About the QNWA network

We recognise good practice and high-quality care whilst supporting services to identify and address areas for improvement.

Members of our network benefit from having their service reviewed by expert acute inpatient colleagues and are invited to attend tailored training events, special interest days and conferences.

We adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to quality improvement, with a key component of our work being the sharing of best practice through the facilitation of peer-review visits.

Both the accreditation and developmental membership assures staff, patients, carers, commissioners and regulators of the quality of the service being provided. Accreditation also provides a platform for recognition for wards and units.

We serve to identify areas of achievement and areas for improvement in individual services, through a culture of openness and enquiry.

The model is based on engagement rather than inspection and this is achieved by facilitating and encouraging quality improvement through a supportive network of members and rigorous peer-review process.

The benefits of the review process

  • A wide range of stakeholders are involved, including staff from all professional backgrounds, patient and carer representatives.
  • Development support: services are supported to identify and address areas for improvement.
  • Active ongoing network support: members are supported to share best practice, seek advice and pool learning through special interest days, an annual conference and publication of resources on a members-only website.
  • Sharing good practice: services are engaged with a network of peers, enabling sharing of good practice and providing a forum for advice and information sharing.
  • Personal development: individuals receive training and are able to improve their professional practice.
  • Spread of learning within the organisation: learning and innovations arising from the process are often spread beyond the participating service to other services within the organisation.
  • Benchmarking and trend analysis: we produce national aggregated and thematic reports enabling services to benchmark their own performance against other services, and identifying trends in service provision.

Both the accreditation and developmental memberships have a self-review and peer-review phase.

Phase 1: Self-review

During this phase, the service will undertake a self-review, including a series of surveys for staff, patients and carers, and a health record audit.

These enable the multi-disciplinary team to review their local procedures and practices against the standards and, if necessary, to make the changes required to achieve accreditation. The self-review will take place over a three-month period. A summary of the results from the self-review forms the basis of discussions during the peer-review visit.

Phase 2: Peer-review visit

The peer-review visit is a one-day visit which takes place up to four weeks after you have completed your self-review. A team of up to three professionals (comprising of staff from other member services), a patient or carer representative, and a Network representative will undertake a peer-review visit. In addition to validating your self-review, the peer-review provides an opportunity for discussion, sharing of ideas and for the visiting team to offer advice and support.

Phase 3: Accreditation decision (accreditation membership)

Information from the self- and peer-review is compiled into a summary report which is verified by the peer-review team and the service before being submitted to the Accreditation Committee (AC). If services are not reaching a certain threshold of Type 1 standards, they may be deferred to the developmental membership. The committee makes a decision about the service’s accreditation.

There are three categories of accreditation status:

  • Accredited
  • Accreditation deferred
  • Not accredited

Services that cannot achieve accreditation at the point of review but are expected to be able to do so in the near future are deferred for a time-limited period in which they must meet the necessary standards. Services can be presented to the AC up to three times within a 6 month period.

Accreditation is valid for up to three years, subject to satisfactory completion of an interim self-review.

Phase 3: Local report and benchmarking (developmental membership)

Information from the self- and peer-review is compiled into a local draft report which is verified by the peer-review team and the service. They will be given an opportunity to comment before finalising the report. All final reports will be compiled into an annual aggregated report where services can benchmark.

Developmental membership option

This option will work on an annual basis, with services receiving a peer-review visit every year. This membership option is ideal for services new to QNWA, and those who need additional support to reach ‘desirable’ standards. Peer-review membership is a stepping stone towards accreditation and involves:

  • Three-month self-review process
  • Peer-review visit
  • Localised report specific to your service
  • Action planning
  • Annual report

Unlike accreditation, there is no threshold to meet; services do not need to meet a percentage of Type 1 or 2 standards. This allows services to concentrate on improving their service and gives time for more open discussions.

Accreditation membership option

Accreditation membership works on a three-year cycle, with services receiving an in-depth peer-review visit and interim review within this time. This option is best suited for services familiar with the QNWA standards, who have previously been through the developmental or accreditation process. The review day will be more concentrated on the evidence provided, with a focus on how services are meeting the standards. This process involves:

  • Three-month self-review process
  • Peer-review visit
  • Localised report specific to your service
  • Accreditation committee (AC) review for up to 6 months
  • Accreditation certificate (following AC decision)
  • Interim review after 18 months
  • Aggregated report

Services must meet 100% of Type 1 standards and 80% of Type 2 standards in order to be awarded accreditation. Services will be accredited from their final presentation at the accreditation committee, and this will be valid for three years following a satisfactory interim review.


Both membership options are £2,495 + VAT annually. There is a 5% discount for services that sign up to a three-year membership. 

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