We’ve retained our JAG (Joint Advisory Group on GI Endoscopy) accreditation, with the assessors judging our Endoscopy service to be one of the top three in England.
It’s been quite a journey for our team, who faced a large waiting list when the Clinical Diagnostic Unit (CDU) at Queen’s Hospital had a fire in 2018 which put it out of service for a year. Then, just after they reopened the unit and began to recover our service, the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Sas Banerjee, our Endoscopy and Joint Gastroenterology Lead, who is also the Endoscopy Clinical Director for NHS London, said: “This is an incredible morale boost for the team who have all worked so hard for it.
“It shows our patients we will keep them safe while providing the best possible care, recognises we have no waiting list, and captures the journey we’ve been on. Feedback from the assessors was amazing. They said that in 20 years they had not seen a service functioning as well as ours. One of them said they envied what we have and another commented that he would happily work for us if he lived closer! This is a ringing endorsement of our teamwork.”
While JAG accreditation is renewed annually through data submission, full assessments, including site visits, are carried out every five years. Even when services are reaccredited, this rarely happens straight away, usually further improvements need to be made first. Assessors felt our service well-deserved a straight pass to reaccreditation.
They visited both our CDU at Queen’s Hospital and Juniper Endoscopy Unit at King George Hospital between Thursday 9 and Friday 10 June. They look at all parts of our patients’ journey from referral to discharge and, as well as speaking to staff, interviewed patients who had been treated recently.
Following the fire in 2018, we sought support from the independent sector to continue to provide a service to our patients. Then, despite the challenges of the pandemic, our team carried out innovative events to reduce our waiting lists.
This included a ‘Gut Feeling’ week which reduced the endoscopy backlog across the whole of north east London and our Gastronaught project, bringing together clinical and admin teams to review patients awaiting an appointment – 51 per cent were redirected or discharged while the rest were seen.
Read more about how we’re reducing our waiting lists.
To improve care for our patients, we also became a regional training centre and introduced new technology such as Cytosponge, where patients swallow a capsule attached to a thread, the capsule then dissolves and a small piece of sponge is released and removed by slowly pulling the thread, capturing cells for testing.