Multi-site Clinical Audit Programme
Many clinicians would like to operate clinical audits of practice that covers specialties or interests that are not able to bid for national audit funding, either because the topic is not yet ready for that stage, or is regional, or is too specialised.
Around the country there are groups of clinicians with interests in specific conditions or less common treatments, or clusters of hospitals that share a common concern.
To stimulate these individuals and emerging clinical societies or groups in which they collaborate, as well as part of a wider drive to support clinician engagement in audit as a whole, the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) provides a funding programme to support the development of multi-site clinical audits within England. This programme provides funding under contract of up to £10,000 per annum for a maximum of three years for multi-site clinical audits.
Multi-site audits are those where different hospitals or other clinical sites based in different areas (eg GP practices) participate in a shared audit. To be eligible for funding, there needs to be a collaboration across different provider Trusts in other geographical areas. A single Trust, even if based on several hospital sites, cannot apply on its own but would have to work with at least nine other Trusts. Similarly, one GP practice needs to work with others and cannot submit on its own, even if it has more than one surgery.
Such audits often have a very different purpose from national audits; they may have an exploratory nature. Guidance and national standards in the field may not yet be formalised and the audit may be designed in part to contribute to their development, sometimes building on standards they themselves refined and use at local level or across a network of sites.
The majority of such audits have emerged from the clinical interests and enthusiasm of individual clinicians, getting together with their peers in clinical networks, often linked, sometimes quite loosely, with larger professional organisations and societies. However they often operate within sub-specialities which the larger societies, and their audits, may not focus on. Because they exist like this, very often they do not have any support, either financial or practical, other than in the time individuals may have been granted for audit.
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