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London QA staff engage with AAA screening providers at regional workshop

The national and regional Screening Quality Assurance Service (SQAS) works with screening providers to make sure quality standards are met and to support the management of incidents in a timely manner.

Our purpose as a service also includes:

  • encouraging service improvement through audit of the screening pathway
  • advising where improvements can be made
  • sharing information resources and best practice
  • providing expert advice and raising issues of quality with commissioners and providers of services

We are passionate about what we do in SQAS London.

Back in November 2015 we hosted our first AAA London stakeholder event. Using feedback from the event, we worked with screening providers, commissioners (NHS England) and the national NHS AAA Screening Programme team to identify important improvements that would benefit the screening services.

This resulted in a plan to increase engagement with clinical skills trainers (CSTs) in the capital. CSTs are senior sonographers or vascular scientists who provide training, support and advice to the AAA screening technicians and monitor the quality of images.  In order to identify the needs of these professionals and any challenges in their role, we sought the views of London CSTs via a survey.

Their answers indicated the need for us to offer additional support to CSTs. As a result, we organised a targeted workshop. Programme coordinators and CSTs attended the morning session and the afternoon session included screening technicians and commissioners.

Workshop overview

The workshop aimed to:

  • provide more clarity on CST roles and responsibilities
  • strengthen the QA image review process
  • contribute to the competency and training agenda for screening technicians
  • maintain and strengthen the accreditation and reaccreditation process for CSTs
  • give London AAA screening staff engagement and networking opportunities

Session outcomes

The morning session focused on roles, responsibilities and training requirements for the CSTs. We identified the need to:

  • create a regional induction pack for CST and ultrasound lead roles to complement job plans
  • consider the frequency and consistency of delivering screening technician feedback after image QA (use of national template)

The afternoon session focused on shared learning and included a presentation on audit activity led by SQAS London.

We identified the need to review CSTs’ contribution to the ongoing development of screening technicians. In particular, there is a need to identify trends in image quality for more meaningful feedback to individual technicians.

There is also a need to consider training for CSTs and ultrasound leads on the functionality of the AAA Screening Management and Referrals Tracking (SMaRT) IT solution.

Overall feedback highlighted the added value of holding such an event where various professional disciplines across AAA screening can meet and share ideas.

Comments from attendees included the following:

It was a good session. Sharing the thoughts and different opinions was excellent. Need more meetings like this definitely – screening technician

Very useful. In future, should invite someone from the IT provider or other guest speakers for expert opinion, including perhaps a clinical lead – clinical skills trainer

The SQAS London team found the workshops particularly rewarding as we got to meet London AAA screening staff face-to-face.  We are grateful for the input from SQAS (South) senior quality assurance advisor Karen Bentley-Hollins and local CSTs, in particular Ved Ramnani of North Central London, for their responsiveness and enthusiasm before, during and after the event.


Modupe Ominojo – Roles and responsibilities

Ved Ramnani – CST training

Beverley Annan – CST survey outcome

Paola Beresh – QA review timescales audit

Modupe Omonijo – Next steps

Ved Ramnani – Competency and development

Karen Bentley-Hollins – Smart presentation

James Couzens – QA visit process

Paola Beresh – QA visit process (action plans)

Deepak Rikhi – Root Cause Analysis NHS England

Paola Beresh – Learning from incidents

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