Clinical audit is a way to find out if healthcare is being provided in line with standards and lets care providers and patients know where their service is doing well, and where there could be improvements. The aim is to allow quality improvement to take place where it will be most helpful and will improve outcomes for patients. Clinical audits can look at care nationwide (national clinical audits) and local clinical audits can also be performed locally in trusts, hospitals or GP practices anywhere healthcare is provided.
NCAPOP audits are commissioned and managed on behalf of NHS England by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP). The programme comprises more than 30 national audits related to some of the most commonly-occurring conditions. These collect and analyse data supplied by local clinicians to provide a national picture of care standards for that specific condition. On a local level, NCAPOP audits provide local trusts with individual benchmarked reports on their compliance and performance, feeding back comparative findings to help participants identify necessary improvements for patients. Most of these projects involve services in England and Wales; some also include services from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
As well as the 30-plus national clinical audits, NCAPOP also encompasses the four Clinical Outcome Review Programmes (CORP). These help assess the quality of healthcare and stimulate improvement by enabling clinicians, managers and policy makers to learn from adverse events and other relevant data.
The National Quality Improvement & Clinical Audit Network, N-QI-CAN, is the ‘network of networks’ and has representation from all regional networks, some national/specialist networks and national groups such as royal colleges and HQIP.
NAGCAE provides policy and strategic advice to NHS England on clinical audit and enquiries. It was established to drive the reinvigoration of the national clinical audit programme and provide a national focus for discussion and advice on matters relating to clinical audit and enquiries.
The National Advisory Group for Clinical Audit & Enquiries (NAGCAE) was established in April 2008 (as the National Clinical Audit Advisory Group). It provides advice on clinical audit to NHS England. Unlike the two other core professional activities aiming to enhance health and social care quality, namely education and research, clinical audit had previously lacked a national strategy and a coherent programme of activities.
NAGCAE endeavours to meet its challenges by enhancing the existing programme of national clinical audits and enquiries, and seeking to support the many NHS staff involved in local audits and enquiries in their own Trusts. It also seeks to improve connections – between the centre and the periphery; between national clinical audits, regardless of their source of funding; between clinical enquiries into adverse outcomes; between quality assessment and quality improvement interventions such as revalidation, regulation and commissioning; and between clinical audit and other routine data collection in the NHS.
To achieve these goals, the members of NAGCAE reflect the diverse range of backgrounds, skills and interests that are needed to understand the challenges and devise appropriate policies:
Terms of Reference. NAGCAE’s responsibilities are: