News and events

Find out what’s happening in our Trust

“An unwavering commitment to excellence”: Anaesthetic department recognised for high quality care

The Anaesthetic department at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust have received accreditation under the prestigious Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation (ACSA) scheme, demonstrating the Trust’s commitment to patient safety and outstanding care.

At an event at Tunbridge Wells Hospital on Wednesday 21 February, the Anaesthetic department were formally presented with their accreditation by RCoA Council member and Trustee, Dr Claire Mallinson, who described the achievement “as a clear indication of an unwavering commitment to excellence. It reassures patients and their families of our dedication to providing safe, effective, and compassionate care. It also underscores the department’s role as a leader in the field of anaesthesia.”

She added: “For a trust with multiple sites to earn this accreditation, it underscores a remarkable level of consistency and excellence across its operations…The celebration of this achievement is a moment of pride for every member staff, from the anaesthetists and nurses to the administrative and support teams. It is a reflection of their collective effort, dedication, and commitment to excellence.”

Working across Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals, the department provides anaesthesia for planned and emergency surgery, maternity, pre-operative assessments, chronic pain service, support and training to the resuscitation service and anaesthetic cover for our intensive care units for patients with life-threatening conditions. The accreditation shows the Trust’s commitment to a high standard of practice, which includes providing reliable and high-quality services to patients, in line with the requirements set by RCoA.

ACSA is the RCoA’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 patient experience, patient safety and clinical leadership. 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.

Dr Helen Burdett, Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical Director for Theatres and Critical Care, said: “this has been a huge team effort and covers one of our largest departments: anaesthetics and theatres across both our hospitals. The ACSA process has been a real benefit to our staff and patients, empowering us to make improvements in our processes, equipment and training that have created a safer and more resilient environment.

It has been a tool for self-improvement, supporting us to achieve our quality improvement objectives, encouraging innovation and focusing our attention on new challenges. Special thanks are due to Dr Benjamin Rudge and Dr James Peerless for leading the department through the complex process.”

Dr Fiona Donald, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said: “I would like to offer my personal congratulations to the entire anaesthetic department at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust on achieving ACSA accreditation. It is very impressive to see the commitment and approach of the whole department to sustaining their standards. They have demonstrated their ability and passion for 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 impressive to see the innovative practices taking place at the hospital, and the excellent commitment from all staff during the process. 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.”

Main photo l -r: Dr Benjamin Rudge, Dr Helen Burdett (Clinical Director for Theatres and Critical Care), Dr Jim MacDonald (Deputy Medical Director), Dr Claire Mallinson (RCoA Council member and Trustee) and Dr James Peerless.