Quality Assurance Background
Quality Assurance is one of the Academy’s six Strategic Objectives and has been since the Academy’s establishment in 2012. The objective is:
‘To provide wider support and assurance for the education and training processes and standards across Healthcare Science’
There is a clear line of internal accountability to the Academy Board and clear lines of external accountability to the HCPC, the statutory regulator for Masters courses – AHCS is an ‘HCPC-approved Education Provider’ – and the Academy’s own independent Regulation Council.
AHCS is also accountable at practitioner and higher specialist scientist levels to the Professional Standards Authority, the regulator of the Academy’s accredited register at these levels.
Education, Training, Standards and Quality Assurance
2014 saw the establishment of the Academy’s Education, Training and Professional Standards Committee; the publishing of the Academy’s Quality Assurance Framework; and the introduction of new quality monitoring arrangements to ensure that standards are maintained. From the outset, the system has worked well, with excellent engagement from key stakeholders, including lay representatives and the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS).
We continue to work collaboratively to achieve quality improvements across the HCS system for the benefit of patients and the public. In 2016, a new version of the QA Framework was developed and agreed. This has since been mapped against the HEE QA Framework and found to be fully consistent with it, indeed in some areas it is more rigorous than the HEE Framework in order to satisfy the requirements of the regulators.
In December 2016, the Professional Standards Authority re-accredited the Academy’s Practitioner register and accredited the new Higher Specialist Scientist register. The infrastructure and rigour required to maintain the register are subject to close scrutiny; the Academy was pleased to have its approach and implementation fully endorsed in this way. At Masters’ level, HCPC requires a formal annual report on the Scientist Training Programme. In March 2017, HCPC endorsed the visitor panel’s recommendations for full, unconditional renewal.