Introduction to the Life Science Industry Accredited Credentialing Register

Why is this register needed?

Staff from the Life Science industry engage with NHS staff and patients on a daily basis. It is important that these interactions take place within a professional, ethical and safe framework.

We know that Trusts are looking to confirm the identity, credentials and training status of individuals who visit their sites.

Currently the responsibility for this lies with each individual Trust and they have sought a variety of means to address this challenge. This has led to variable practices in the standards and processes used within the NHS to check the status of industry staff on site – there has been a lack of consistency.

What will it do?

The Life Science Industry in collaboration with the NHS and the Academy for Healthcare Science have joined forces to develop a high-quality, accredited credentialing register for Life Sciences staff who interact routinely and directly with NHS front-line staff and/ or patients.

In providing a route to protect the public and assure the NHS, this Register will;

  • Establish, and periodically validate against, minimum acceptable standards for registrants and training provision
  • Maintain the required standards of conduct, education, training and health & safety criteria
  • Provide a single point for NHS staff and the public to verify an individual’s status against agreed criteria and eligibility to engage with the NHS
  • Support Trusts with regard to credentialing and management of conflicts of interest
  • Support the improvement of standards without restricting access to approved individuals.

To ensure the highest standards of governance, the Register has been independently accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. This is the same Body that accredits other significant registers: https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/

How this will develop

The Trade Associations have been working together and have initially undertaken a pilot to get some of the staff from the companies they work with onto the register. This engagement has also helped us to work through any initial teething problems.

The second part of that pilot is now underway, with a second tranche of registrants going through the process of signing up. Trade associations are working together and have agreed to phase in their organisations as they come forward. This will commence in March 2018. Click here to see  Logos relating to the Trade Associations involved.

In addition, some Trusts have offered to pilot the register – information about this will be posted here as this develops.

Badges

Together, the Trade associations have been developing a credentialing badge which will provide some assurance to the NHS in many ways. The Academy intends that the new register will ensure that the NHS and other healthcare employers have a quality-assured form of recognition for these representatives, so they can access appropriate areas within clinical settings. This will include the issuing of barcoded identification badges to registrants.

All registrants will be issued with a credentialing badge, on which there will be:

  • Photograph
  • Name
  • Employer
  • Tier (based on education and training)
  • Professional Standards Authority logo
  • QR code (which links to search result for individual applicant)
  • Expiry date of card
  • GS1 compliant barcode.

Work is underway with GS1 colleagues to link up with the Scan4Safety work that many Trusts are already signed up to.

Industry staff can only access the badge if they are on the Accredited Register and have complied with the appropriate standards.

What is the NHS doing to support this?

NHS England, the Life Science Industry and a range of stakeholders have established a task and finish group to help to implement the register and its use within the NHS. This includes the Department of Health and NHSI colleagues and patient representatives.

Communication

It is likely that NHS Trusts will receive correspondence from the implementation group, in addition the Registration Council will be sending out communications to Trusts to keep them up-to-date with progress and provide them with information on how to use the register.

As colleagues’ register, they will receive a badge and a letter that will help to explain what the register is all about.

The register can be viewed in much the same way as the registers for Doctors, Nurses and Clinical Scientists and is providing a route to protect the public and assure the NHS.

It is important to note that the individuals on the Register are also acting as company representatives not as individual professionals. This will therefore require a degree of integration and involvement of employers in the registration process and any complaint process.

The key principles of how this will work

The following principles directed the development and implementation of the scheme:

  • Safe: the scheme should be developed with the objective of enhancing patient & staff safety
  • Transparent: the scope and criteria for the scheme should be public and agreed by all parties involved
  • Proportionate: the criteria should be appropriate to the level of risk and not create undue cost or administrative burden
  • Equitable: the criteria should be applied across all industry sectors in an equitable manner and entry should be open to all relevant individuals
  • Compliant: the scheme meets legal requirements on employment law and data protection as well as government and NHS policy on working with industry
  • Once only – the requirements do not duplicate procedures already in place within the suppliers’ processes and evidenced by other mechanisms such as product CE marking, contractual obligations etc.
Outcome

The Register will provide a framework for suppporting interactions between relevant staff from life science companies and healthcare professionals and patients. It will support joint working in pursuit of improved patient safety and improved system efficiency.

Industry and the NHS have worked together on agreeing the key elements and training requirements of the register. Industry Associations involved in the establishment and ongoing running of the Register, as well as recruitment of registrants. The Implementation group through NHS England will provide guidance and support in promoting the use of the credentialing register to individual NHS organisations.

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