Causeway Chronicle

NI first UK region to achieve diagnostic imaging accreditation 

Health Minister Mike Nesbitt has praised local health trusts after Northern Ireland became the first region in the UK to have all its diagnostic imaging services accredited.

Diagnostic imaging uses various techniques to look inside the body to diagnose, monitor and treat the causes of an illness or injury.

Describing the accreditation by all five trusts as a “significant achievement”, Health Minister Mike Nesbitt said it had followed years of work by many highly trained consultant radiologists and radiography allied health professionals dedicated to providing these essential services for the local population.

The Minister added: “Implementing the Quality Standard for Imaging (QSI) is an intensive and service-wide improvement and has taken many years of dedicated work to reach the stage of readiness to apply to become accredited. 

“Accreditation against a recognised imaging standard such as the QSI is an important quality indicator, both for imaging departments and clinical services and is an important driver for ensuring standardisation in practice across Northern Ireland against regulations and best clinical practice.  

“Implementing the standard with independent assessment by UKAS and award of accreditation to all our imaging services has provided the confidence that our services are safe, effective and continually improving. ” 

Around 1.8million examinations are provided each year by imaging services in NI and are required by almost every patient who needs to attend hospital. Imaging includes a wide range of highly technical technologies such as x-ray, ultrasound, CT scans, MRI scans and interventional radiology, also known as image guided surgery.

Neil Guckian, Chief Executive of the Western Trust, the first trust in Northern Ireland to attain accreditation, said: “It is essential for patients and clinicians to have access to high quality medical images that are critical for the care and treatment of patients.

“As QSI is a continuous improvement programme, services are re-assessed each year and must demonstrate that they continue to meet the standard in order to maintain their award.”

The Health Minister concluded: “I am acutely aware that services remain under significant pressure and that not all patients are being seen in the timeframe they, or I would like. I want to pay tribute to staff who continue to work hard to maintain high standards of care and assure both staff and patients that I am committed to doing all within my power to secure the funding that our health service needs.”  

The accreditation by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) will help the Health and Social Care Trusts ensure their patients consistently receive high quality services, delivered by competent staff working in safe environments.

The Western Trust was awarded the accreditation in July 2020 and is the first trust to successfully achieve reaccreditation, following a two day inspection across all WHSCT sites in March 2024. Southern, Belfast and Northern Trusts were accredited in 2022, with South Eastern Trust receiving it in March this year.

Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle