Connect Health Limited has once again achieved ISO 9001 certification – being praised in the audit report for its cross-organisation commitment to continuous improvement and best practice.
This is the second ISO 9001 recertification for the company. It secured original certification in 2017 and has undertaken annual surveillance audits ever since.
The community healthcare provider, which serves over 375,000 NHS patients across 29 NHS ICBs (Integrated Care Boards), was audited in June this year for the internationally-recognised standard, in a five-day assessment process.
The audit included visits to Connect Health’s head office in Newcastle covering core aspects of ISO 9001, including interviews with senior management followed by visits to two NHS services. The audit also included interviews with employees conducted remotely via Microsoft Teams.
Among the notable positive findings from the audit were:
• There is a culture of continuous improvement. A Quality Improvement Showcase was held during the audit, which involved clinical colleagues putting forward their ideas to improve clinical quality. The audit found this to be an “innovative and collaborative” process.
• There are “high levels of learning” among personnel seen during the assessment. The audit found that “good evidence of completion of mandatory training was demonstrated.” A new programme of mandatory training was rolled out in June 2022 – with the aim of all mandatory modules being completed by June this year. The audit also noted a “focus on management and leadership training” and highlighted the strategic planning workshops at a recent leadership conference.
• Information on policies and procedures is delivered in a more standardised way and offers “very comprehensive and accurate” information. The audit highlighted how the Policy Management System PolicyStat now contains the Quality Manual, which ensures all policies and procedures are subject to the same levels of review.
• The Target Operating Model (TOM) project, which was discussed during previous assessments, is complete and delivering improvements. The project involved restructuring business areas across the organisation and benefits include the Patient Care Co-ordination (PCC) team working more closely with the operational team; more action-focused meetings; a reduction of patient waiting times; and improvement of contractual performance.
• The quality of responses to complaints has been improved. The audit found that the complaints policy had been reviewed and updated. The Clinical Governance Team held ‘spotlight on governance’ sessions across the organisation in January and February this year and it updates colleagues via newsletters.
• Colleagues get positive feedback and compliments are shared. The audit noted that the way compliments to the service are recorded had been improved. The monthly newsletter shares all compliments received each month by area. Local team meetings sampled during the assessment featured positive feedback being shared with colleagues. May 2023 was a record month for compliments.
• The risk-based approach to auditing the Quality Management System works well. This was introduced last year. The audit report also noted “there is a comprehensive programme of clinical audits which has been expanded on over the past 12 months and good evidence of reauditing where nonconformities were identified was demonstrated.”
Christy Mallen, Head of Corporate Governance and Quality at Connect Health Limited, said:
We’re delighted to have once again maintained our certification. It’s truly heartening to see over 15 areas of good practice identified. This achievement is testament to the hard work and effort of all our colleagues across the business.
Huge thanks to everyone who took part or contributed to the success, reinforcing Connect Health Limited’s dedication and commitment to continuous improvement.
ISO 9001 is an internationally recognised standard, that requires a business to monitor, measure and improve performance and service delivery, with set criteria for documentation, evaluation, and implementation of services.
In addition to ISO 9001, Connect Health Limited also has ISO 27001 Information Security and Information Standards and Cyber Essentials accreditations.