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HQIP Chief Executive Robin Burgess

Clinical audit is very often the single best method of ensuring patient care that is provided for specific conditions is in line with best practice

Prostate cancer, breast cancer and learning difficulties included in raft of national clinical audit programmes commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership.

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) is pleased to announce that eleven new topics for national clinical audit are to join the 29 projects already forming the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP).

NCAPOP is commissioned and managed by HQIP on behalf of the Department of Health, and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley made the announcement on Saturday (22 October 2011).

The four topics selected for the current financial year are:

• Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
• Emergency Laparotomy
• The National Vascular Registry
• Prostate Cancer

The seven topics which are intended to be procured following this are:

• Healthcare for individuals with learning difficulties
• Specialist rehabilitation for patients with complex needs
• Chronic kidney disease in primary care
• Ophthalmology
• Breast cancer
• Rheumatoid and early inflammatory arthritis
• Healthcare for individuals with sexually transmitted diseases and HIV

The announcements follow a process which saw professionals working in all areas of health care invited to propose topics that, in their opinion, would benefit from the development of a national clinical audit to help drive quality improvement in that area.

A total of 39 proposals were received and the proposals were evaluated by the National Clinical Audit Advisory Group (NCAAG) against explicit criteria. The proposals were of unprecedented quality, which was felt to be representative of the increasing interest and engagement with clinical audit nationally.

Four of the 11 new clinical audits will begin the procurement process in the current financial year (2011/12) and the remaining seven will begin procurement upon confirmation of the following year’s funding allocation.

HQIP Chief Executive Robin Burgess cited the announcements as further recognition of the efficacy of clinical audit, in its fundamental remit of driving better patient care, and also in terms of creating greater efficiencies:

“Clinical audit is very often the single best method of ensuring patient care that is provided for specific conditions is in line with best practice. Clinical audit is not simply a measurement process. Clinical audit is a complete cycle that uses evidence based research, expressed in standards, as the base for its process; but after measuring compliance with those standards, good clinical audit should always involve a programme of improvement to drive tangible change in healthcare provision.

Clinical audit data is one of the very best ways that measurement of outcomes and improvement of these can be achieved. Audit data is of high quality, and the UK programme is amongst the very best in the world; it enables full measurement of quality and improves quality of care. Increasingly data will be released in a form that enables patients and commissioners to see exactly where the best care is provided, in line with the Government’s transparency and better information initiatives.

For instance, the National Hip Fracture Database measures hospital compliance with six key clinical standards of care. Between 2008 and 2010, hospitals consistently recording and benchmarking compliance with these standards via the Database, saw an associated reduction in the 30 day mortality in 30,000 of their hip fracture patients from 9.4% to 8%.”

On opportunities for greater efficiency, Burgess added: “Improving quality is a way of achieving economies. For example, where procedures – in line with evidence – are streamlined, interventions made to help people stay out of hospital or cases do not re-present because patients’ needs have been met. Quality improvement approaches such as clinical audit recoup their cost many times over where they point out changes that will benefit patients through more effective care.”

Ends

NOTES FOR EDITORS: HQIP was established in April 2008 to promote quality in healthcare, and in particular to increase the impact that clinical audit has on healthcare quality in England and Wales. It is led by a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and National Voices (formerly the Long-term Conditions Alliance). HQIP is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the Department of Health. HQIP promotes healthcare quality improvement, and in particular to increase the impact of clinical audit in England and Wales. HQIP holds commissions and funds the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP), covering care provided to people with a wide range of medical, surgical and mental health conditions. www.hqip.org.uk

PHOTOGRAPHY & INTERVIEWS: Contact the HQIP communication team via communications@hqip.org.uk. Tel: 020 7469 2522

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