Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the assessment pathway has been modified to:
- Ensure the safety of patients, staff and assessors
- Recognise that some hospitals are restricting non-essential visitors to hospitals
- Reduce the burden on services, many of whom have been significantly affected by COVID-19
This article contains a summary of the changes and is aimed at endoscopy services who would like to book an assessment. We will continually update this where necessary to maintain the quality of assessments and to keep in line with government advice.
A standard assessment team will be organised including a clinical, nurse, management (for acute services) and lay assessor. The lay assessor and one other assessor will not attend your site assessment and will undertake the assessment and interviews remotely.
Your lead assessor will notify you 6 weeks before the site assessment to clarify who will not be in attendance.
Assessors will wear PPE in line with government and hospital guidelines, but won't be tested for COVID-19. Assessors will self-screen before arriving at the service and will check their temperature. They will follow any hospital infection control guidelines and will discuss this with you in advance of the site assessment.
Remote review of evidence
As per our usual process, your evidence will be reviewed remotely by your assessment team in advance of the site assessment. However tolerances will be applied to certain areas where services have been unable to maintain standards due to the impact of COVID-19. These include:
- Waiting times - tolerance will be given where waiting times were compliant pre-COVID-19, and there is a recovery plan (up to 12 months)
- Clinical audit - tolerance will be given where there is an alternative approach to EUG presentation and sign-off, and where every effort has been made to continue with safety KPIs. No tolerance will be given where there are low numbers not impacted by COVID-19 or where quality or safety has been compromised.
- Environment and decontamination - the IHEEM and IPS audit tools must be completed. However, tolerance will be given where the environment has been modified and privacy and dignity has been maintained (this includes maintaining gender segregation in England).
- Training (workforce) - tolerance will be given where COVID-19 has impacted access to training
- Training (endoscopist training) - many services are operating all lists as training lists as capacity is limited. The assessors will be flexible towards different approaches to this.
The lay assessor would normally interview patients having their procedure on the day of the site assessment. This will now take place via teleconference during or a few days before the site assessment (this can be flexible based on patients’ availability).
Services will be asked to select five patients who have had a range of different procedures eg colonoscopy, flexi-sigmoidoscopy, OGD within the past 3 months.
Your administrator will provide you with a patient information sheet that details the role of JAG and why we would like their feedback. Services should send this to patients when inviting them to be interviewed. Your administrator will then organise the interview.
Your administrator will give you further information on this when you book your assessment.
The technical assessor who does not attend your assessment will interview the relevant staff remotely before or during the site assessment. Your administrator will organise a time for these interviews to take place with both the service and assessor.