Reaccreditation close for radiology service

The SDHB's radiology service is set to return. PHOTO: ODT FILES.
The SDHB's radiology service is set to return. PHOTO: ODT FILES.
The Southern District Health Board is poised to have its radiology service reaccredited after a successful audit.

Recently, staff from International Accreditation New Zealand - a Crown entity which audits laboratories and inspection bodies and certifies their competence - visited Dunedin Hospital's radiology department to inspect a service which a year ago it did not accredit.

On Wednesday, SDHB specialist services executive director Patrick Ng told an SDHB commissioners meeting the visit had gone well, and the review team had recommended the service be accredited.

"The review team were very positive about the changes that have been made to enable the radiology service to function in a sustainable manner, including the permanent CT evening shift, the investment in new software and the investment in facilities," Mr Ng said.

IANZ had previously been disparaging about the department, taking issue with the quality of the department's facilities, which were leaky and had asbestos problems.

Other issues for IANZ included long waiting lists for scans, particularly MRIs, and the imminent expiry of the software licence for the department's information system.

Building work meant the department's facilities were now watertight and accessible without risk of harm, and an approved business case was in place for new computer software, Mr Ng said.

The SDHB still had to sign off on three "minor items" by August 29 for the audit team to recommend to the IANZ board that the service regain accreditation, Mr Ng said.

Those were: the new software; a quality assurance programme in ultrasound displays (in place); and meeting a requirement for monitors at CT and MRI workstations be routinely checked and calibrated.

"In some cases our fleet is too old

... We will advise on the status of our current monitor fleet, initiate a work programme to check calibration regularly, and as we replace equipment ensure that it meets the new standard.

"It should be noted that the machines the radiologists view the images on for their clinical assessment all do meet the standard."

Losing accreditation should have meant the SDHB not receive payment for ACC work done by the service, but ACC did not enforce that.

It was a point of pride for staff to regain accreditation, Mr Ng said.

"They all feel a deep sense of satisfaction that IANZ will reaccredit the service."

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