The Commission is responsible under the National Health Reform Act 2011 for the formulation of standards relating to health care safety and quality matters and for formulating and coordinating the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation (AHSSQA) Scheme (the Scheme).
The Scheme provides for the national coordination of accreditation processes. The Commission has undertaken a comprehensive review of assessment processes and the performance of accrediting agencies. As a result, the Commission developed six strategies to improve the AHSSQA Scheme’s reliability to more accurately assess an organisation’s compliance with the NSQHS Standards. These strategies are supported by states and territories as well as the private and public sectors.
The Review of the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation Scheme: Improving the reliability of health service organisation accreditation processes details the changes to the Scheme, which will be implemented in January 2019.
There are also a series of fact sheets (below) which outline the changes to accreditation processes for health service organisations.
Fact Sheet 1: Standardised accreditation cycles
Updated October 2018
From January 2019, health service organisations will move to a three-year assessment cycle, with no further mid-cycle assessments.
Health service organisations will be assessed once every three years, unless they meet the criteria for a repeat assessment (see Fact Sheet 3 – Repeat assessments of health service organisations).
For health service organisations currently on a four-year cycle, there will be a staged process to allow organisations and accrediting agencies to manage the transition.
Health service organisations currently on a three year cycle will continue with their scheduled cycle. Any mid cycle assessments scheduled after 1 January 2019 will not occur.
An accreditation award for the second edition of the NSQHS Standards can be issued for up to three years. Exceptions to this requirement will only be considered on a case by case basis by the Commission.
Health service organisations will be required to complete their assessments before their current accreditation award expires. This means that organisations will need to schedule assessments at least four months before their accreditation award expires to allow three months (60 business days) for remediation of not met actions at initial assessment, and one month (generally 20 business days) for the accrediting agency to complete their final report.
Organisations should review this information before confirming future assessment dates with their accrediting agency.
Further transition arrangements for health service organisations scheduled to undertake their next assessment in 2019 are outlined in Fact Sheet 2 – Transition arrangements for assessments in 2019.
Download the PDF to view the attached tables and figures that provide guidance for health service organisations to determine when their next assessment should be.
Fact Sheet 2: Transition arrangements for assessments in 2019
Updated October 2018
Transition arrangements will be in place to support health service organisations undertaking assessment to the second edition of the NSQHS Standards in 2019.
Provision has been made for health service organisations to apply for assessment to the second edition of the NSQHS Standards from October 2018.
Health service organisations will be required to schedule their assessment at least 80 business days before their accreditation expires. This will allow 60 business days for the remediation period and generally 20 business days for the accrediting agency to finalise the assessment report. More information on this is available in Fact Sheet 1 – Standardised accreditation cycles.
The Commission recognises that these changes may impact on health service organisations scheduled for assessment in 2019.
These transition arrangements recognise that these health service organisations have had less time to implement the second edition of the NSQHS Standards and plan for the changes to the accreditation arrangements.
Transition arrangements will cease on 31 December 2019.
Extended remediation period
In 2019 the remediation period (that is the period between initial and final assessment) can be extended up to 80 business days for health service organisations with not met actions at their initial assessment.
After 31 December 2019 the remediation period will be 60 business days.
Extended accreditation period
From January 2019, health service organisations will be required to complete their assessments before their current accreditation award expires. With the extension of the remediation period in 2019, this could require some health service organisations to bring their assessment forward as much as 100 business days (or five months) which may not be feasible.
Health service organisations that need to move their assessment date forward to complete their assessment before their accreditation award expires will be given up to 80 additional business days to their accreditation period.
These arrangements only apply to health service organisations with assessments scheduled in 2019.
Health service organisations should retain their current scheduled assessment date if the assessment process can be completed before the current accreditation award expires.
Organisations with an accreditation award expiring in January 2020 or later will need to schedule their assessment to allow sufficient time for the assessment process to be completed. If their assessment date is scheduled in 2019, these organisations may have up to 80 business days for their remediation period, if required.
A hospital has their assessment scheduled in June 2019, with an accreditation award expiring on 30 June 2019. Under the new requirements they would usually be required to commence their assessment no later than March 2019, at least 80 business days before their award expires.
With the flexible transition arrangements in 2019, the hospital can extend their accreditation period by 80 business days until the end of October 2019. This allows the assessment to be conducted in June 2019 as currently scheduled.
Fact Sheet 3: Repeat assessment of health service organisations
If a health service organisation is found to have a large numbers of not met actions at initial assessment and is subsequently awarded accreditation, they will be required to be reassessed within six months of the assessment cycle being completed.
This reassessment is to ensure the organisation has fully embedded the necessary improvements in their safety and quality systems to maintain compliance with the NSQHS Standards.
From January 2019, health service organisations will move to a three-year assessment cycle. At the end of each assessment cycle, health service organisations may not be assessed again for three years (see Fact Sheet 1 – Standardised accreditation cycles).
An assessment cycle for a health service organisation is conducted over a period of one to four months. The assessment cycle involves an initial assessment, and where actions are not met, a final assessment. The final step is a report on the assessment, notifying the organisation if they have been awarded accreditation.
If an organisation has actions which are not met at their initial assessment, there is a remediation period in which they must demonstrate sufficient change has been implemented for actions to be rated met or met with recommendations at their final assessment, and to be awarded accreditation.
Criteria for reassessment
There are two criteria for determining repeat assessment, reflecting the overall number of not met actions at initial assessment and the significance of any not met actions.
Accrediting agencies will be required to flag with the Commission any health service organisations that meet either criteria for reassessment.
The Commission in collaboration with the health service organisation’s regulator will confirm the need for reassessment and notify both the health service organisation and the accrediting agency.
A repeat assessment will be required if:
- 16 percent of all actions assessed are not met
- Eight or more actions from the Clinical Governance Standard are not met.
For health service organisations on an announced assessment pathway 16 percent will equal approximately 24 not met actions. This will vary depending on the number of not applicable actions. For health service organisations undertaking a short notice assessment, the number will be 16 percent of the standards being assessed.
Accrediting agencies will be required to confirm a reassessment date with the Commission and the health service organisation within 10 business days of being notified a reassessment is required.
Reassessment will involve an onsite assessment at which all not met actions from the initial assessment and all actions rated met with recommendations will be reassessed.
Following completion of the reassessment:
- Where all actions are either met or met with recommendations, then accrediting agencies will submit data to the Commission on the reassessment in their routine monthly data submissions. The organisation’s accreditation award will remain in place and the expiry date will be unchanged.
- Where there are any not met actions, the accrediting agency will be required to notify the relevant regulator and the Commission. There will be no 60 business day remediation period associated with this process. The organisation’s accreditation will be withdrawn. They will be required to work with their regulator to comply with regulatory requirements for unaccredited health service organisations for that state or territory. This will include re-assessment to all eight NSQHS Standards within 12 months.
Fact Sheet 4: Rating scale for assessment
Whenever the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.) are assessed, actions are to be rated using the revised rating scale outlined below.
All requirements of an action are fully met.
Met with recommendations
The requirements of an action are largely met across the health service organisation, with the exception of a minor part of the action in a specific service or location in the organisation, where additional implementation is required.
Met with recommendations may not be awarded at two consecutive assessments where the recommendation is made about the same service or location and the same action. In this case an action should be rated not met.
Met with recommendations may only be awarded at initial assessment if there are no other not met actions.
Part or all of the requirements of the action have not been met.
The action is not relevant in the service context being assessed.
The Commission’s Advisory relating to not applicable actions for the relevant health sector need to be taken into consideration when awarding a not applicable rating and assessors must confirm the action is not relevant in the service context during the assessment visit.
Actions that are not part of the current assessment process and therefore not reviewed.
Process for rating actions met with recommendations
In their reports to the health service organisation and the Commission on assessment outcomes, assessors are to provide a clear and concise explanation of the following for all actions rated met with recommendations:
- The minor part of the action that has not been fully met
- The specific service or location in the service the rating applies to
- Requirements for the action to be fully met.
All actions rated met with recommendations are to be reviewed by assessors at the next assessment. This will include a review of the specific service or location identified when the met with recommendations was reported.
An organisation cannot be awarded met with recommendations for the same action, for the same reason, in the same location for two consecutive assessments. Should this occur, the action is to be rated not met.
All met with recommendations ratings will be reviewed by the Commission to ensure the rating is being applied appropriately and consistently.
Process for rating actions not met
At the summation meeting following an initial assessment, assessors are to specify any actions they have rated not met and provide an explanation for the rating.
A summary report on the initial assessment, including a list of not met actions, is to be provided to the health service organisation within five business days. This report should include a written explanation for all not met ratings.
Not met actions at the initial assessment may be rated met, met with recommendations or not met following the final assessment.
At the summation meeting following the final assessment, assessors are to specify any actions that are rated not met or met with recommendations and provide an explanation for the rating.
Health service organisations with a large number of not met actions may be required to undertake a repeat assessment. Refer to Fact Sheet 3 – Repeat assessment of health service organisations for more information.
Fact Sheet 5: Recognising exemplar practice in health service organisations
This strategy is intended to facilitate the identification and sharing of information on safe and good-quality practice between organisations managing similar issues.
During consultation on the review of the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation (AHSSQA) Scheme, health service organisations asked that a mechanism be established to recognise exemplar practice.
Process for nominating exemplar practice identified at assessment
Accrediting agencies will be invited to nominate exemplar practice identified during a health service organisation’s assessment to the second edition of the NSQHS Standards.
Accrediting agencies will be required to:
- Notify the health service organisation of the intended submission
- Obtain contact details of the responsible officer for the area of practice being recognised
- Submit the following information to the Commission:
- The name of the health service organisation
- The name of the specific service area where the exemplar practice has been identified
- A concise statement of the exemplar practice
- Contact details for the relevant person(s) in the health service organisation.
The Commission will review submissions and contact the relevant health service organisation to invite them to provide further information. This will not involve site visits by the Commission.
If the submission meets the criteria for exemplar practice, and with the health service organisation’s permission, the Commission will:
- Upload a summary of the initiative on the Commission’s website
- Include appropriate contact details for the exemplar organisation so that other health service organisations may review the information, and if appropriate contact them to discuss the initiative in more detail.
A template will be available to collect this information and describe the criteria for exemplar practice against which submissions will be assessed.
Fact Sheet 6: Short notice assessments
Updated October 2018
From January 2019, health service organisations will have the choice of undertaking either announced or short notice assessments.
Short notice assessments are a separate assessment pathway under the AHSSQA Scheme, with specific rules associated with its introduction and application.
Participation in short notice assessments is voluntary for health service organisations, unless directed by the relevant regulator.
The short notice assessment process requires health service organisations to fully comply with the requirements of the NSQHS Standards and have in place processes to demonstrate compliance at any time. Organisations contemplating short notice assessments should ensure their safety and quality systems are well embedded, and routine processes are in place to monitor safety and quality performance against the NSQHS Standards and conduct regular self-assessments and gap analysis.
The process for the short notice assessment pathway is outlined below, including transition arrangements for 2019.
1. Process for the short notice assessment pathway
All eight NSQHS Standards must be assessed during the three year accreditation cycle. Each assessment will involve the review of three to four NSQHS Standards. Up to four NSQHS Standards may be assessed more than once over the accreditation cycle. This will ensure that health service organisations are not able to determine which of the NSHQS Standards will be assessed at any one visit.
The regulator, the Commission, and accrediting agencies are considering mechanisms to determine which standards are to be assessed. The Commission will provided updated advice once this process has been finalised.
Health service organisations will have three assessments in each accreditation cycle with no more than two assessments in any one year. At each assessment there is an initial assessment; if actions are not met, a final assessment after a 60 business day remediation period; and a report on the assessment within 20 business days.
Download the PDF fact sheet below to view a table setting out the assessment required.
The health service organisation will be recognised as accredited whilever they continue to satisfactorily meet the requirements of the short notice assessment pathway. This includes participation in all assessment events and keeping documentation such as self-assessment current.
The process for short notice assessments also includes the following:
- Health service organisations will be given at least 48 hours notice of an assessment commencing and which standards will be assessed
- All actions in the three or four NSQHS Standards selected will be assessed at the initial assessment, with the exception of actions that have been awarded not applicable status by the accrediting agency
- At each assessment, the assessor will review any actions that were rated not met at the previous initial assessment or met with recommendations at the previous final assessment
- There will be a remediation period of 60 business days for any not met actions, or as per the transition arrangements in place for 2019 (see Fact Sheet 2 - Transition arrangements)
- Health service organisations will be given 20 business days from the conclusion of the initial assessment to provide any additional information unavailable at assessment. For not met actions, these 20 business days are included in, not additional to, the 60 business days allowed for remediation
- Health service organisations may nominate up to 20 business days per year when assessments are not to be conducted
- To reduce the risk of conflict of interest, accrediting agencies will prepare a list of all assessors that could participate in assessments, to be reviewed by the health service organisation prior to commencing assessments.
- Potential conflicts of interest should be noted by accrediting agencies and avoided when convening assessment teams
- Health service organisations are to make any applications for not applicable actions at the time of enrolling in the short notice assessment pathway with an accrediting agency
- Health service organisations undergoing interim accreditation are not permitted to participate in the short notice assessment pathway until they have completed the interim accreditation process
- Assessors are to use the PICMoRS structured assessment process
- Annual attestation statements are to be signed by the governing body (see Fact Sheet 7 - Governing body attestation statement).
2. Applying to be assessed using the short notice assessment pathway
Health service organisations wishing to be assessed through the short notice assessment pathway will be required to apply to their accrediting agency.
As part of their approvals process to assess to the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.), accrediting agencies are required to have processes in place to conduct short notice assessments, including assessor training.
Health service organisations must have current accreditation status to be eligible for the short notice assessment pathway. The first assessment must be conducted before the current accreditation award expires.
During 2019, health service organisations wishing to commence short notice assessments should seek approval from their regulator. Approval to proceed will be on a case by case basis.
3. Transferring between the announced and short notice assessment pathways
Transferring from ‘announced’ to ‘short notice’ assessment pathway
Health service organisations transferring to short notice assessments may do so at any point during their accreditation cycle, but no later than six months before their current accreditation expires. The first short notice assessment should occur before the current accreditation to the NSQHS Standards (first or second edition) expires.
The three year short notice accreditation cycle begins from the date for commencement specified in contracts between the health service organisation and an approved accrediting agency.
Transferring from ‘Short notice’ to ‘announced’ assessment pathway
Health service organisations can transfer to an announced pathway, with requirements determined based on their progress in the short notice assessment pathway as follows:
- Three required short notice assessments complete - the next assessment visit will be announced and all eight NSQHS Standards will be assessed. This assessment must occur before their current accreditation award expires. The accreditation cycle commences from the date accreditation is awarded.
- Two required short notice assessments completed and all eight NSQHS Standards assessed - the next assessment visit will be announced and all eight NSQHS Standards will be assessed. This assessment must occur before their current accreditation award expires.
- One or two required short notice assessments completed but all NSQHS Standards have not been assessed – the health service organisation must commence its assessment to all eight NSQHS Standards within three months.
4. Roles and responsibilities
To ensure the short notice assessment pathway operates effectively and efficiently, the roles and responsibilities for each of the groups involved are outlined below:
- Establish the processes and procedures for conducting short notice assessments
- Schedule short notice assessments
- Train their assessors to undertake short notice assessments
- Work with the Commission to determine which NSQHS Standards will be assessed at each short notice assessment
- Comply with the conditions of approval relating to short notice assessments.
- Assess day to day practice, largely in clinical areas
- Use PICMoRS as the structured approach to assessment.
- Work with the Commission to determine which NSQHS Standards will be assessed at each short notice assessment
- Encourage and support health service organisations being assessed via the short notice assessment pathway.
Health service organisations
- Implement the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.) and the systems and processes to monitor and review ongoing compliance
- Keep updated self-assessment tools
- Develop schedules and plan for short notice visits by assessors.
- Provide tools and resources to support the implementation of the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.) and the introduction of short notice assessments
- Coordinate the ongoing evaluation of the short notice assessment pathway.
5. Evaluation of the short notice assessment pathway
The introduction of short notice assessments is a significant departure from current accreditation processes, and has not previously been available for health service assessments.
To learn how and where this methodology can be most effective the introduction and application of short notice assessment will be monitored and evaluated. Those undergoing short notice assessments will be invited to participate in these processes.
Fact Sheet 7: Governing body attestation statement
From January 2019, health service organisations will be required to submit an annual attestation statement to their accrediting agency.
Attesting is a formal process. It involves authorised officers from a health service organisation self reporting on past performance. This is in the form of a written affirmation.
It is intended that this process will increase awareness of governing body’s accountability for safety and quality and clinical governance processes under the NSQHS Standards.
The focus of the attestation statement is Actions 1.1 and 1.2 of the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.), which explicitly set out key responsibilities for governing bodies.
Process for submitting attestation statements
Health service organisations are required to:
- Identify their governing body. This is the body or individual(s) with ultimate responsibility and accountability for decision-making about safety and quality
- Nominate a member of the governing body to sign the attestation statement
- Submit an attestation statement to their accrediting agency no later than 30 March each year using the template provided.
Assessment of Actions 1.1 and 1.2
For health service organisations that have submitted an attestation statement, accrediting agencies are still required to review evidence of compliance with Actions 1.1 and 1.2 at assessments before rating these actions.
For health service organisations that have not submitted all of the required attestation statements, or have submitted incomplete statements, accrediting agencies will:
- Rate Actions 1.1 and 1.2 as not met at assessment
- Notify the Commission in April each year of all health service organisations that have not submitted, or have submitted an incomplete attestation statement.
A template attestation statement is available for download here.
Fact Sheet 8: Accrediting agency performance oversight and feedback
The Commission’s processes of oversight and feedback are being expanded and enhanced with the introduction of the second edition of the NSQHS Standards and review of the AHSSQA Scheme.
These processes are designed to promote improvements in performance across all approved accrediting agencies, ensure consistent implementation of revisions to the AHSSQA Scheme, as well as ensuring assessments are rigorous and completed within agreed timeframes.
An accrediting agency has approval to assess health services organisations using the NSQHS Standards subject to conditions that are designed to ensure:
- Accrediting agencies have the systems and processes in place to effectively convene assessments and award accreditation certificates
- Assessors are skilled, experienced and well-trained in conducting assessments
- Data is provided to the Commission and regulators to monitor accreditation outcomes
- Assessment of the NSQHS Standards is consistent across all approved accrediting agencies.
Oversight and feedback processes conducted by the Commission consist of:
1. Post-assessment surveys
Following the completion of an accreditation assessment, the Commission invites each health service organisation to participate in a short online survey about their experience of the assessment process and their accrediting agency.
The survey includes questions about the assessors’ skills and approach to the assessment and the accrediting agencies processes for organising and preparing for the assessment.
This information is used to measure compliance with approval by accrediting agencies and identify any specific issues with individual accrediting agencies.
2. Observation visits
A representative of the Commission attends at least one assessment visit each year for each approved accrediting agency, to observe assessor performance.
The observation visit provides first-hand information about how an assessment is conducted and insights into the skills of assessors. It also provides insights into the rigor of the assessment process.
This information is used to measure compliance with the conditions of approval by accrediting agencies and identify training requirements for assessors.
Observation visits are only conducted with prior agreement from the health service organisation. The observer does not influence the outcome of the assessment process.
3. Analysis of accreditation outcomes data
Accrediting agencies regularly submit accreditation outcomes data to the Commission for each assessment completed. The Commission analyses this information to determine if there are any anomalies or significant variation between accrediting agencies or across sectors.
The Commission has worked with regulators and accrediting agencies to describe the data elements and definitions that will be collected at each assessment against the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.). An electronic portal is being developed for the submission of data, and unique identifiers are being allocated to each health service organisation. These mechanisms are expected to improve the data quality and accuracy.
4. Accrediting agency compliance reports
In addition to providing routine data on each health service organisation assessment, accrediting agencies also submit information to the Commission, including:
- Instances of any significant risks identified during an assessment. A significant risk is one where there is a high probability of a substantial and demonstrable adverse impact for patients. In each case, a significant risk will be sufficiently serious to warrant an immediate response to reduce the risk to patients. This may include interventions or changes to systems, the clinical care service environment, or clinical practice
- Health service organisations changing accrediting agency during an assessment or before an accreditation award is determined
- All actions that are awarded not applicable status at assessment
- Information on health service organisations that are not awarded accreditation
- Information on assessors, such as the number of assessment’s they complete each year, and their participation in training.
This information is used both as a compliance measure for accrediting agencies against the terms and conditions of approval, and to identify health service organisations for which there is a potential for increased risk of harm.
5. Accrediting Agency Working Group
The Commission convenes a working group made up of approved accrediting agencies quarterly to support the ongoing implementation of the AHSSQA Scheme. This provides a forum to share information and address emerging issues as well as collaborate with approved accrediting agencies on strategies for improvement. Accrediting agencies are required to send a representative to these meetings.
6. Analysis of issues raised through the Advice Centre
The Commission operates an Advice Centre using a dedicated telephone line and email address which is available to anyone with queries about the NSQHS Standards and AHSSQA Scheme.
The Commission analyses information and issues from Advice Centre queries to determine trends and actions that may need to be taken. This information has been used to develop Advisories, incorporate into assessor training and inform changes to the AHSSQA Scheme.
7. Receipt of information from regulators
The Commission receives information from regulators (state and territory health departments) about their experience of accrediting agencies conducting assessments for health service organisations that they manage.
The Commission collates information from each of these sources in performance reports prepared annually for each accrediting agency. This information is discussed with agencies to determine how the Scheme and their performance in the Scheme can be improved.
Fact Sheet 9: Managing conflicts of interest in accreditation
The Commission is introducing a range of strategies to reduce potential and real conflicts of interest that are associated with accreditation processes.
Safety and quality consultants not to participate in assessments
Health service organisations may engage safety and quality consultants to help them prepare for assessment to the NSQHS Standards. These consultants sometimes participate in assessments and respond to enquiries from assessors. Often in these situations, the safety and quality consultant is the only representative of the health service organisation able to answer assessors’ questions in detail.
Therefore, from January 2019, safety and quality consultants engaged by a health service organisation to prepare the organisation for an assessment, are not permitted to attend or participate in the assessment process for the NSQHS Standards.
A safety and quality consultant is a person who meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Is not identified on the organisational chart
- Is not an employee
- Has no delegated safety and quality responsibilities or accountabilities within the organisation
- Has no line management responsibilities in the organisation
- Does not provide regular and ongoing technical support for the delivery of patient care.
This strategy is specifically aimed at consultants whose work in an organisation is primarily to achieve accreditation, who do not provide or support direct patient care and who do not have as a primary part of their role the transfer of expert knowledge and/or skill to the organisation’s workforce.
This requirement does not apply to consultants who may be engaged by health service organisations to support clinical care, or provide ongoing technical advice and expertise. Consultants providing or supporting clinical services will have a contract for services that specifies the safety and quality requirements of their role and ensures the services provided align with the NSQHS Standards. These consultants may perform services such as:
- Providing expert technical advice and support for clinical care (for example, in pharmacy or infection control)
- Providing organisational training and knowledge transfer on safety and quality matters
- Supporting safety and quality improvements.
Nor does this requirement apply to operations staff from a corporate office, or employees with designated roles and responsibilities related to the organisation.
Accrediting agencies are required to notify health service organisations of these requirements before commencing an assessment.
Accrediting agencies consulting on safety and quality
A known conflict of interest exists in situations where an accrediting agency or assessor both support a health service organisation to implement standards, and then assess them against those standards.
To reduce the likelihood of this conflict of interest occurring, accrediting agencies are to:
- Have in place processes to ensure assessors who also provide safety and quality consulting services do not review organisations where they have consulted
- Provide the Commission with information on how they manage conflicts of interest occurring when assessors provide consulting services on the NSQHS Standards and assess to the NSQHS Standards.
Accrediting agencies must ensure that there is no conflict of interest, or bias, on the part of the Agency or its assessors in conducting assessments and awarding accreditation. Any conflict of interest must be immediately acknowledged and addressed by the accrediting agency.
When an assessor reviews an organisation over multiple accreditation cycles, they can lose their capacity to be objective. Therefore lead assessors and assessor team members may assess the same organisation for a maximum of two consecutive cycles before they are required to have an absence of at least one cycle.
Accrediting agencies will no longer be able to contract assessors on fixed fee-for-service arrangements. This funding arrangement discourages assessors rating actions as not met if they are responsible for funding the return visit for reassessment of these actions from their contracted fee.
Fact Sheet 10: Assessment in private dental practices and public dental services
This factsheet provides details of transitional arrangements for the second edition of the NSQHS Standards for public dental services and private dental practices.
Public dental services
Under the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation (AHSSQA) Scheme, assessment to the NSQHS Standards is currently mandatory for the majority of public dental services. State and territory health departments have confirmed that these arrangements will remain in place for public dental services following the implementation of the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.).
From 1 January 2019, public dental services for which assessment against the NSQHS Standards is mandatory, will be required to transition to the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.).
Services that are unsure of their accreditation requirements should contact their governing body or state and territory health department. A list of departmental contacts is available here.
Private dental practices
Assessment to the NSQHS Standards is currently voluntary for private dental practices. Private dental practices who voluntarily implement the NSQHS Standards will not transfer to the second edition in January 2019. These services will continue to be assessed against the first edition of NSQHS Standards.
These services should refer to the Commission’s website for information on the first edition.
The Commission is developing a guide to support the implementation of the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.) in non-acute health care services, including community and dental services.
The Commission is also developing a set of national safety and quality standards specifically for primary health care services. It is expected that these standards will be available for implementation from 2020. Public dental services and private dental practices will transition to the primary care standards once they are implemented.