to offer effective training and support. In addition, it was recognised that the specific needs of children are considered at all stages – for example, our children’s surgery teams have small electric cars so young patients are able to wheel themselves into the theatres, which offers a welcome distraction to children on the way to theatre. The area is decorated with children-friendly murals which aim to reduce anxiety.
- Equipment, facilities and staffing: Specialised equipment is available when needed and the Simulation Centre (at Epsom Hospital) is an excellent facility to help with whole team training.
- Patient experience: As part of the pre-assessment process, nurses provide a call-back service (three days before the admission date to give confirmation of times, changes to medications and an opportunity for patients to ask questions). The rooms at Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children allow for separation of different ages with suitable activities for each age group range, the children and parents are also invited to visit the unit ahead of time to help reduce anxiety.
- Clinical governance: Clinical activity is limited if appropriate resources are not available to ensure safety, and the Trust has a strong engagement with national audit projects. Meetings are held regularly and include lessons learned from incidents being shared widely amongst staff.
Joint Medical Director, Dr James Marsh said: “I would like to acknowledge everyone’s hard work and offer a big congratulations to the team for this brilliant achievement. Our main focus is putting our patients first and ensuring patient safety is at the heart of what we do. I am proud to say that as a Trust, we remain committed to developing and maintaining the high quality anaesthetic service and care for our patients.”