A year of milestones for QSI

Wednesday 4 January 2023

With the Quality Standard for Imaging (QSI), it has been a year of milestones. In October 2022, we hit the one-year mark since the QSI launched, which also coincided with the launch of the latest version of the publication. This was then followed a month later with the 50th service being awarded the QSI accreditation.

While milestones are great to achieve, even better has been the impact QSI has made to services across the country. QSI now has engagement from 86% of radiology services in the UK, which equates to nearly 200 services.

The QSI articulates the expectations of good imaging services and was designed to allow services to evaluate their performance and develop where needed to continually improve patient experience and outcomes. This is an important benchmark and it’s been pleasing to see so many radiology services across the country investing so much work to achieve the accreditation, continually reviewing their service against the QSI and making improvements.

Future NHS

During the pandemic, our QSI leads were instrumental in writing new policies and procedures. A forum was set up to allow them to share and learn from each other which meant that they were able to respond to the quickly changing guidance. This is now an online network on Future NHS, which has connected quality, governance and QSI leads together, encouraging the sharing of good practice and good governance. 

We also have templates and examples of many policies and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to help services update and improve their own. We hold regular meetings on various topics including Quality Management Systems (QMS), enabling services to learn from each other.

50th service accredited

As I mentioned at the beginning, the 50th service was recently awarded accreditation through the QSI. This was achieved by the radiology department across the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland. Listening to the work that the service undertook as they worked towards the QSI was enlightening to hear.

In their own words, the trust told us: ‘We are incredibly proud to have achieved UKAS accreditation against the QSI. Over the last number of years, a huge amount of hard work has been invested by many people, developing and improving our Quality Management System.  We have worked hard to ensure processes and pathways are documented, up to date, reflective of current practice, regularly reviewed and easily accessible.

‘Aiming towards the QSI standard has greatly enhanced staff involvement and driven a truly patient-centred approach to delivering our services. The results of the most recent staff and service user surveys we completed this year not only demonstrate a tremendous level of service user satisfaction, but also reflect the wholeheartedness with which staff have embraced QSI.’

The future

We will continue to support and develop QSI in services so that good quality practice becomes embedded across the UK. In 2023, we will be piloting QSI in Scotland, where we don’t currently have any accredited services. In Northern Ireland, we’re looking forward to the last service being accredited making it the first UK nation to be fully accredited. 

Wales are also looking to move forward as a nation with QSI. We will be hosting regular meetings with all Welsh health boards to enable them to work towards their accreditation.

Across England, we are working with the newly formed NHS England networks to grow the Quality Standard for Imaging Networks (QSIN) across the country, with the aim to embed QSI into each health service. We have already started hosting regional QSI network meetings, which are encouraging discussions and providing support for all the regional leads.

Find out more about the QSI

Katherine Jakeman, RCR Quality Improvement Partner