Group photo of the theatres management and education team

NHS Fife’s operating theatres have become the first in Scotland to become officially accredited by the Association of Perioperative Practice (AfPP) for the quality of the surgical services they offer.

Three sites in total – the Victoria Hospital and National Treatment Centre in Kirkcaldy along with the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline – have each now officially received AfPP accreditation.

An accreditation mark is awarded to theatre departments who meet a defined set of criteria. This includes demonstrating the consistency and quality of staff training, a commitment to improving patient experience and ensuring that robust processes and protocols are in place to maximise patient safety.

Achieving accreditation involved a rigorous assessment process over a number of months. A series of face-to-face visits were carried by consultants from the AfPP to observe and assess the quality of care provided across operating theatres in Fife. The AfPP delegation also thoroughly assessed all policies followed by Fife’s theatre teams and sought evidence to demonstrate that these procedures were followed correctly.

Service Manager for Planned Care, Claire Lee, said:

“The Association of Perioperative Practice accreditation program is designed to continually raise standards in theatre departments across the UK.

“Theatre teams in Fife work incredibly hard to provide patients with the best quality of care, and we are proud that the AfPP have acknowledged our teams in this way.

“Accreditation also gives patients the reassurance that the practices theatre staff follow are correct, that they have been assessed by external experts and that the team within theatres receive appropriate training to provide an excellent standard of care.”

Theatre teams in Fife are well-known for their forward-thinking approach to surgery, embracing new ways of working and new technologies, including robotics, to help increase capacity and improve patient care. This approach helped secure Fife as a site for the National Treatment Centre programme, with Fife’s £33m specialist orthopaedic facility opening in March 2023.

Fife has also employed new and pioneering approaches across a range of other surgical specialities. Many of these new procedures are less invasive that previous techniques, enabling patients to be seen as day cases and recover at home.

Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline has become a centre of excellence for day surgery, pioneering new techniques in urology, gynaecology and cancer before anywhere else in the country. With waiting lists significantly longer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing the proportion of procedures carried out as day cases can also allow greater numbers of theatre patients to be seen.

NHS Fife’s Director of Acute Services, Claire Dobson, added:

“We are really delighted that our theatres have become the first in Scotland to achieve accreditation from the Association of Perioperative Practice.

“Across our services, we are continually striving to improve standards and provide the best possible experience for patients. Accreditation should rightly give patients assurance around the quality of care provided by our theatre teams.

“Fife has one of the most pioneering surgical teams in the country. Obtaining accreditation helps us in recruiting and retaining experienced clinical staff to support our existing team, and also opens the door for clinicians in Fife to provide training for clinicians in other health board areas.”

Notes to editors:

  • The Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP) was established as the National Association of Theatre Nurses in 1964. The organisation works to enhance skills and knowledge within operating departments, and aims to enhance the quality of care and patient safety in the NHS and the independent sector throughout the UK.
  • AfPP has over 7,000 members throughout the UK and overseas and it’s membership accounts for more than 30% of all theatre nurses and around 10% of Operating Department Practitioners.