About the Quality Assurance Reference Centre

The Breast Screening Quality Assurance Reference Centre has become part of Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health.

Public Health England has been established to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and to reduce inequalities. It will lead on the development of a 21st- century health and wellbeing service, supporting local authorities and the NHS to deliver the greatest possible improvements in public health. It came into being in April 2013. For all corporate information please see www.gov.uk/phe

This is historic archive material.

The structure of a Quality Assurance Reference Centre (QARC)

Quality Assurance (QA) has been an integral part of the NHSBSP since its inception. Each regional Quality Assurance Director has a regional Quality Assurance Team (QAT) made up of professional leads (radiology, radiography, pathology, surgery, breast care nursing, administration and medical physics) and a core team based at the Quality Assurance Reference Centre (QARC) who support the QA Team. Each professional Lead is responsible for liaising with his/her professional colleagues within and, where indicated, outside the region.

The South West Breast Screening Quality Assurance Reference Centre
The purpose of the South West Quality Assurance (QA) Reference Centre is to ensure the maintenance of national standards and monitor the performance of the nine breast screening units in the South West Region. The South West Quality Assurance Reference Centre (QARC) is based in Bristol. South West Breast Screening Map

The QA Reference Centre acts as a focus for information between the breast screening units in the South West Region and the National Cancer Screening Office.

What do quality assurance reference centres do?

An integral part of the QA Reference Centre’s role is to organise Quality Assurance Visits to breast screening units at least once every three years or more often if required. During these visits the QA Team monitor all aspects of the unit’s performance and a report is produced containing action points and recommendations as well as highlighting points of good practice. The QA Team operates via a team of multidisciplinary professionals who are accountable to the Regional QA Director.

Another fundamental role of the QA Reference Centre is to collect and validate breast screening data and surgical audits prior to submission to the Department of Health, National Cancer Screening Head Office or other national organisations. These data are used for statistical analysis and are monitored against national standards.