Quality management systems: the benefits of achieving ISO 9002
© Current Science Ltd 2000
Published: 1 October 2000
Since taking part as a pilot in the NHSBSP 'Systematic Management of Quality for Breast Screening Services' exercise, we have obtained ISO 9002 certification. By taking this additional step we believe we have gained considerable benefits over a non-certificated quality management system. The seven principles of quality management are: (1) get organised; (2) have written procedures; (3) control key documents; (4) keep records; (5) carry out regular checks; (6) identify faults and correct them; and (7) communicate well.
For each of the above principles we list just one benefit of ISO 9002 over QMS: (1) well planned service with mechanisms for the management of change in all circumstances; (2) greatly reduced level of documentation with a minimal number of work instructions; (3) smaller number of documents to control, with a requirement to update, not left on the shelf; (4) requirement to document and control key areas, eg Screening Round Plan, thereby avoiding round length slippage; (5) annual schedule of audits ensuring the quality system is updated with changes in practice, ie a living system that evolves with the service; (6) requirement to action the outcome of audits as we are audited twice a year by an external body; and (7) reporting mechanisms to all staff.