Acoustic Times or … Scan you believe it?! Ultrasound governance: Communicating standards during a pandemic

Helen Brown, Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust


Introducing new governance processes into a multi-site ultrasound department during a pandemic led to the re-thinking of the models of communication used to share governance objectives. The introduction of peer review audit can be challenging for staff. Clear communication is vital to ensure staff are not threatened by the process and are able to use it as a learning opportunity to shape their practice and development, thereby improving patient safety.


A monthly newsletter “Acoustic Times” was introduced to explain the processes and changes giving the opportunity to provide the evidence base and links to national guidance. Peer review audit and learning meetings were introduced and held virtually across sites to identify and share any individual or group learning points. Processes and documents were either re-designed or introduced, with supporting rationale and evidence provided through the newsletter including; evidence based protocols, standard setting, peer review audit including supporting learning outcomes and CPD; actionable reporting; preceptorship; service user feedback and equipment QA. Further supported learning was provided on critical reflection, specific focus on technical aspects of clinical examinations, sharing of external learning events, CPD and in-house ultrasound training.


Benefits of the newsletter include more focus on improving consistency of practice and setting standards; faster reporting of audit findings and reaudits; and improved engagement with consultant colleagues. It also provides an accessible record of the development of governance processes which has been shared with sonographers in other organisations.


Setting and communicating clearly defined quality standards and protocols is key to the design of safe working practices and patient safety in healthcare environments.1 Open and honest governance processes with clear, accessible and useable documentation are key in staff engagement and ownership of quality improvement.

References: 1. Royal College of Radiologists. Standards for the Provision of an Ultrasound Service. 2017 Available from: ultrasound.pdf [Accessed 29/07/2022]

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