'The Implementation of a Flexible Scope of Accreditation' by Julie Johnson
Accreditation is a procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a laboratory is competent to carry out procedures according to specified standards. The rationale being that if these standards are met there is a level of assurance that the service provided is of an acceptable level of quality. Throughout the NHS, laboratories have been encouraged to implement accreditation as a tool with which to demonstrate an acceptable level of service quality. However, evidence to substantiate there is any true benefit of accreditation is lacking.
The current process for a laboratory to obtain accreditation is time consuming, bureaucratic, and costly, with demands on the laboratory which can delay innovation and improvements to the patient service. In European medical laboratories, an alternative approach has been adopted successfully. This alternative approach uses a Flexible rather than a Fixed scope of Practice which may benefit experienced laboratories, allowing autonomy within their accredited scope to remain patient focused and to adapt to innovation and science in a timely cost-effective manner. This approach has not yet been fully explored within the UK.
This single centre case study aims to analyse the implementation of the Flexible scope accreditation using a quasi-experimental design with a mixed method approach for data collection. Longitudinal data will be collected to evaluate the implementation of the Flexible Scope using a retrospective-prospective study design to validate and verify the overall impact of implementing a Flexible scope on an NHS laboratory service.