Clinical Audit

Clinical Audit
 
 The 2009 report from the Audit Commission, "Taking it on Trust", concluded that the use of clinical audit part of the Board assurance framework was poorly developed, with few NHS organisations setting out how clinical audit is used in a systematic way to address clinical risk.
 
Further benefits that can be derived from effective clinical audit were outlined in Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership's (HQIP) recently published Clinical audit: A simple guide for NHS Boards & partners. HQIP recognises that clinical audit offers a crucial component of the drive to improve quality. In the past, Boards have not always done enough to measure quality, but now they must do so, and clinical audit provides a mechanism for this.
 
The consultant revalidation process adds greater significance for Trusts to engage a strong clinical audit programme. The General Medical Council (GMC) in their Ready for Revalidation 2012 document, explicitly cite clinical audit as a measure to evaluate consultants' fitness to practise.
 
Audit South West has undertaken a number of reviews of clinical audit arrangements at a range of organisations. At one Foundation Trust, we successfully integrated the management of clinical audit and internal audit into a combined function. At another Acute Trust, we established the link between clinical audit and the Trust's Audit Committee. This relationship is strengthened through the proactive monitoring of HQIP's ten simple rules for NHS Boards, which we promoted.
 
Our experience of auditing clinical audit arrangements has identified that, although clinical audit activity is often very well planned and delivered at a directorate level, there is scope to increase its impact corporately through:
  • More effective planning - linking with corporate objectives, high level risks and the Board assurance framework.
  • Better use of Board level clinical performance indicators - integration with financial performance to improve planning and decision making.
  • Supporting your consultants in the process of revalidation.
  • More focused monitoring and delivery of clinical audit plans to ensure that priorities are met.
  • Supporting your Board in achieving HQIP's ten simple rules for NHS Boards.
  • Considering the visibility of the reporting of high level messages and risks at Board, Audit Committee or clinical governance committees.
  • Clarity on making recommendations for improvement, risk assessing these and conducting follow up work.

How can we help?

We can work with your clinical audit teams to advise a number of areas:

  • How planning and reporting methodologies can be improved to maximise impact and value.
  • Developing the clinical audit strategy.
  • Clinical audit plan monitoring and control.
  • Action planning and methods of follow up of recommendations to ensure corporate impact.

If you would like to find out more please contact:

Vikki Popple, Business Manager
T: 01803 656446      E: vikki.popple@nhs.net | www.auditsouthwest.co.uk