Jacqiu Stewart, CEO of COHSASA hands over the accreditation certificate to Kingsbury Hospital Manager, Christine Malan.

The first Life Healthcare hospital in South Africa, the Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont, Cape Town, has been accredited for two years by the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). We spoke to the Hospital Manager, Christine Malan, to find out how and her team she experienced the COHSASA programme. Here are her answers to our questions – they reveal an honest response to our programme. No filters!

When did you first encounter COHSASA?

My first encounter was when Life Healthcare indicated that they are investigating obtaining accreditation from COHSASA.

 What was your initial response to the standards and the process you were facing?

 Initially it was a bit overwhelming, but as we became more comfortable with the layout and processes, we came to realise that it captures our daily processes and procedures.

Did you feel you received adequate support from COHSASA throughout the process?

Yes, definitely.

How do you think accreditation has helped you?

It has allowed us to view our way of work from a different angle, to find new approaches to problem-solving and find sustainable solutions to support continuous improvement.

 What benefits do you think you have got out of the process – both direct and indirect?

 Direct – The process challenged my way of thinking and reviewing processes.

Indirect – I have seen how some of staff have developed and  how they have stepped up to challenges that might have been outside of their normal scope of practice or function.

How do you think patients have benefitted from the quality improvement and accreditation process?

Any improvement to processes and quality will benefit our patients as our patients remain at the centre of everything we do.

 Although accreditation costs money and is regarded as an investment, do you think you ultimately saved money (over the long run) because of processes and policies that had to be in place?

 It is difficult to say without doing a return of investment calculation. We have BSI accreditation  (ISO 9001) which assisted with the planning and processes, but  at this early stage it would be difficult to calculate or comment on whether we will save money in the long run.

Do you think surveys should be unannounced?

Certain aspects of the surveys were unannounced like night visits. To me that was sufficient as we would still want staff to have a learning opportunity and ensure that appropriate resources are available to support an effective survey.

If you could change one thing about the COHSASA programme what would that be?

The frequency of the self-evaluations is very strenuous. That might be due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, but if these were twice a year instead of every 8 weeks, if would in my view allow for more in-depth evaluation and effective (cost and resources).

The entrance to the Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont Medical District, Cape Town.