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The Quality Review Scheme is a quality improvement process aimed at raising standards across rheumatology services throughout the UK, ultimately improving patient service and experience.

The Scheme will assess the performance of rheumatology services using our standards linked to nationally recognised guidelines such as NICE guidelines and the Care Quality Commission’s Key Lines of Enquiry (KLoE). The intention is to review the whole service.

The Scheme will operate throughout the UK and will be open to our members and non-members alike.


Why should my unit get involved?

The Quality Review Scheme is a summative exercise that will deliver an ‘on the day’ measure of quality assurance; this means rheumatology services will be formally assessed against a set of standards. It is designed to:

  • encourage continuous quality improvement in processes and patient outcomes

  • reduce risk and increase patient confidence in services

  • improve the management and efficiency of services

  • accelerate adoption of innovation and transformation

  • improve workforce development and education

  • provide an opportunity to attract funding as the profile of rheumatology services increases with Trusts and Health Boards

  • provide evidence for regulator

We are working with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to become an accredited inspection body enabling us to visit rheumatology units and formally recognise the quality of services being delivered.

The CQC recognises the potential value of accredited inspection and peer-review schemes as information sources to support its inspections.

When a unit meets the standards detailed in our Quality Review Scheme, they will receive a Quality Review certificate containing the UKAS and a quality mark that can be used on their own digital and print literature.

If a unit does not meet all the standards, a narrative report will be compiled highlighting areas for improvement. Once these improvements have been made within defined timescales, the unit will receive their Quality Review certificate.

How will it work?

Services will be asked to complete a detailed form and submit a number of supporting pieces of documentation as evidence, such as data from the national early inflammatory arthritis audit.

Our assessors will visit the service, talk to members of the team and patients and review how the unit operates.

Will my unit be charged?

We anticipate a charge (TBC) per visit to contribute towards the costs of coordinating the assessment visits and delivering the assessment reports.

There may be scope to make this fee proportionate to unit size, or unit income.

Do we have to participate?

No. The Scheme is voluntary.

How is this different from Peer Review or GIRFT?

Peer review is a formative exercise which identifies areas that are working well and areas that could be improved. It will continue to be a great way to prepare for the more formal, summative Quality Review Scheme.

GIRFT is an England-only initiative driven by NHS Improvement. It is looking at specific areas of service delivery with a view to reduce unwarranted variations. It is also a way of preparing for the Quality Review Scheme.

What are the timelines for introducing the Quality Review Scheme?

We plan to pilot the scheme later in 2019 and formally launch at our Annual Conference in 2020.

How can I get involved?

We are very keen to pilot across different settings and across the four nations of the United Kingdom.

We also need to recruit doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and patients to become assessors for the Scheme. Full training will be provided and we are looking at options for how best to support your absence from work.

We will look to make the assessment visits CPD-linked so that participants are able to use this for their own portfolios.

This is a great opportunity for recently appointed consultants, senior trainees and recently retired consultants, nurses and allied health professionals.

Contact us for more information: qrs@rheumatology.org.uk