Occupational health to have voluntary accreditation

The profession’s new voluntary accreditation scheme for OH providers will be formally launched on 1 December at the Faculty of Occupational Medicine’s winter conference in London.

The scheme is expected to be able to accredit between 60 and 80 services a year in potentially a two-part process. There will be an online compilation of evidence followed by (if need be) a physical inspection.

The cost of accreditation will be based on five “bands”, ranging from around £750 a year for a single-handed practice up to about £3,500 a year for a large OH service with 30 different facilities or more.

Dr Paul Nicholson, project lead at the faculty and chairman of the British Medical Association’s Occupational Medicine Committee, said: “It is about continual improvement and helping people to pass, rather than failing people.”

The launch of the scheme is the next stage on from the faculty’s OH standards published a year ago. They were designed to give providers a way to measure clearly and evaluate what they were doing and the services they were providing, as well as to allow others to judge the quality of their offer.

The accreditation scheme’s website will be www.seqohs.org.uk and includes job specifications for OH nurses and doctors who want to apply to become assessors and accreditors.

Ahead of the formal launch, the scheme is being piloted by six sites for NHS Plus, which is also initially funding the scheme.

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