By: 11 April 2013

A voluntary scheme, Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation (ACSA), is to be launched this year, to help assess and accredit anaesthesia departments throughout the UK and ensure standards are kept high. ACSA, orchestrated by the RCoA Quality Management and the Professional Standards Directorate, in the wake of the Francis Report, issued in early February.

Twenty pilot sites are engaged in a second-phase pilot project. This includes anaesthetic departments in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and work continues towards recruiting a pilot site from the independent sector. Following a second pilot phase and final re-writes, the planned roll-out of the ACSA service remains on track for Tuesday 18 June 2013.

The ACSA five-year business plan has been approved by College Council and the operational model is in development, starting with online self assessment and finishing with an accreditation decision and ongoing action plan. The operational model will progress with the help of the pilot sites by confirming what works well, what is straightforward to carry out and what aspects will need to be reconsidered. A fee of approximately £2,000 per department, per year, for four years will be payable by departments undertaking the scheme.

Amongst the benefits of the accreditation are the ability to check the standards of your department against nationally recognised standards, direct feedback on service delivery, the help of an expert advisory team to improve the quality of care, and access to a network of accredited departments to share best practice initiatives and advice. For the full list of benefits, please email:

The ACSA standards are the criteria against which departments wishing to become accredited will be measured. The standards have been taken from the newly re-written Guidance for the Provision of Anaesthetic Services, which will be available in April 2013.

The standards were selected by an expert panel, including lay representatives. An explanation of the document is given on the first page. Anaesthesia departments undertaking the ACSA process will be asked to mark ‘met’ or ‘unmet’ against each standard in relation to their own department as part of the accreditation process. In the future, each standard will carry a list of references to the GPAS document. These will be hyperlinked to the GPAS document for quick reference.


Want to be an ACSA reviewer?

The Professional Standards Directorate request expressions of interest in becoming an ACSA reviewer. The College is looking for experienced anaesthetists with NHS equal opportunities/diversity training and qualification or experience in interview techniques. Further specialist training will be provided by attending a compulsory reviewers’ day at the College on either 17 June or 10 October 2013.

Interested doctors should note there will be a commitment to undertake between one and three visits to departments of anaesthesia per year across the UK, as well as a commitment to electronic communication and background reading. To register your interest or request more information please email: