Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation

ACSA is our highly regarded accreditation scheme for anaesthetic departments

ACSA is a voluntary scheme for NHS and independent sector organisations that offers quality improvement through peer review. 

What is ACSA?

Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation (ACSA) engages anaesthesia departments in quality improvement through peer review. The scheme is voluntary and carries a subscription fee for engagement. Participating departments benchmark their performance against a set of standards based on the College's Guidelines for the Provision of Anaesthetic Services (GPAS), which is produced via a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) accredited process, and work towards the goal of becoming accredited.

Why engage with ACSA?

ACSA accreditation is a marker of care for patients:

"Patients may not notice the ACSA plaque on the wall, but they will experience the improvements made by the department in order to achieve accreditation. Whether it is ensuring that they have an appropriate pre-operative assessment before surgery, that information provided to them is clear and accessible or that there are robust systems in place to ensure their safety, patients are at the heart of the ACSA standards. Through the inclusion of lay reviewer on every review visit, we ensure that the patient voice is heard." (College Lay Committee).

Engagement with ACSA also provides the following benefits to organisations:

  • a pro-active, structured and supported process for improving services
  • a means to self-assess local guidelines and practice against nationally recognised, evidence-based standards
  • engagement in quality improvement and service development from all staff within the department and management level
  • the benefit of an onsite peer review with direct feedback on service delivery
  • access to a network of accredited departments to share best practice and service improvement initiatives
  • the expertise of a ‘College Guide’ to guide you through the accreditation process
  • access to the ACSA ‘Good Practice Library’, a database that includes examples of good practice from sites which have had their review visit
  • an ACSA report to support funding and resource bids
  • year-on-year comparison with local, regional and national standards of performance.

What do official bodies think of ACSA?

The CQC welcomes the continued development and spread of the ACSA scheme. Participation in the scheme provides valuable assurance about anaesthetic services and we regard it as important evidence about the safety, effectiveness and responsiveness of services.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

HIS recognises the value of professional accreditation. Their quality of care approach recognises ACSA standards and will take ACSA accreditation into consideration as part of the package of information about an organisation that informs review and inspection activity.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS)

HIW recognises ACSA standards and takes account of the ACSA accreditation status of services as part of its surgical inspection methodology introduced in 2017.

Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW)

The College has information sharing agreements in place with the CQC, HIW and HIS. We do not share ACSA reports or other information submitted by departments with the regulators. We do confirm a department’s status within the ACSA scheme: registered, subscribed, visited, accredited or not engaged.

Have a question about the ACSA standards? Need to know more about the ACSA process? Want a presentation in your hospital to find out how accredited departments achieved ACSA accreditation?