ACSA FAQs



How do I get started?
The first step in the process of ACSA accreditation is to fill in the Department Registration Form (Document 1). This gives us essential  information about your site, including the size, structure and services.

How do I get my managers on board with the process?
You may find that our Quick Reference Guide for Chief Executives and Medical Directors (Guidance A1) provides the relevant information.  Alternatively our Presentation to Start Local Discussions (Guidance B) may be useful to inform your department about ACSA.  At any stage, you can request an onsite presentation from the ACSA team where we will visit you and deliver a talk to some of the key figures in your department.  You can also request a teleconference (Guidance C) at any stage in the process to discuss any queries, issues or concerns with us.

How much does it cost?
The annual subscription charge is based on the size and complexity of the department; information we obtain from your Department Registration Form (Document 1). 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 acsa@rcoa.ac.uk.

How long is the process from registering to accreditation?
Ultimately, the time frame you work to is up to you and your department.  We would advise that at the point of payment you give your department a maximum 12 month deadline for your onsite review visit.  This is to make use of the services you have paid for and, in our experience, is a realistic timeframe to work towards.

What are the benefits of ACSA accreditation?
Organisations that engage with ACSA will benefit from:

  • A structured and supportive process for improving services.
  • An expert advisory onsite 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 2015/16 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.’

Who do I contact with queries?
 You can make ACSA enquiries to acsa@rcoa.ac.uk.  Alternatively, you can contact the accreditation co-ordinator directly: Mrs Amalia Ndebele on andebele@rcoa.ac.uk 020 7092 1697.

How many departments are accredited?
So far we have 15 accredited departments (three of these are also ACSA accredited in subspecialty neuroanaesthesia and neurocritical care, one in subspecialty ophthalmic and one in subspecialty vascular).  We have a total of 88 registered departments throughout the UK and have numerous onsite review visits planned for 2017. 

What is the good practice library and how do I get access to it?
The good practice library is currently an internal College database that includes details and examples of good practice from sites that have had their ACSA review visit.

When a site becomes officially engaged with ACSA (through payment) they can request an example of good practice for any ACSA standard and, if we have an example in our database, we will email the information to the site for them to gain ideas and adapt to their local needs.

It is important to note that the good practice library is in its preliminary stages so we do not have good examples for every ACSA standard as yet; it is a resource we are developing and expanding over time.

If you have paid for ACSA services, you can request items of good practice via your College guide, or by emailing us directly on acsa@rcoa.ac.uk.

What happens during your four year accreditation cycle?
You will have continued access to your appointed College guide for one year after gaining ACSA accreditation. 

The ACSA standards are revised annually to ensure they are relevant and reflect current practice in anaesthesia. When this happens, you will be informed by the ACSA team that the new standards are in place.

On the anniversary of your ACSA accreditation, you will be sent the compliance document prepopulated by the ACSA team to detail all the new standards that have been released, as well as any amendments to existing standards that require new submission of evidence. Your College guide will be able to assist you to complete this document to demonstrate your compliance with updated ACSA standards for the second year of accreditation.

Once you submit your compliance document to the ACSA team, there will likely be correspondence by email and a teleconference with the ACSA team to discuss any items of relevance, including the submission of evidence.

This process repeats for year three and four of your accreditation cycle; in your third and fourth year you will be assisted by the ACSA team in your compliance document submission.

After your fourth year, your department has to decide if they wish to reengage with ACSA and begin another four year accreditation cycle.  If you decide to reengage, you will need to begin the whole process again; payment, appointment of a College guide, a review visit, a report and the annual compliance document submission for the remaining duration of the cycle.