Clinical audit is one of the ways we measure and improve the quality of care and services we provide.
The ‘New Principles of Best Practice in Clinical Audit' (2011) publication defines clinical audit as:
“a quality improvement cycle that involves measurement of the effectiveness of healthcare against agreed and proven standards for high quality, and taking action to bring practice in line with these standards so as to improve the quality of care and health outcomes.”
Put more simply; clinical audit measures the care and services provided against agreed standards and then makes necessary improvements in order to improve the quality of the care and services delivered.
The Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust undertakes both National and local clinical audit projects every year.
Each year the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership releases a list of National clinical audits and Trusts are required to undertake those which apply to the services they deliver. These National audits are designed to improve patient outcomes across a wide range of medical, surgical, community and mental health conditions.
The Trust also undertakes local clinical audits in order to address the needs of the local population and services. Local clinical audits are based on trends or incidents identified through risk, complaints, patient experiences, as well as taking into account high volume services, potential issues, Trust-wide and Locality chosen topics and areas where improvement may be required.
Both National and local audits are a required element in the Trust's Annual Summary Financial Statements and Quality Report.
Visit our Publications page to see our Annual Summary Financial Statements and Quality Report among other publications.
Clinical audit is a part of the Learning Network at the Trust, as the findings of clinical audit are shared in order to build on the skills and knowledge of staff to enhance the quality of care provided by the Trust.
National guidelines have been produced for many topics by organizations such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Clinical audit measures the quality of care and services against evidence-based standards, such as the guidelines issued by NICE. Clinical audit is regularly assessed within the Trust, keeping in mind these national guidelines that tell us what we should be doing, based on the best available evidence.
Further information on clinical audit is available via the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, a National body established in 2008 to promote quality in healthcare, and in particular to increase the impact that clinical audit has on healthcare quality in England and Wales.
If you would like more information about clinical audit contact:
Robert Donlevy, Clinical Audit and NICE Manager
Clinical Audit and NICE Team,
Telephone: 01228 608326