The international market for UK based accreditation agency CHKS continues to expand in some interesting directions. Having established a strong foothold in Europe over the past fifteen years, mostly in Portugal, Ireland and Denmark, it has worked as far afield as India and South Africa.
The international market for UK based accreditation agency CHKS continues to expand in some interesting directions. Having established a strong foothold in Europe over the past fifteen years, mostly in Portugal, Ireland and Denmark, it has worked as far afield as India and South Africa. Initially driven by statutory requirements for accreditation and independent certification, increasingly the reason is a need for hospitals and clinics to have something to enable potential medical tourists to choose on quality, rather than price alone.
CHKS has seen a surge of interest from Southern Europe, particularly from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Places with large numbers of British expatriates are seeking external recognition from organizations that the expat community will trust as independent. In Cyprus, it is working with the Cyprus Certification Company on certifying local hospitals. Having previously worked in Serbia to establish quality improvement and licensing, it is now part of a consortium introducing local accreditation systems to healthcare organizations, with validation and licensing of healthcare professionals.
In Egypt, CHKS is developing healthcare services in Cairo that include acute hospitals, diagnostic centres and nursing homes- all at the commissioning phase. Once the facilities are built, CHKS will work with them on international accreditation. Meanwhile, in Egypt, discussions continue on the practicalities of rolling out accreditation to some local private clinics.
The CHKS healthcare accreditation and quality unit (HAQU), incorporates the Health Quality Services (HQS), the longest established healthcare accreditation service in Europe, established as the King’s Fund organisational audit in 1989.CHKS is a corporate member of the International Society for Quality in healthcare (ISQua).
The CHKS international accreditation programme has been designed to be adaptable to the local cultural, legislative and professional framework of the host country. It incorporates relevant features of quality programmes from other countries, as well as those from other sectors. The programme standards cover all aspects of healthcare provision, together with an organisational development and assessment process and accreditation award, with certification to ISO9001: 2000 if also required.
Earlier this year CHKS launched Accreditation Online, for the ISO certification rather than the fuller international accreditation, and undertook the first paperless survey at the UK’s London Bridge Hospital. As the system worked it has been now offered to both UK and international customers .The first international launch was for the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre in Nicosia, Cyprus. Accreditation Online is now used by two hospitals in Cyprus, six in Ireland, and four in Portugal. The international standards manual is now available in Greek and Portuguese.
Recent international HAQU accreditations include two more hospitals in Ireland; Shanakiel Hospital and St Francis Private Hospital. CHKS has now awarded international accreditation to 7 hospitals in Ireland. The HAQU Accreditation Programme focuses on patient safety, patient experience, clinical governance, leadership and staff experience. Brian Wright of Shanakiel Hospital explains why it chose CHKS, “ As CHKS works in the UK and across Europe, the standards are the best choice for Irish healthcare, especially where the standards reference compliance with EU directives or laws. We looked at other accreditation systems and decided that CHKS standards are easy to understand and the best for us.”