Published: 12 Jun 2019

Dinesh Perera, PCQI, talks about his typical day as Disability Assessor/Auditor at Capita plc.

My alarm goes off…at 5am for me to be ready for a 7am train commute to work. Once ready, I check my calendar to familiarise myself with daily scheduled tasks. I make the most of my commute (while sipping an arabica coffee) catching up on emails, news, podcasts, and browsing articles in Quality World. During the final leg of the journey I tune into inspirational music.

I'm responsible for…providing subject matter expertise to evaluate clinical assessment reports submitted by disability assessors as part of the quality programme (defined by the Department of Works and Pensions-DWP). Working to finite operational timescales, it’s my responsibility to determine whether the assessor has submitted an assessment report to the required standard. Also, I ensure clinical opinions within such reports meet best practice, for example NICE guidelines. I determine the appropriate course of action, which includes making recommendations to produce a revised report and ensuring feedback to the original author is disseminated.

I've been working in my current role…at Capitasince 2014. On reflection, my interest in quality and process improvement was ignited early in my nursing career in the NHS. I initiated simple improvement tasks like introducing a new filing system for a ward and developing a stock drug inventory to reduce wastage. I also undertook improvement projects as a ward manager between 2007 to 2008. As a volunteer with the Health Foundation I gain invaluable experience in service improvement tools.

My typical day…involves evaluating disability assessment reports.This requires collaborating with senior clinical colleagues to explore best outcomes for complex claims. In order to reduce re-work rates, we have a dedicated phone line to support field colleagues and my working day is split between taking calls and auditing reports. The audit team undertakes debriefing sessions, which also produce process improvement ideas.

I enjoy the variety and knowing that I can empower others to make robust clinical decisions is very satisfying

What I am most proud of in my career…is my contribution to a site turnaround project as an acting ward manager for the Bedfordshire Mental health service (NHS). I took on this project without any prior experience and it was completed to the set timelines and within budget. Being accepted for the CQI practitioner grade in 2018 is another moment I cherish. Currently, I’m assisting a ground breaking project within my capacity as an SME. The goal is to use AI to develop a decision assist tool to assist with clinical decision-making. This has the potential to generate six-figure savings for the business by reducing variation in clinical decision outcomes.

My role's biggest challenge…is to provide consistent advice to my colleagues and generate audit outcomes that are satisfactory to all stakeholders. Each claim is unique, and the nature of the work is very sensitive. I have the responsibility to be consistently accurate as well as compassionate in my decision-making.

What I enjoy the most about my job...is that my actions have tangible consequences to a person’s quality of life – and that is very rewarding. I also enjoy the data mining and analysis aspect of my work, which require attention to detail. Each case is unique and additionally supporting colleagues on the phone means no two days are the same. I enjoy the variety and knowing that I can empower others to make robust clinical decisions is very satisfying.

My life philosophy…is there is always a more excellent way of doing things. Each day provides a fresh opportunity to fulfil my aspirations and inspire others along the way.

After work…I spend time with my family and try to manage time between volunteering opportunities for an international cultural foundation and Health Foundation UK. Besides finding the time for hobbies like gardening and reading autobiographies, once a week, I participate in a social club with other like-minded people to appreciate culture and discuss a range of topical issues. Listening to classical music I find, is a great way to unwind.