News in brief

RCoA launches accreditation scheme

Anaesthesia services in NHS and independent sector organisations can gain professional accreditation from the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) under a new scheme launched in June 2013. Among the benefits of the Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation (ACSA) scheme, the RCoA cites support for future Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQIN) payments, and for funding and resources bids, as well as commitment to service improvement and best practice among staff. It also says that the CQC recognises ACSA-accredited departments as low-risk.

ACSA is 'a process of quality improvement through peer review', says the RCoA. Initially, anaesthetic departments undertake a detailed self-assessment of their services, benchmarked against ACSA standards. This enables the department to analyse their service, define strengths and weaknesses and identify areas for improvement.

Should the department not comply with the standards initially, the RCoA offers help by carrying out an on-site review and, following discussion about areas of shortfall, recommends actions for improvement. Further help is available from the RCoA's good practice library, a collection of good practice documents and guidance gathered from organisations that are part of the scheme.

Once a department has reached full compliance with the ACSA standards, measured through on-site review, they receive the accreditation mark for four years. The cost of subscribing to the scheme is around £2,500 per year, and may be more for large or complex organisations.

The scheme has been developed by the RCoA's Quality Management of Service Committee and the Professional Standards Directorate.

More information, including support documents and guidance for all stages of the ACSA process, is available on the RCoA website

Teach yourself tax

A new MDU/HMRC online tutorial explains the essentials of business tax for clinicians who are self-employed or who run their own practice.

Topics covered include tax for doctors who undertake work outside their NHS responsibilities, for example medico-legal work. Separate sections explain the HMRC's requirements when setting up, running and growing a practice. It explores personal and corporate liability, business expenses, taking on staff, PAYE and registering for VAT.

You can work through the tutorial in your own time and return to it as often as you like. There are also links to other HMRC tips and tools if you want fuller information on specific areas.

To access the tutorial visit our e-learning module page.

New route for patient feedback

Doctors have a new route for collecting patient feedback for appraisal and revalidation with the launch of The free online service allows doctors and healthcare organisations to seek direct comment from patients on the care they receive.

Clinicians can set up their own profile page and invite reviews from patients. Colleagues can also post feedback.

iWantGreatCare provides personalised business cards, showing the doctor's name and unique url, to hand out to patients. Each time a review is posted, the doctor receives an email alert and can respond to individual patients. Reviews can also be printed out.

Malicious comments and campaigns can be detected by the site, and there is a reporting function for extreme or illegal posts.

Membership news

Calls to the MDU membership team are answered in just 11 seconds on average, an international survey has found. Eighty-five per cent of calls receive a response within 10 seconds.

The Global Contact Centre Benchmarking study compared the MDU with call centre standards in the UK, worldwide, and in the business and financial services industries. The MDU came out well in all categories, including a member satisfaction rate of 91%.

MDU clinical complaints advisers

The MDU's clinical complaints advisers (CCAs) provide an additional level of support for members facing investigations by their employer.

Disciplinary investigations can be stressful and it is at these times that doctors feel most vulnerable and in need of help. When MDU members are required to attend meetings with their employing or contracting body, whether this is due to a clinical incident or complaint, or a more in-depth investigation into their clinical performance, they can ask for our assistance.

MDU medico-legal advisers (MLAs) can help you respond to allegations and ensure you are being treated fairly. CCAs complement the work of medico-legal advisers by supporting and representing members at meetings. The MLA continues to maintain overall conduct of the case, and the CCA reports the outcome of the meetings to the MLA.

All CCAs are senior clinicians who have a wealth of experience in supporting and representing members. Having this facility means that representation can usually be arranged around the country, ensuring that you can rely on experienced MDU support when you need it most.

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This page was correct at publication on . Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.