London Northwest University Healthcare Trust Achieves Prestigious Clinical Research Site Accreditation

London Northwest University Healthcare Trust Achieves Prestigious Clinical Research Site Accreditation TrialsiteN

London Northwest University Healthcare NHS Trust achieves IAOCR’s Clinical Research Site Workforce Quality Accreditation (WQA) bronze level, establishing a clinical research benchmark for all NHS Trusts. London Northwest University Healthcare NHS Trust was awarded the accreditation following an in-depth assessment against the internationally recognized quality standards. WQA is an independent quality mark demonstrating their dedication to delivering excellence.

What does the WQA Accreditation Evidence?

The Trust evidenced a clear best-in-class approach for clinical research workforce practices, setting new standards for NHS clinical research sites.  An example of a defining factor demonstrated by the Trust was that patients are a key motivator behind the team striving for continual improvement and wanting to work to best practice standards. A culture driven by patient safety and engagement impressed TrialSite News.

What is the Workforce Quality Accreditation Program?

The WQA program was developed in collaboration with industry experts in response to demand from sponsors for a recognition mark that enables easy identification of organizations with embedded workforce quality best practices. 

Levels of Accreditation

The IAOCR Workforce Quality Accreditation recognizes four levels of accreditation, including foundational elements of quality. These characteristics must be verified to achieve accreditation in the following order:

  • Foundation – Company has accurate job descriptions and employees have access to core training for technical skills required to conduct quality clinical research
  • Bronze (achieved by INC Research in July 2016) – Company has a proven “red flag” system for identifying and addressing lack of competence in high risk areas as well as a robust and systematic performance management system for employees
  • Silver (achieved by INC Research in April 2017) – Company demonstrates employee engagement is an organizational priority; vision, values, goals and objectives are communicated across the organization and individuals understand the importance of their contribution; and the company invests in developing soft skills and professional skills appropriate to individual roles.
  • Gold – Competence of each individual across an organization is rigorously assessed against core global standards, with assessments documented and development plans put in place to address competence gaps. Ongoing competence assessments are performed annually and linked to performance management processes.

How can a Research Site achieve a WQA Foundation or Bronze Level Accreditation?

To achieve the Foundation and Bronze level accreditation, organizations must evidence they have accurate job descriptions, employees have access to core training for technical skills required to conduct quality clinical research, and a robust and systematic performance management system need to be in place. Furthermore, organization must demonstrate proven “red flag” system for identifying and addressing lack of competence in high risk areas—e.g. patient safety, data integrity and business critical areas.

What Areas or Segments of the Trust Earned the Accreditation?

The WQA Foundation and Bronze award assessed the Trust’s entire Research & Development Department in the areas of all delivery, governance, and pharmacy and radiology. 

What is Significant about this Award for London Northwest University?

The International Accrediting Organization for Clinical Research (IAOCR) has previously awarded Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Professional status to individuals within the NHS. However, London Northwest University Healthcare NHS Trust is the first to achieve organization-level accreditation.

When/Where was the Award Presented?

The official presentation took place on Friday November 15, 2019 at the Trust’s Annual Excellence in Research & Development Award Day, demonstrating the importance of the Award to the Trust in embedding best practices and attracting clinical research.

Who Presented the Award?

John Mellelieu, Director of Clinical Services, Allergan along with Jacqueline Johnson North, CEO of IAOCR

About London Northwest University Healthcare NHS Trust

London Northwest University Healthcare is an NHS trust based in London, United Kingdom. The trust was formed by the merger of North West London Hospitals NHS Trust and Ealing Hospital NHS Trusts in October 2014. The trust runs Northwick Park Hospital and St Mark’s Hospital in Harrow, Central Middlesex Hospital in Park Royal, and Ealing Hospital in Southall. It also runs 4 community hospitals, in addition to providing community services in Brent, Ealing, and Harrow. The trust employs 8,961 staff across all its sites, and in 2018/19, had 5,000 patients participating in ground breaking research this year

In 2018, the trust decided not to submit a bid for a 10-year contract to provide most “out of hospital services” to Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group – services which they had been providing. The chief executive told staff that it was not possible to provide a quality service for the money on offer, despite the sum being offered being higher than the sum the Trust was already receiving for delivering the services. Ultimately, three bidders participated in the procurement and the services were awarded to a consortium led by West London Mental Health NHS Trust

In 2019, it set up a service combining vascular surgery, endovascular surgery and interventional radiology at Northwick Park Hospital, challenging the dominance of the London teaching hospitals in specialist services


IAOCR is the accrediting organization for the international clinical research industry. They work with clinical research organizations that are passionate about improving the effectiveness and efficiency of clinical trials by addressing human factors that work alongside the technologies and processes.

IAOCR business processes and accreditations have been built specifically for the clinical research industry. They provide a quality mark to organizations committed to globally consistent, high quality clinical trials workforces.

We believe that clinical trial patients anywhere in the world deserve the best protection in terms of rights and well being. Therefore, in addition to providing accreditation, training and consultancy services, IAOCR works with industry leaders and regulators around the globe to develop best practice guidelines and frameworks that are freely available to everyone. To find out more about the best practice initiatives, visit here.