Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation (ACSA)


Congratulations to Royal Manchester Chilren's Hospital and Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust who are the most recent departments to gain ACSA!What is ACSA?

Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation is a voluntary scheme for NHS and independent sector organisations that offers quality improvement through peer review and is the RCoA's flagship scheme. 

Engagement with the scheme entails a period of detailed self-assessment against the ACSA standards and gap analysis. Assistance and support in improving those areas is then offered. This includes access to the good practice library; a collection of good practice documents and guidance gathered from organisations that are engaged with the scheme. When the organisation achieves 100% compliance with the ACSA standards and this has been confirmed during an onsite review, they become accredited.

Why become accredited?

Organisations that engage with ACSA will benefit from:

  • A structured and supportive process for improving services.
  • An expert advisory on-site review, followed by a report that provides targeted advice.
  • Benchmarking against standards and anonymised local, regional and national performance.
  • The engagement of staff in service improvement.

Accredited departments will:

  • Be entitled to use a quality mark to denote their commitment to quality and patient care.
  • Be awarded a plaque to display in the department.
  • Be more attractive to potential employees and trainees.

Who recognises ACSA accreditation?

"The CQC welcomes the continued development and spread of the ACSA scheme. Participation in the scheme provides valuable assurance about anaesthetic services and we regard it as important evidence about the safety, effectiveness and responsiveness of services." Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) has developed, in association with the cross‐college clinical services accreditation stakeholder’s advisory group, a set of criteria to help CQC determine schemes that can provide robust and reliable information for consideration ahead of and during inspections. The CQC will work with ACSA to ascertain how best to incorporate information from the scheme. Schemes will require written agreement with the participating services to permit that the results of assessments can be shared with the CQC. In the interim, any publicly available information (for example accreditation status) will be taken into account in the CQC inspection methodology, for inspections from 2015/2016 Q1 onwards.

"Healthcare Improvement Scotland recognises the value of professional accreditation. Their quality of care approach recognises ACSA standards and will take ACSA accreditation into consideration as part of the package of information about an organisation that informs review and inspection activity." Healthcare Improvement Scotland

"Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW) recognises ACSA standards and takes account of the ACSA accreditation status of services as part of its surgical inspection methodology introduced in 2017." Healthcare Inspectorate Wales

Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, CQC has stated: ‘I strongly support the work on accreditation being undertaken by the Royal College of Anaesthetists. The ACSA accreditation programme should in due course be a very useful source of information on the quality of anaesthetic service for the Care Quality Commission.’

Dr Mike Durkin, National Director of Patient Safety, NHS England has stated: "This is a very positive step in the continuous movement to improve the safety of anaesthesia. The opportunity to share best practice and learning through the ACSA library is also to be commended and is supportive of Don Berwick’s ambition for the NHS to be a system devoted to continual learning and improvement of patient care."

Edward Baker, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, CQC has stated: "ACSA is a sign of a positive culture."

How much does it cost?

The annual subscription charge is based on the size and complexity of the department; information we obtain from your Department Registration Form. The minimum cost is £2,685 (excluding VAT) per year for a small single-site NHS hospital and the initial term of engagement will be four years.  This fee may increase annually in line with UK inflation rates; however, subscribers will be offered the opportunity to buy a 4 year subscription in advance; fixed at four times the agreed charge for year one and thereby protected from any inflationary increase. Payment of the annual subscription fee is required to maintain your accreditation status.

Independent sector organisations are charged under a different fee structure than NHS hospitals. This reflects both the higher direct costs incurred by the RCoA for carrying out reviews in independent sector organisations and, unlike for NHS organisations, fully reflects the RCoA’s overall costs of running the scheme. If you are an independent sector organisation you will need to complete the Independent Sector Registration Form.

If you have any queries about costs, please contact




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