Peer Review of Paediatric Endocrine Services in the UK: A Template for Quality and Service Improvement

Horm Res Paediatr. 2021 Mar 31;1-6. doi: 10.1159/000515238. Online ahead of print.


Background: Independent peer review of healthcare services can complement existing internal-, institutional-, and national-level regulatory mechanisms aimed at improving quality of healthcare. However, this has not been reported for paediatric endocrinology services in the UK. We aimed to test feasibility and acceptability through a first cycle of a national peer review of paediatric endocrine services.

Methods: Tertiary centres in paediatric endocrinology across the UK were assessed against 54 quality standards, developed by the British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (BSPED) in five domains of healthcare by a team comprising paediatric endocrinologists and specialist nurses. The evaluation was supported by a self-assessment. A post-peer-review questionnaire was used as feedback.

Results: All 22 centres in the UK underwent independent peer review between 2011 and 2017. Each served a median population of 2.6 million (range 1-8 million) and offered 1,872 (range 779-6,738) outpatient consultations annually. A total of 43 (range 30-49) standards were met in combined evaluation of all centres. Variance of adherence for essential standards ranged from 52 to 97% at individual centres with 90% adherence demonstrated by 32% of centres. Post-review feedback showed 20/22 (95%) validating the utility of the peer review.

Conclusions: The BSPED peer review of all UK centres providing paediatric endocrine services is shown to be feasible and provides a quality benchmark for replication by national services.

Keywords: Peer review; Quality improvement; Service improvement; Standards of care.