Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Guidelines for the National Quality Assurance Programme in Radiology Launched

24 September 2010

Patient-Centred Quality Assurance Framework with Radiology Departments which Routinely Reviews Performance and Drives Improvement in Key Quality Areas

The Faculty of Radiologists, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is developing a National Quality Assurance Programme in Radiology in collaboration with the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI). This initiative aims to drive the development of high quality health services and enhance patient care. Mr Tony O’Brien, Deputy Director, NCCP, and Dr Risteárd Ó Laoide, Dean of the Faculty of Radiologists, RCSI launched the guidelines for the National Quality Assurance Programme in Radiology on Friday, 24 September, 2010.

Picture from (l-r) are Mr. Leo Kearns, CEO  RCPI; Dr Risteárd Ó Laoide, Dean of the Faculty of Radiologists, RCSI; Mr Tony O’Brien, Deputy Director of the National Cancer Control Programme.

The vision of this programme is the development of a patient-centred Quality Assurance (QA) framework within each radiology department. This will include routine reviews of performance in key quality areas using appropriately benchmarked targets. The programme will thus help assure the provision of accurate, timely and complete radiology reports in all departments nationally, with a resultant benefit for patient care. The QA programme is intended to assure Irish patients that they are treated by radiologists practicing to the highest international standards. Implementation of the programme, which has been underway since January 2010, will focus on the following activities:

• production of quality assurance guidelines by the Faculty of Radiologists, RCSI;
• development of a supporting IT infrastructure by the HSE;
• implementation of the guidelines by each radiology department; and
• creation of national benchmarks

The Faculty has now developed the guidelines for the implementation of this programme in radiology departments. It is envisaged that these guidelines will support the establishment of a QA framework within each participating radiology department.  The Faculty intend to implement these guidelines on a phased basis in collaboration with participating radiologists and radiology departments.

Commenting on the programme Mr Tony O’Brien, Deputy Director of the NCCP, congratulated the Faculty of Radiologists for the initiative it has taken.   “The involvement of the NCCP in this initiative illustrates the close working relationship between the programme and the professional bodies.  Such relationships are key to improving standards and ensuring such high standards are in place across all our hospitals and cancer centres. This particular initiative will enhance radiology services nationally and embed quality standards. This can only contribute to increasing patient and public confidence. It is also to be welcomed that our radiology departments will be benchmarked against national and international standards.”

Speaking about the programme, Dr Risteárd Ó Laoide, Dean of the Faculty of Radiologists, RCSI, commented: “The highly professional work of radiologists in Ireland should be recognised and commended; however we should all be cognisant that we can never eliminate error completely. It is essential that systems are in place to ensure error is kept to an absolute minimum and that standards of quality are continually monitored, maintained and improved. The Faculty is therefore strongly committed to leading this important initiative which will help ensure the delivery of high quality patient care.”