BSR recommends that rheumatology departments should participate in peer review on a 5-yearly basis as a means to facilitate improvement in clinical services and to ensure basic core standards are met. The benefits of peer review are multi-factorial and can be both at an organisational level (e.g. in line with CQC, supporting specialist commissioning etc) and at an individual level through providing evidence for CPD and revalidation purposes. In regions where peer review is active the process is seen as mutually beneficial and educational for reviewers and those reviewed. The outcome of visits commonly addresses staffing needs and results in expansion of nursing, medical, secretarial or AHP jobs. However sharing of ideas is also important to individuals and units, including simple advice on any range of subjects from patient education to administration.
A revised process and documentation has been published with a view to implementing the scheme throughout rheumatology services in the UK for the first time. The guidance document covers the background to peer review and further details on preparation, the reviewing team and outcome report. Regional leads have been appointed to take this forward and support regions in organising a local scheme. The intention is for them to contact clinical leads in the coming months. BSR Regional chairs may also offer support and advice. There will be several challenges ahead and the BSR aims to assist schemes in their infancy through: introduction of a peer review travelling fellowship for trainees; providing a list of “ambassadors” for peer review to offer advice and assistance; a session at the spring meeting and through regional meetings. As peer review is a mutual and regional service improvement scheme the BSR recommends that leave associated with this activity should be considered as professional leave.
It should be remembered that peer review is a positive, formative experience and we hope that the new, streamlined scheme will act as a key driver for service improvements and individual development over the next few years.
Download the new documentations and details of your regional leads: