Preventing deaths from infection and tackling antimicrobial resistance by supporting and accrediting effective antimicrobial stewardship programmes globally

Accreditation process

Deadline for submission of applications is 31 May 2024.

We welcome applications from organisations in any country that have an established hospital AMS programme.

The first step in becoming a client organisation in GAMSAS is to complete an online Screening Questionnaire.

This should be completed by the lead or champion for AMS within the organisation and it is important that they have management support for the application.

The questionnaire will allow us to gather some basic information about AMS in your country and details of current infrastructure and staffing within your organisation. Once we have reviewed this information we will contact you to either offer the opportunity to join GAMSAS or provide feedback on why we cannot accept your organisation as a client at this time.

Once accepted into GAMSAS we will provide access to a series of four on-line surveys to capture further  information about AMS in your country and your organisation’s current provision of AMS, microbiology laboratory services including AMR surveillance and Infection Prevention including Healthcare Associated Infection surveillance. These surveys along with supporting evidence documents must be submitted through this website and will provide the information required by the GAMSAS team. All information provided will be used to assess your organisation’s current position against our AMS Standards. To further explore AMS within your organisation, we will organise a hospital site visit where a BSAC team member plus an appointed external expert assessor will meet with the AMS team and other hospital staff.

The final step of the process is for the GAMSAS visit report to be considered by an Accreditation Panel of international experts. The panel will award accreditation at level 1, 2 or 3 and may also recommend award of Commended or Centre of Excellence status. You will receive a final report, a BSAC GAMSAS certificate and media pack for your own promotion. The report will highlight areas of good practice and areas for improvement. This completes the first accreditation cycle and we will provide ongoing support for improvements and to repeat self-assessment surveys again in 3 years’ time.

This iterative process will allow organisations to achieve optimal performance with respect to AMS, maximising use of local resources, and potential recognition as a Centre of Excellence which involves your organisation acting as a mentor for other organisations in your region/country to support development of AMS and spread good practice.

Using these links you can learn more about accreditation of healthcare services and specifically of antimicrobial stewardship.

See below for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have any queries about GAMSAS please contact us.

 

FAQs

GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is GAMSAS and what are its aims?

GAMSAS is a process developed by BSAC and led by experts in antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) which has set measurable standards for AMS and will work with client organizations to demonstrate these standards are being met and award accreditation. GAMSAS involves submission of information for a desktop holistic assessment of an organization’s AMS programme and associated IPC and Microbiology service followed by a hospital visit.
The aim of GAMSAS is to support healthcare organizations to build and sustain robust and measurable AMS programmes using a quality improvement approach to enable them to contribute to local, national, and global data collection/surveillance which is a key ambition within the WHO AMR action plan.

A secondary aim is to designate Centres of Excellence – organizations that function within an established network to support and actively mentor other organizations to improve their AMS activities. This will help spread of good practice in AMS across regions and countries.

 

Why is accreditation of AMS useful?

Accreditation of healthcare organizations or of specific clinical services is an evolving area and builds on two decades of quality improvement in healthcare. Through setting standards and measuring compliance with these standards we can provide assurance for care providers, patients and the public about the quality of care. If you would like to learn more about accreditation we have prepared two background summary documents.

What are the benefits of GAMSAS for organizations, clinicians and patients?

A robust AMS programme will optimise use of antibiotics within an organization with potential cost reductions in terms of medicines budget and more importantly reduction in drug resistant infections which are difficult to treat and associated with longer hospital stays and increased costs.
Clinicians involved and engaged with an AMS programme will be assured that they are using antibiotics appropriately through use of local infection management guidelines. In addition they will have access to bespoke education on AMS and opportunities for local audit, quality improvement initiatives and research.
Patients with infections will be assured of receiving high quality evidence-based treatment potentially allowing a shorter hospital stay and reducing their risk of healthcare associated and drug resistant infections.

APPLYING TO JOIN GAMSAS

Who can apply to join GAMSAS?

GAMSAS is open for applications from hospitals which already have established an AMS programme and have management support to submit an application.

To comply with GAMSAS Standards we expect a hospital AMS programme to be delivered by a multi-professional team, to comprise the four pillars of Structures, Guidance, Education and Surveillance, and to have links with IPC and Microbiology lab services.

How does an organization apply to join the GAMSAS?

Note that only hospitals with an established AMS programme are eligible to join GAMSAS.

The first step in becoming a client organization in GAMSAS is to complete an online Screening Questionnaire.
This should be completed by the lead or champion for AMS within the organization and it is important that they have management support for the application.
The questionnaire will allow us to gather some basic information about AMS in your country (non-UK hospitals) and details of current infrastructure, staffing and AMS activities including links with IPC and laboratory teams within your organization. The questionnaire includes a checklist of our core GAMSAS Standards required for level 1 accreditation.  Once we have reviewed this information we will contact you to either offer the opportunity to join GAMSAS or provide feedback on why we cannot accept your organization as a client at this time.

How much does it cost to participate in GAMSAS?

BSAC has a fee structure to enable organisations from both high income countries and low/middle income countries to join GAMSAS. The baseline cost for GAMSAS is £3500 plus travel expenses for the hospital visit.

Are funding grants available to support organisations to participate in GAMSAS?

In some circumstances organisations with limited resources may be offered free participation with costs covered via BSAC grants. Please contact the GAMSAS team for more information.

 

THE GAMSAS PROCESS

Which hospital staff require to be involved in the GAMSAS process?

The AMS Lead or champion is the key staff member but other members of the AMS team plus leads for Infection Prevention and Microbiology services will also be required to contribute. A multi-professional approach is encouraged to support engagement of all staff groups involved in AMS. Hospital senior management and clinical staff are also involved in the GAMSAS hospital visit

Once accepted as GAMSAS client organisation what happens next?

When an organisation is accepted as a client some initial documentation will be completed to formalise an agreement with BSAC and ensure the client organisation has the capacity to commit to the actions required for the GAMSAS process.

 

What information do hospitals require to submit within the GAMSAS process?

The initial self-assessment process involves completion by the client organisation of three online questionnaires about systems and practice within the organisation for AMS, IPC and laboratory services and for non-UK nations one questionnaire about the national AMS landscape in the country where the organisation is based. In addition to completion of these questionnaires the client must upload documents to provide evidence for the answers given in the questionnaires. A list of suitable evidence is provided.

What does the GAMSAS accreditation process involve and how long does it take?

The process involves the following steps:

  • Information gathering via the client submitting self-assessment questionnaires and uploading supporting evidence documents via the GAMSAS web portal.
  • Review of information and preparation of a report by BSAC team.
  • Visit to hospital by BSAC team clinician plus an assigned external assessor.
  • Preparation of final report for consideration at an Accreditation panel meeting.
  • Accreditation award at agreed level and advice on areas for improvement agreed to facilitate higher level of accreditation (if applicable/feasible).

The time from acceptance into GAMSAS to the final accreditation award is usually 6-9 months.

What is the role of the External Assessor in GAMSAS?

External assessors are appointed for their expertise and experience following self-nomination or nomination by a national body/organisation.

Following completion of the questionnaires the BSAC team will prepare a draft GAMSAS report and assign an external assessor to assist with the hospital visit and contribute to the final report. The external assessor will also present the report and recommended accreditation level at the Accreditation Panel Meeting.

What is the role of the Accreditation Panel in GAMSAS?

The Accreditation Panel has a standing Chair and will comprise members from across differing health economies, a minimum of 4 people, who will be called to meet and assess applications along with the internal BSAC GAMSAS team.

The mix of panel members will be determined by the applications received. The panel will discuss each application report with the External assessor for each client and agree on the accreditation level achieved as well as suggested improvement actions and whether a client organization should be designated a Centre of Excellence.

Is remuneration paid to external assessors and panel members?

These roles are remunerated with standard fees payable for each client episode and for each accreditation panel meeting. Fees take the form of an honorarium with recipients having responsibility to manage and recognise any relevant personal tax and national insurance requirements due within their country.

 

Is there a process for appeals?

Appeals can be submitted in writing and on the grounds of demonstrable errors in the conduct of the assessment process via email to: GAMSAS@bsac.org.uk.

FOLLOW UP AND ONGOING SUPPORT WITHIN GAMSAS

Once accredited what is the process to follow up/maintain accreditation?

Accreditation will require to be renewed every 3 years but it is expected that clients accredited at any level will build upon AMS activities to maintain their programme and address areas for improvement identified by the Accreditation panel.

The BSAC team will remain in contact with all clients and an interim virtual meeting will be convened at around 18 months to discuss maintenance and further development of AMS.

What does being a ‘Centre of Excellence’ mean for an organisation?

Being accredited as a Centre of Excellence acknowledges that the organisation is a leader in the field of AMS through having a robust and measurable AMS programme, contributing to national and global surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance and shared learning to actively mentor other organisations in their locality/region.

The establishment of Centres of Excellence for AMS will allow organisations to enhance their reputation as a high quality care provider and facilitate shared learning with others in their region/country. The reputational benefit will attract clinical staff wishing to work there and provide reassurance to patients on provision of high quality care.

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