Last updated: 15/01/2021
To our members and colleagues,
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into 2021, our focus on our members and your patients, their families and the wider community remains.
In establishing a ‘new normal’ routine, the commitment from frontline healthcare staff to perform their duties well remains critical, and our goal is to provide high levels of service and support during this disruptive period.
This Resource Centre consolidates helpful resources and guidance to support your ongoing efforts and will be updated frequently to assist your organisation.
Following the approval of the resumption of accreditations on 26 October, 2020, we have been able to conduct the majority of booked accreditations to schedule and will continue to do so over the coming months.
We are acutely aware of the importance of everyone’s safety and that the focus of frontline healthcare professional’s efforts has to be on addressing the impacts of COVID-19.
We are thinking of all our members and their various needs during this time and are available for support and advice whenever needed.
Our members come first so please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or by calling 02 9281 9955.
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to patient safety and quality improvement. Please stay safe.
Dr Karen Luxford
ACHS Chief Executive Officer
On this page:
ACHS has taken the following precautions to mitigate the risk of potential spread of COVID-19 in line with advice from the Australian and international healthcare authorities:
Events and Meetings
All in-person meetings and events, whether inside or outside of the ACHS offices, continue to be conducted remotely, where possible, using phone or video conferencing and/or online communications.
The Commission approved the resumption of assessments from 26 October 2020 for health service organisations that present a low COVID-19 transmission risk and can be assessed as an onsite assessment, or part onsite/part remote assessment. Assessments are not to be conducted in areas where there are active COVID-19 clusters or State or Territory restrictions or lockdowns. The Commission continues to work with accrediting agencies, using information in public health orders and advice from State and Territory health departments to determine exclusion zones.
Please note that your membership and current accreditation status will not be impacted during this time. Health service organisations have an additional 12 months added to their accreditation expiry date. However, organisations that have completed interim assessments should have their assessment to the NSQHS Standards as planned, or as soon as practical following the commencement of assessments if the 18 month period has expired.
In scheduling assessments, priority will be given to organisations that have commenced assessment and have yet to complete their final assessment; organisations that are required to undergo mandatory reassessment; organisations where their assessment was due after 25 March 2020 and their current accreditation has expired; and organisations with interim accreditation moving to full accreditation.
ACHS is ensuring that at all times we comply with State and Territory regulations, including travel across borders, social distancing and use of masks in locations where social distancing is not possible.
New Public and Custom workshops and programs are planned for 2021, and a current list of available courses can be found here.
We offered a number of short webinar courses during the first lockdown and subsequent re-opening stage period in 2020 and were delighted with the uptake by our members. Your enthusiasm for advancing your ongoing education was impressive and we will continue to provide educational opportunities virtually until face-to-face contact becomes accessible again.
A range of Assessor Competency Training (ACT) programs, Update Forums, and Refresher Courses were held for all of our assessors during 2020 with planned activities scheduled for the first half of 2021. The ACHS Assessor Division has maintained regular contact with our Assessors throughout the period and should you need to contact any member of that team please email firstname.lastname@example.org
ACHS now offers a COVIDSafe Consultancy service for both members and non-members who may require external assistance in determining their current COVIDSafe practices. For further information – view here
ACHS implemented a work-from-home policy for all employees during the early period of the pandemic, and resumed a staggered return to work in the office from 1st July, 2020. Currently our office remains closed due to the evolving situation in NSW and we will review this later in January.
However, our services and support to our members have not been interrupted during this time and our goal is to continue delivering services in a safe manner consistent with the latest advice and guidance.
- COVID-19 Infection Control Training (Australian Department of Health) – register here
- World Health Organization (WHO) Training – register here
- World Health Organization (WHO) Introduction to COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control - register here
- Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) Resources – review here
- Australian & New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Resources – review here
Visit the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare’s FAQ on updates re: COVID-19 pandemic and accreditation here
International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) - Patient Safety recommendations for COVID-19 view here
Posters & Graphics
- NSW Health COVID Resources – review here (available in multiple languages)
- Australian Department of Health
- Know The Signs – download here
- Stop The Spread – download here
- Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) National Guidelines for public health units – view here
- COVID-19 Cases Map (Johns Hopkins) – view here
- WHO COVID-19 Pandemic Page - view here
Is my membership or accreditation status affected due to assessment delays?
No, your membership or accreditation status will not be affected by our onsite assessment delays. If your membership or accreditation status is close to expiring, our team will communicate with you directly regarding procedures to extend these timelines as appropriate.
Are offsite assessments continuing?
Yes, there may be special circumstances that will require an assessment to be undertaken remotely. This will be conducted via desktop and using technology such as Zoom or Skype.
All EQuIP SASS (Self Assessment Support Service) are continuing as normal and have not been delayed. Please continue supplying information into the Electronic Assessment Tool (EAT) to meet the requirements of your SASS.
Where can I go for help and further assistance?
You can contact the ACHS Team as normal at email@example.com or by calling 02 9281 9955 for further assistance. Alternatively, you can contact your Customer Services Manager via email or their direct office phone line.
Products & Services
Are there any changes to the assessment process for NSQHS Standards, in response to COVID-19?
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) are responsible for determining changes to the assessment process and decisions regarding accreditation extensions. The ACSQHC are communicating regularly with accrediting agencies. ACHS Customer Services Managers are regularly communicating any updates to accreditation members. The ACHS Assessor Division are also regularly communicating any updates to assessors.
Are there any changes to the Clinical Indicator program in response to COVID-19?
The program is currently operating as normal and there are no planned changes to the current submission closure dates for 2021. Extensions to the submissions deadline will apply as normal. The reports of data for the next submission (closing 20 February 2021) will be available in early April 2021.
What is a coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This new coronavirus originated in Hubei Province, China and the disease caused by the virus is named COVID-19
How is coronavirus spread?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.
COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:
- close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
- close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes
- breathing in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets
- touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face
‘Close contact’ means having face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes with someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) or alternatively sharing a closed space with them for more than two hours
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are like other colds and flus and include:
- sore throat
- difficulty breathing.
While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying these symptoms may be suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness – not coronavirus.
How can we help to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and keeping your distance from others (social distancing) is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people)
- exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures.
What is social distancing and why is it important?
Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. It means less contacts between you and other people. Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:
- direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
- close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
- touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
So, the more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
Who is most at risk?
People who are more at risk of serious illness if they get the virus are:
- people with compromised immune systems (e.g., cancer)
- elderly people
- indigenous groups
- people with chronic medical conditions
- people in group residential settings
- very young children and babies
ACHS development of this Resource Centre and placement of content on this website is not an endorsement of the source nor of any particular product or service, nor should it be construed as a statement that the source, or its products or services, are superior to those of other companies. Website users acknowledge ACHS may not be the primary source of the content. By accessing and using website resources, website users agree to make no claim of any kind against ACHS for any and all damages that result from use or implementation of any Resource Centre content. Some items included on these pages were developed several years ago. While much of the content remains relevant, users should be aware that the information has not been updated. Resource Centre visitors should continue to refer to their State / country-specific guidelines and resources.
Last Review Date 15 January 2021