Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust anaesthetists rewarded for high quality patient care

Published: 15/09/2020

Anaesthetists at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have been recognised for providing the highest quality care to their patients. The prestigious Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation (ACSA) from the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) was presented at a ceremony on 15 September.

ACSA is the College's peer-reviewed scheme that promotes quality improvement and the highest standards of anaesthetic service. To receive accreditation, departments are expected to demonstrate high standards in areas such as patient experience, patient safety and clinical leadership.

Dr Mary Cardwell, ACSA lead at Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: 

“The department is delighted and proud to have achieved ACSA accreditation. Accreditation would not have been possible without the involvement of the whole department, advice from the College guide and support from the College. Although this was a rigorous process with challenges that at times seemed insurmountable, the experience has been a positive one. An opportunity to be proud of the things we were doing well and to improve in areas that required development.

“We initially started working through the standards prior to gaining formal management support from the trust. The process has required perseverance and engagement with other departments in the hospital to achieve success. This has undoubtedly led to improvements in other departments in the hospital, which ultimately benefits patients.

“The ACSA process has allowed us to overcome some longstanding barriers to change, giving fresh impetus and clarity.  Without ACSA, this would have been much less likely to happen.

“The COVID-19 pandemic added an additional challenge, but also provided an opportunity for change.”

Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said: 

“I would like to offer my personal congratulations to the entire anaesthetic department on achieving ACSA accreditation. It is richly deserved and demonstrates their commitment to providing the best possible care for their patients.

“Patient safety is at the heart of what we do as a Medical Royal College. The quality improvement demonstrated during the accreditation process has helped the department manage the immense tasks presented to them by COVID-19 and the resumption of normal services.   

“It was fantastic to see the many innovative practices taking place at the Countess of Chester and the team were particularly impressed with the staff unity, and their inventive ability to deliver flexible services to match patient’s needs.

“As well as meeting the standards, the department demonstrated many areas of excellent advanced practice that have now been highlighted for sharing through the ACSA network.”

Dr James Palmer, RCoA ACSA lead reviewer, said: 

“I am delighted that, despite the viral pandemic, the Countess of Chester ACSA team managed to achieve accreditation. It was a great pleasure to be able to be part of the review process and to visit the department and hospital during that review. The department impressed with its cohesive and enthusiastic teamwork and its innovative approach to problem solving. Well done!”