Quality Improvement and Development Team Blog
Members of HQIP's Quality Improvement and Development Team will blog here regularly, reporting on initiatives to support clinical audit at a local level:
20 May 2013: Clinical divisions showcase their best practice in Leicester
By: Mandy Smith
I was in Leicester last week for the University Hospitals Leicester Clinical Audit Leads Forum. Carl Walker, Clinical Audit Manager had arranged an interesting programme, covering diverse topics such as the interaction between clinical audit and medical revalidation, the way the respiratory team at the hospitals are using IT to support the audit process, and the challenges faced by those who take on the role of clinical audit lead. I was able to give an update on HQIP's plans, including the latest developments in the ‘Everyone Counts' project - you can find more information here: http://www.hqip.org.uk/everyone-counts/
The event began with the final stage of the annual clinical audit competition and presentations from each of the four clinical divisional winners. Again, the topics reflected the range of audit activity across the trust, both in local audit and in participation in national projects. The Acute division presentation was about the local improvements that have been made following participation in the MINAP, and those of you who were at the London LINAP workshop will have heard a similar report about the improvements made by the London Chest Hospital.
A presentation on the re-audit of antibiotic prophylaxis in fractured neck of femur patients showed not only an improvement in care but also the importance of doing more than simply changing policy. The improvement was brought about by publicising the change and re-educating colleagues.
Local concerns in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the UK were reflected in a presentation on audit of access to familial cancer susceptibility clinics - a very newsworthy subject given the recent publicity for Angelina Jolie's decision after discovering her familial cancer risk.
The winner - chosen by a panel vote - was a re-audit of patient warming and perioperative hypothermia. An initial audit against the NICE guidance (CG65) had shown shortfalls, so the trust acted by trialling a new system (Inditherm Patient Warming - see NICE MTG7). An audit of the trial showed both an improvement in compliance with the NICE standards, and the potential for significant cost savings. The new equipment will now be introduced across the trust, with repeated audits to ensure any problems are monitored and addressed.
If you or your organisation is considering putting on an event like this and you would like to hear from HQIP please do contact us.
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15 May 2013: Keeping in touch in changing times
By: Mandy Smith
The last few months have been busy for everyone as we went through the preparation for and implementation of all the changes in the NHS which came into force on 1 April 2013. When so many organisations are changing their names, their roles or relationships and individuals are moving as well, it's very easy for key contacts to get broken or lost.
During times like these, the regional clinical audit networks can provide a valuable resource in maintaining links. By helping the networks, HQIP can ensure that we keep our contact lists as up to date and accurate as possible too.
Liz and I have been working through all the available resources to try and identify all of the NHS care providers and care commissioners who might be eligible for membership of the networks - we will then be asking the networks for their help. We will share with the information we have gathered and we will ask:
- how many of these organisations are in touch with the regional clinical audit networks?
- how many are active participants, and which have never been heard from?
We want to make sure that we hold up to date information on who to contact in the organisations, and for those who are not in touch with the networks we can try direct approaches to try and build new links.
You can help by making sure you keep both your local network chair and HQIP are informed if you or your organisation change names or contact details. Hope to see you at your network meeting soon!
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11 February 2013: Sharing good practice across the networks
By: Mandy Smith
CASnet, the clinical audit support network for the East Midlands, took a fresh approach to their meeting on Tuesday 5 February. With the support of the HQIP networks fund, they organised a training event for network members, and invited Nancy Dixon of Healthcare Quality Quest to run a workshop. The title was ‘Time to raise the game on clinical audit'. Nancy challenged the delegates to consider how they felt clinical audit was working in their own organisations, and to take a critical look at the way audits are designed. Working on practical examples provoked a lot of discussion.
The afternoon session was on achieving improvement, and again the delegates had an opportunity to review some examples of action plans. The chance to share common problems and debate issues with colleagues was much appreciated - as is so often the case at network events.
Carl Walker, Marina Otley and the other members of the CASnet team did an excellent job in finding a venue in Leicester and arranging the day. The event boosted attendance at the meeting and hopefully will encourage more trusts to stay in regular contact. If any other networks are thinking of inviting a guest speaker or putting on a similar event, the details of how to apply for funding are here: http://www.hqip.org.uk/clinical-audit-networks-fund/
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28 January 2013: Dashing through the snow to the National Foundation Doctors Presentation Day
By: Mandy Smith
The train service between the Midlands and Bristol is a bit more sophisticated than a one horse open sleigh, but still presents challenges when the weather is as bad as it was on Friday 18 January. Under the circumstances the attendance at the National Foundation Doctors Presentation Day could have suffered badly, but the weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the participants. The quality of the presentations was again very high, although it was noticeable that there were fewer conventional clinical audits and more quality improvement projects using a range of other methodologies. This reflects the shift in the content of the new curriculum which came into operation last July.
I was asked to be one of the judges for the oral presentations. The runner up in this category was an excellent example of a traditional audit. Dr Sarah Sanderson, Dr Mhairi Murdoch and Dr Anna Lowdon audited anaphylaxis management, following an incident which demonstrated that their colleagues were uncertain about the procedure and dosage to use when administering adrenaline in anaphylaxis. They undertook a case note audit and used a staff questionnaire to reveal problems with the equipment used and the documentation of care, and came up with some simple but effective ways of addressing the problems.
Anaphylaxis is a dangerous but relatively rare condition, and the winning project addressed a much more common problem. Junior doctors on call are often faced with having to make decisions about escalating the treatment of patients without detailed knowledge of the patient's circumstances. In the most extreme of cases, they may be guided by ‘Do Not Attempt to Resuscitate' forms, but guidance in less critical situations can be given by having ‘Ceiling of Treatment' documentation in the notes. The Royal United Hospital, Bath had introduced a pro-forma, but an audit of case notes on the elderly care wards by Dr Mark Dahill and Dr Louise Powter showed that the forms were not being used. They went on to use PDSA cycles to redesign the forms, and a second data collection showed both a significant increase in the use of the forms and in the perceived usefulness of this type of documentation.
Both of these projects showed that it is not the data collection or analysis that makes a quality improvement project effective - it is the changes that are made to practice as a result.
The prize winners in the poster competition were:
Audit / Quality Improvement - two prizes were awarded
- Dr Markand Patel, Dr Mark Harris, Dr Ian Tapply and Mr Robert Longman for an audit of guidelines for extended VTE prophylaxis in colorectal cancer patients (this project also won the BMJ prize)
- Dr David Ledingham and Dr Rakesh Modi for a series of audits of cardiovascular health monitoring in patients with psychotic illness in both primary and secondary care
Original work: Mr Matt Fell, Mr Filippo Boriani and Mr Umraz Khan for a comparative study of lower limb reconstruction following open fractures in Bristol, Italy and Pakistan.
Case reports:Dr Jane Ding and Dr Leonie Perera for a case study of a toddler with ‘watery wee' - whose symptoms had been caused by the inappropriate use of herbal remedies.
Congratulations to all the prize winners!
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27 November 2012: Joining forces across the North West
By: Mandy Smith
The four clinical audit networks operating in the old North West SHA region came together on 14 November for a joint meeting. The meeting was supported by HQIP from the Clinical Audit Networks Fund and hosted by Mersey Internal Audit Agency.
The event was chaired by David Gozzard, a former medical director who many of you may have heard speak at some of our previous workshops. Simon Bennett from the Department of Health spoke about the plans for the new contract for national audit commissioning and local audit support, although he wasn't able to announce who will hold the contract at that stage (I am delighted of course that we were able to confirm the contract today).
Yvonne Silove from the HQIP national team gave a presentation about the process which HQIP follows to develop the contract specification for new national audits. Local audit staff are invited through NAGG and therefore through their network chairs to play a part in this process so if it is something you are interested in, contact your network chair in the first instance.
I gave an update on some of the issues which audit staff are facing at the moment, then the rest of the day was handed over to the four networks, who each provided a presenter. Heather Pratt from the Cumbria and Lancashire network spoke about the work which HQIP has been involved in with Morecambe Bay Hospitals, which I've written about in earlier blogs. Dr Soraya Meah from the Greater Manchester network spoke about supra district audit, and Michael Spry from the Mersey network spoke about auditing the fractured neck of femur pathway at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
I particularly enjoyed the presentation from Jackie Fishwick of the North West Mental Health network. She talked about the ‘Audit Days' approach which has been adopted by 5 Boroughs Partnership Trust - how to carry out an audit from data collection to action planning in a single day.
As a tribute to the venue (the conference facilities at Haydock Park racecourse) there was also an entertaining display by the North West Mental Health network of the audit cycle as a horse race. Not sure who I would put my money on, but we all recognised the obstacles - and the creativity that audit staff need to overcome them!
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15 October 2012: NEDs - tools and events to help you help them
By: Liz Smith
Over the past few weeks I have been sitting on many railway stations clutching a ticket for my destination as my colleague Mandy and I have been criss-crossing the country to facilitate the ‘Local Improvement from National Clinical Audit' workshops.
As we welcome delegates from a wide range of backgrounds and organisations it is always a challenge to create workshop content that will be useful for our diverse audiences. The events held so far have evaluated well with more than 90% of delegates rating the content as 'good' or 'excellent'.
What is apparent is that some trusts are still not fully aware of their statutory and mandatory requirements in relation to clinical audit, and that some trust boards are not fully engaged in providing strategic leadership for clinical audit and quality improvement.
If possible, we recommend that clinical audit managers and professionals identify a Non-Executive Director (NED) with whom they can develop a close working relationship who is then able to support teams at board level and act as an ally. We already have e-learning for NEDs, and later this year we are holding a series of regional workshops (please book soon as places are going fast) specifically designed for this role. Many delegates have put this idea as an action to take back to their trust.
The experiences of our guest speakers, both from local trusts and the HSCIC, have been particularly valued and needless to say the ability to network and learn from other trusts is a key feature of all the workshops. The sessions on action planning and change management were also well received as for some clinical audit teams this is fairly new territory.
Everyone has left with a determination to review, and where necessary improve, their organisational processes in respect of national clinical audit and how they use national results for local quality improvement as well as providing evidence for regulators, Quality Accounts and their local communities.
For those unable to attend we will make presentations from each venue available on the HQIP website shortly. In addition, if you would like further local support please contact Mandy or myself.
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20 September 2012: Back to the bay to take the audit agenda forward
In June I wrote about a successful audit event arranged by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay. HQIP was invited back to the trust to run a full day event which took place last Friday. The aim was once again to bring clinical audit leads together, this time with service managers and clinical audit staff, to develop their plans for taking the clinical audit agenda forward. Many of the trusts' non-executive directors (NEDs) are new in post, and those that were able to attend gained a new insight into the way the trust operates. Here are some of the comments from the event evaluation forms:
From a NED: ‘Good opportunity to meet clinical colleagues and understand the nature of audit activities in the Trust'
From a clinical audit facilitator: In response to the question, ‘What did you find most useful about the workshop?' this reply, ‘Re-affirmation of knowledge. Having clinicians hear from an official third party exactly the same things we have been telling them validates us.' From a clinical audit lead: ‘Discussing the practicalities of forming and delivering a forward audit programme. For a trust which is spread out across a wide geographical area, the opportunity to meet colleagues and network was also felt to be valuable.'
The list of actions which the delegates intended to take following the workshop was impressive. Most focussed on sharing what they had learned with their colleagues, looking in detail at how they put their audit programme together, and being more pro-active in chasing uncompleted projects and action plans that had not been implemented. We hope to see several of the NEDs at the workshops we are running later this year - booking details are here: http://hqip.org.uk/workshops-non-executive-directors/.
Heather Pratt, the UHMB clinical audit manager, will be reporting back on the experience of running the event at a joint meeting of the clinical audit networks in the North West which is being hosted by Mersey Internal Audit Agency in November. If you work in clinical audit in the North West and would like to know more about this event please contact Cath Joinson (firstname.lastname@example.org / 0151 285 4500) or your local network chair.
The next few months are going to be particularly busy for the QID team, with a full programme of workshops, conferences and other events taking place. I look forward to seeing many of you soon.
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30 July 2012: Out and about in the West and South
SWANS: It was good to join members of the South West Audit Network (SWANs) for their regular summer meeting. This is one of the longest running regional forums and HQIP is pleased to be able to continue to support it. Interestingly, there was a new member present who works in social care. He was keen to know more about the clinical audit and quality improvement process as there is nothing entirely similar in the social care field. This reflects the scoping work that HQIP has undertaken in relation to developing a quality improvement methodology for social care, as well as reflecting the changing face of health and social care providers and organisations.
I enjoyed Jo Bird's update on the multi-site partnership working project that she gave at the Clinical Audit and Improvement Conference in February. The project is an excellent example of cross-sector working which is an area that we feel will become more important. Attendance on the day was slightly down on the SWANs usually high numbers and this is a picture that Mandy and I are seeing across other networks. I hope that this is because people have been are taking early holidays and not because they are having local difficulties.
NHSLA group: As you will be aware the NHSLA now has a substantive standard for Clinical Audit. HQIP colleagues have worked closely with the NHSLA and their provider organisation (DNV) to create effective criteria at all three levels. Recently, I was asked by DNV to talk to a regional group of trust risk managers about the work of HQIP and support available to trusts. The group were particularly interested in the newly updated HQIP schedule of statutory and mandatory requirements - http://www.hqip.org.uk/statutory-and-mandatory-requirements/. This, along with using our template clinical audit policy, clinical audit strategy, and programme guide, will enable trusts to form the basis of their evidence for the clinical audit standard (2.1). More details are available on the NHSLA website (http://www.nhsla.com/RiskManagement/)
After my presentation I stayed to listen to a talk by the risk manager of a trust who gained NHSLA level three last year. Although this was not specifically in relation to clinical audit she highlighted some important issues including good planning and senior engagement from an early stage, monitoring and keeping in touch with nominated standard leads. It would appear that in some trusts clinical audit staff do not always know who their NHSLA lead is; planning and communication seem to be the way towards success!
Kingston Hospital: Finally, along with Kirsty Maclean Steele from the clinical audit team at NICE, I attended the annual Clinical Audit Seminar at Kingston Hospital. We both commented that this was an outstandingly well organised event well on a par with some national conferences we had attended. I was particularly impressed that each division was allocated a mini-session which was chaired by the divisional director. Along with questions and discussions this gave the overall impression of everyone being engaged in clinical audit and quality improvement at all levels within the organisation.
Kirsty and I also remarked that as we both attend lots of similar events that we see presentations on similar subjects. Health record keeping is a popular subject and we often see the final slide say ‘re-audit in....' without any proposed actions. One of the prize winning presentations was on orthopaedic operation documentation which contained an action plan and re-audit showing improvement. All the presentations and posters were of a high standard and with some additional input one or two could make some significant cost savings too.
As two non-executive directors were present, and taking a keen interest in the presentations and discussion, I was pleased to be able to show them HQIPs recently published e-learning for NEDs and our other best practice guides. Well done to Anne Jones and her team for organising such a good event.
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6 July 2012: Clinical Audit Innovation Awards
Congratulations to Gaynor Smith and Dr Anthony Choules and all their colleagues at Burton Hospitals NHS FT for winning the CASC Clinical Audit Innovation Award, which was presented at the CASC conference on Wednesday 4 July. They have developed a trust-wide, collaborative approach to clinical audit support and training for junior doctors which has reaped rewards both for the trust and for the trainees.
The winner was chosen by conference vote after hearing from four nominees - all four had found interesting and innovative ways of increasing engagement in clinical audit. Mid Cheshire Hospitals described their annual clinical audit forum, which brings together divisional and specialty clinical audit leads to plan and prepare the trust's clinical audit programme. NHS Blood and Transplant face a unique set of challenges, but have been able to increase the profile and impact of clinical audit by developing their clinical audit management processes to ensure actions are implemented.
The final nominee was the Central Manchester University Hospitals Clinical Audit and Risk Management Fair. This is an annual celebration of work taking place across the trust, and at the last event over 160 posters were on display, with 450 staff attending over two days. I represented HQIP at the event in 2010 and 2011, and I was impressed both by the quality of the work on show and by the buzz of enthusiasm which it generated.
I hope that some of the clinical audits which have been inspired, supported or completed as a result of these projects will feature in the 2013 HQIP Clinical Audit Awards. If you are still wondering whether to submit a project you have until 5pm on Tuesday 10 July to get your entry in. Click here for more information or email email@example.com.
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28 June 2012: In praise of Clinical Audit Network Chairs
Earlier this week, at a meeting of clinical audit chairs in the North West, I had the privilege of holding an Olympic torch. The opportunity arose because Janette Mills, Quality and Standards Manager for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Community Health Services, was a torch bearer in the relay, and she brought the torch she carried through Cleveleys, Lancashire to the meeting on 22 June. She was nominated because of the role she has played in the setting up and maintaining the NHS Blackpool & Council netball and football leagues. More than 300 people have benefited from the sporting activities she helps to organise, with at least a 100 people taking part on a weekly basis.
Of course in clinical audit circles, she is well known as the former Chair of the North West Mental Health Network, and current Chair of the Lancashire and Cumbria Clinical Audit Network. It's harder to quantify the number of people who have benefitted from her efforts on behalf of these groups, but her efforts are just as deserving of praise. At a time of upheaval and reorganisation for many clinical audit staff, the networks can provide some measure of continuity, and all of the people who chair the networks or help to plan and organise training and networking events for their colleagues deserve our thanks.
This brings me on to the MEAN conference, held earlier this month at Worcester Royal Hospital. The MEAN steering group, led by Val Bailey, had worked hard to put on an interesting and varied programme. Dr Maurice Conlon, the Programme Director for the NHS Revalidation Support Team, gave a very positive view of the important role which clinical audit will play in revalidation, and both HQIP and NICE ran workshops. In the afternoon members of the steering group gave short presentations on hot topics, and one that particularly caught my attention was from Steven Hazeldine of South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare. He spoke about how his clinical audit team had handled CQUINS audits. They are a thorny issue for many trusts, and he identified a long list of challenges, but he also highlighted the positive benefits - the focus on areas of real concern, the support which is given to these projects as trust priorities, and the improvement in the profile and credibility of the clinical audit team which results. His key message was the importance of involving clinical audit expertise at the time the CQUINS audits and targets are planned and agreed - an important lesson for all trusts and their commissioners.
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20 June 2012: Quality in Secondary Care - supporting clinical audit leads
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust operates from three main university hospital sites: Furness General Hospital, Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Westmorland General Hospital. Each hospital has a range of ‘General Hospital' services, with full Accident & Emergency Departments, Critical/Coronary Care units and consultant led beds at Barrow and Lancaster plus a Primary Care Assessment Service with GP led inpatient beds in Kendal.
Last week I was invited by the Trust Clinical Audit Manager Heather Pratt to speak at a meeting for the clinical audit leads and divisional management teams from across the trust. The meeting was very well attended, and gave the participants an opportunity to discuss many aspects of their role.
After listening to opening presentations from Heather and from me, the participants heard a presentation from Christiane Shrimpton, the clinical audit lead in Ophthalmology and divisional audit lead for surgery, about the challenges of the role.
The bulk of the meeting was taken up with facilitated workshops. Working in divisional groups, the clinicians tried to answer some very specific questions:
- How will audit leads ascertain and clarify the divisional priorities?
- How will divisional management teams support the development of action plans following an audit, so that audit action plans are implemented?
- How will specialty audit reports be provided?
- What support will audit leads (and others) need?
There was also an opportunity to discuss the terms of reference for specialty audit meetings, and the clinical audit lead role specification.
Clinicians who take on the role of clinical audit lead can play a crucial role in ensuring the success of clinical audit within their specialty, both in terms of the amount of clinical audit which is undertaken and the impact which it has on the quality of services. HQIP has produced guidance to help them (http://www.hqip.org.uk/assets/Guide-for-clinical-audit-leads-21-Mar-11.pdf ) and the trust is to be congratulated on giving audit leads the opportunity to come together in this way.
Feedback from the participants after the event was positive, and Heather and Christiane commented that the workshops were an excellent opportunity to allow collaborative, cross-bay working spanning across all divisions and specialties. Following this initial meeting the trust has made plans for future clinical audit leads meetings and they have invited HQIP into the trust to deliver a workshop to support the clinical audit leads.
HQIP is happy to support individual trusts who are considering putting on similar events. See our contact details below >
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30 May 2012: Quality in Primary Care and Revalidation
As the SHAs have clustered, some of the quality observatories have followed. Earlier this month I attended an event hosted by the Midlands and East Quality Observatory (MEQO), which was formed by the merger of the West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England observatories. The aim of the event, entitled ‘Improving Quality and Safety in Primary Care', was to support Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and their member practices in understanding the quality improvement possibilities open to them, and to provide a forum to explore the future relationships with the NHS Commissioning Board and its role in primary care commissioning. Many of the delegates were GPs or CCG leads, but it was interesting to meet a number of colleagues who until recently were working in clinical audit, and who have now moved into roles in CCG governance or in Commissioning Support Services organisations formed from PCTs.
One of the key themes was the range of tools and resources which are available to practices - and therefore to CCGs - to manage and interpret the volume of practice based data which is already in the public domain. Understanding the causes of variation and reducing unacceptable variation is a powerful quality improvement technique which is already delivering benefits. The discussion focused on how to ensure that valid measures of quality are used to compare practices, and that data is timely and accurate.
The NHS Institute for Improvement has expanded the ‘Productive' series to include ‘Productive General Practice'. Anyone who works in quality improvement will be aware of the benefits of using other products in the series, and a GP from one of the early implementers gave a workshop on his experiences. However, I was interested to find that for GPs the series is not free - either the practice or the CCG has to purchase a licence and the support they feel they need to implement the package.
In a day devoted to quality improvement, clinical audit was rarely mentioned, and this is probably an accurate reflection of how clinical audit is currently perceived in primary care. HQIP has commissioned new e-learning packages for GPs which will be available from September 2012. We will be promoting these packages along with other tools at the RCGP regional conferences on revalidation this autumn. As well as understanding how clinical audit can support their professional revalidation, GPs need to understand how clinical audit can improve the quality of services provided by their practice. As their role in commissioning services develops, they will also need to assess clinical audit data on the quality of the services they commission. This will undoubtedly have an impact on the content of local clinical audit programmes. HQIP is committed to providing support and guidance to both commissioners and providers to help this process develop.
You can find out more about the event and access some of the presentations here: http://www.meqo.nhs.uk/News/tabid/168/EntryId/21/Improving-Quality-and-Safety-in-Primary-Care.aspx
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29 May 2012: Resources for clinicians who act as clinical audit leads
Over the past few weeks my colleague Mandy and I have been in contact with many clinical audit specialists to get the names and contact details of lead clinicians in healthcare organisation who act as clinical audit lead.
Many thanks to those who have already responded, however, we are aware that because of organisational changes we have not yet been able to reach all trusts. If you have not heard directly from us please can you email either Mandy or me with the name and contact details of your clinical audit lead clinician as we want to let them and you know about the resources we already have available and new developments with partner organisations.
For further details please contact us:
For the East of England, London and the South: Liz Smith (07946 545 361; firstname.lastname@example.org)
For the Midlands and the North: Mandy Smith (07946 545 279; email@example.com)
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4 May 2012: Mandy Smith: Clinical audit in orthopaedics
On Tuesday 1 May I attended the annual meeting of OICAN (Orthopaedics International Clinical Audit Network), hosted by the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedics Hospital (RJAH) in Oswestry, Shropshire. Delegates included orthopaedic surgeons and other clinicians from both general and specialist orthopaedic hospitals, clinical audit and clinical governance leads and patients.
Audit networks based on clinical specialities can develop a very clear focus on the key issues that matter to their patients. The delegates heard speakers from two of the major national orthopaedic projects - the National Joint Registry and the National Hip Fracture Database - and there was a particular emphasis on the ways in which these projects can and do lead to real improvements in patient outcomes. In fact in fact the analysis of data on outcomes was a theme throughout the meeting, with presentations on the National PROMS project in Orthopaedics, on the Epsom Orthopaedic Centre's outcomes programme, and how one of the local trusts has reduced morbidity and mortality by carrying out a detailed continuous audit of unexpected deaths following orthopaedic surgery.
Another theme which recurred during the day was the close relationship between quality and cost. Good quality orthopaedic care costs less - it results in shorter inpatient stays, fewer post-operative infections, fewer readmissions or revisions and better outcomes for patients. Trust Boards are increasingly taking this message on board, and the Chief Executive of RJAH spoke about how they have used the HQIP board guidance (http://www.hqip.org.uk/boards-and-clinical-audit/) to develop their own processes for considering clinical audit reports and quality improvement projects at board level.
Congratulations should go to Cormac Kelly (who leads the network) and Alison Whitelaw for their work in organising the event.
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4 April 2012: Liz Smith: Bart's and the London Trust Clinical Audit Competition and National Audit Forum 2012
My colleague Alex Bird and I were recently asked to judge and award prizes at this event (Friday 30 March) to celebrate the Trust's national and local clinical audit programme.
Competition was stiff with 23 entries for the ‘trainee' category and twelve for the ‘speciality/team' group. Judging competitions on behalf of Trusts is an enjoyable, if sometimes challenging, part of our varied roles. All thirty-five projects were sent to us in advance along with the Trust scoring matrix and after much deliberation we agreed the following results:
Team prize: Child Development Team "Family Satisfaction with the CDT and Specialist Children's Services".
Trainee: Fiona Riddoch "Clinical audit of urine free cortisol requesting".
There was also a Trust nominated prize for the best Speciality Audit Programme 2011/12 which was won by Maternity. Well done to everyone who submitted a project, the final results were very close in both categories.
On the day itself we heard presentations on the implementation of local change as a result of national clinical audits. We were inspired by some of the amazing outcomes and re-engineering of services that have come about as a result of national audit results being used as part of wider processes, including the new build on the Royal London site and the Trust's merger with two other east London organisations. We felt that this work, particularly the MINAP project, should be shared more widely with the local community. We understand that Bart's Health is building on the success of the day and already planning another event later in the year.
Mandy and I are happy to be involved with your local trust clinical audit event provided we have dates well in advance!
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20 March 2012: Mandy Smith: Antipsychotic prescribing in dementia care
One of the speakers at the YEARN (Yorkshire Effectiveness and Audit Regional Network) meeting last week was Mubashir Fazlee, a pharmacist currently on secondment to South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust. His subject was the ongoing project which the Trust has undertaken to improve the quality of care provided to patients with dementia, which links to the POMH-UK (Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health) Topic 11 clinical audit on the use of antipsychotics in dementia.
In 2009, the Department of Health published a report on the use of this type of medication in treating patients with dementia entitled ‘Time for action'. The report highlighted the substantial clinical risk involved, with a conservative estimate of 1,800 extra deaths and 820 extra serious adverse events such as stroke per year. The South West Yorkshire Partnership project, ‘The Right Prescription', was aimed at reducing the level of prescribing both in primary and secondary care.
A baseline audit showed that many of the problems which had been identified nationally were also of local importance, but what was particularly interesting was the way in which the local clinical audit team had contributed to the quality improvement interventions which have been put in place. One of the key steps was the introduction of local guidelines and a flow chart and checklist to assist clinicians who had to assess patients or review their medication. The clinical audit team were involved in the development of this documentation, which means that as well as being useful for the clinicians, it should also be easy to audit in the future.
The project team took a creative approach in getting their message out to the widest possible audience, including patients and carers. A simple but effective approach was to supply paper bags to pharmacies printed with project information, advising anyone who had concerns to talk to their GP. A more sophisticated approach was to include a QR code which anyone with a Smartphone can scan to get access to the information on the project website.
You can find out more about the project on the website here: http://www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/useful-information/antipsychotic-drugs/
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24 February 2012: Mandy Smith: Junior doctors and clinical audit
It was good to see some junior doctors presenting the outcomes of clinical audits at the recent Clinical Audit and Improvement conference in London. Shortly after that event, I went to Bristol, where the Severn Foundation School hosted the second annual National Foundation Doctors Presentation Day. This event is supported by the UK Foundation Programme Office and a number of other national organisations (including HQIP). It brings together doctors in training from across the country. I was very happy to sit on the judging panel which heard 23 presentations of clinical audits, research and other quality improvement projects. Other judging panels considered the 35 clinical audit posters and 32 posters of original work which had made it through an initial review into the final competition.
The range of topics under consideration was very wide. The projects included clinical audit, research, and also some of the more creative approaches which junior doctors are taking to help themselves, setting up peer-led groups to provide mutual support through some of the more thorny aspects of modern medical training. This did not make judging easy, but it did make for a fascinating day. First and second place in each of the three categories won both cash and a trophy in the form of an engraved Bristol Blue glass paperweight. As the overall standard of the presentations was so high the judges also commended a number of other projects for their combination of technical quality, relevance, impact on services and for the obvious enthusiasm of the presenters for their projects.
First prize for the oral presentations went to Dr Daniel Hill, who looked at the possible effects on theatre staff from the smoke which is generated by diathermy. This smoke is as mutagenic as cigarette smoke, and his study showed that the amount generated in a UK plastic surgery theatre could amount to the equivalent of up to 30 cigarettes a day. His survey of UK plastic surgery units revealed that only 66% of them had smoke extractor devices available, and that they were not always used. The Health and Safety Executive recommend the use of specialist smoke extractors but clearly the theatre staff themselves need to be aware of the potential risk they may be running from this unusual form of passive smoking.
Second prize went to Dr Karen Grewal, who had developed a scoring system to help GPs identify women who should be referred for ultrasound investigations for possible ovarian cancer. Delayed diagnosis is often a problem with this disease, but a case controlled study had shown a pattern of associated symptoms. The purpose of the scoring system was to enable GPs to apply this research, and aid GP led investigations.
Highly commended presenters included Dr Pei Gee Chew, who carried out an audit of the use of HS Troponin T against NICE guidelines, Dr Andy Caldin, who looked at measures to reduce the number of unnecessary admissions to A&E from nursing homes, and Dr Philippa King, who looked at the acceptability of home based care for children with bronchiolitis. The judges also commended Dr Harry Cutler and Dr Amrit Samra for their innovative approach to peer led support for foundation year doctors compiling their e-portfolios - the official record of their achievements and competencies.
It is inspiring to see junior doctors who are willing to take the driving seat in improving not only their own training but also the safety of their colleagues and patients and the quality of the care they provide.
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8 February 2012: Mandy Smith: More from the North West
The North West Mental Health Network started its year on Monday 30 January with a meeting to develop a work plan for the group. The final document included several things which all networks need to do on a regular basis to make sure they are still effective and fit for purpose, such as reviewing the Terms of Reference. At a time when many organisations are changing and merging and individuals are changing roles and responsibilities, it's also important to review and update the membership list.
One of the key technical areas which the group identified was NICE Quality Standards. They plan to collaborate, both on reviewing the standards during the consultation phase, and on developing methods for monitoring compliance. The group has concerns about some of the standards which have already been published. As Ema O'Neill-Jones from the NICE audit support team was at the meeting she offered to take some of the comments back to her colleagues in the Quality Standards team. All of the members of the group will be responding to the current consultation on Quality Standards - it runs until 13 March. It was announced on NCAF here: http://www.hqip.org.uk/ncaf/pg/announcements/view/50365 and you can find all the details on the NICE website here: http://www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/qualitystandards/qualitystandards.jsp.
The first Greater Manchester Clinical Audit Network meeting of the year also had attendance from NICE - Sally Sutcliffe from the audit support team spoke about the updated audit template which is now in use. We will be working with Sally and the other members of the NICE team to produce a simplified version of this template which trusts can use to create their own audit templates on the Clinical Audit Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) - a topic which I will be coming back to in future blogs. Sally also mentioned the current NICE consultation on indicators for the Commissioning Outcomes Framework - again you can see the announcement on NCAF (http://www.hqip.org.uk/ncaf/pg/announcements/view/51073) and get more details from the NICE website here: http://www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/cof/ConsultationOnCOFIndicators.jsp.
Members of the network discussed plans for future meetings. As well as inviting speakers from national organisations such as the CQC and NHSLA, the discussion focussed on the importance of sharing the expertise that already exists within the group - one of the key functions for all networks.
Finally, I had the opportunity to catch up with some of my former colleagues from the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. Recently they achieved level 2 in their NHSLA assessment, and the assessor was very happy with the evidence they presented to show compliance with the clinical audit standard (now standard 2.1 - see the updated ‘Statutory and Mandatory Requirements for Clinical Audit here http://www.hqip.org.uk/assets/LQIT-uploads/Statutory-Mandatory31-1-2012.doc). The assessor was particularly impressed with their use of project briefs as part of the audit planning process. HQIP has asked the Senior Clinical Auditors (Clare Fleming and Vicky Lewis) to write up a case study of their experience which will be on our website ASAP.
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28 January 2012: Mandy Smith: Planning for new challenges
When it comes to supporting local clinical audit networks, Liz and I split the country between us. Liz looks after the East of England, London and the south, while I take the Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and the north. Several of the networks in my patch have had meetings in the last couple of weeks, and as always there have been some interesting discussions. National clinical audit is always high on the list for debate, but each of the networks had had other issues to raise, many connected with plans for the coming year.
At YEARN there was feedback from their successful conference in November, which I mentioned in my first blog, and a discussion about the implications of the NHS operating framework for 2012.
At CASnet (for the East Midlands) the meeting took on a new format, following a network wide consultation. As well as a brief business meeting to discuss future plans, there were two facilitated discussions on topics of current interest. The first, led by Marina Otley and Roger Simpson, was on the approaches which the members of the network take in compiling their clinical audit programmes. A lot of the discussion focussed on the HQIP guidance, and I was happy to be able to tell the group that many of the concerns that they had about the old version of the guidance have been addressed in the new version, which is now out on the website (http://www.hqip.org.uk/clinical-audit-resources-3/).
The second session, led by Sian Thomas of the East Midlands Internal Audit Service and Stephen Ashmore of CASC, was about the tricky question of costing clinical audit. In the current financial climate, how can we demonstrate that clinical audit is good value for money? To what extent should clinical audit be used to save money? I was happy to contribute some examples of audits which have saved money from our case studies (http://www.hqip.org.uk/case-studies/). Roger Simpson is interested in developing ideas for costing clinical audits and will be posting a discussion thread on NCAF.
Most of the old SHA regions have just one clinical audit network, but the North West has four. The Liverpool and Merseyside group met yesterday, and items on the agenda included their plans for a conference on 2 March - contact Jacqui Parry at Liverpool Womens Hospital for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org). The meeting was hosted by Aintree Hospital, and started with the presentation of an audit of nephrology referrals by one of their junior doctors. Debi Moorcroft, the Clinical Standards Manager at Aintree, gave a summary of the work which the trust is doing to develop clinical audit. It was very encouraging to hear about their determination to see that clinical audit achieves its full potential - particularly when other trusts are cutting clinical audit resources.
If you don't already attend the meetings of your local network, think about joining - there is much to be gained.
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13 January 2012: Liz Smith: Data Sharing and Information Governance seminar
As part of its commitment to improving the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcome Programme (NCAPOP), outlined in the HQIP four point plan published in November 2011, we have arranged a series of free quarterly seminars covering a range of topics related to improving aspects of the NCA programme. Although originally aimed at project providers and contractors, the QID would like to bring these sessions to the attention of local clinical audit teams as we feel that some of the topics covered would also be useful at a local level. We understand that there are still some places available, on a first come first served basis, for the inaugural 2012 event covering Data Sharing and Information Governance to be held on Monday 20 February between 9am and 1pm at the Wellcome Trust, Euston Road, London.
Further details of this, and future events, plus booking details are available on NCAF here: http://www.hqip.org.uk/ncaf/pg/event_calendar/view/50388
Attendance at these half day events will not only give local clinical audit staff access to top class speakers but also the opportunity to meet and network with some of the national clinical audit project suppliers.
With our best wishes for 2012 - we look forward to continuing our work with you.
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19 December 2011: Mandy Smith: Interesting questions
When I am not out on my travels a proportion of my time is spent dealing with queries that some in to HQIP. Some are straightforward, but some are more challenging and I certainly don't attempt to answer them all from my own clinical audit experience. The aim is to find someone who has expertise in a particular area and then share the reply with my colleagues at HQIP so that we all learn a little more.
Sometimes a query comes in which highlights the need for us to update the information on the website. A recent example was a query from the Clinical Audit Manager of a hospital trust in the North West. She asked about the way the CQC would use audit data - particularly data from national clinical audits - in compiling risk profiles for trusts. Her query was based on information given to her by one of the NCAPOP audit providers, who had told her that they submitted data on participation to the CQC.
There is a partial answer to her question on the CQC website, as the CQC have published a series of data source documents which list all the sources they will look at when compiling risk profiles. There are separate documents for each healthcare sector, and the CQC is updating them regularly. You can link to them through our updated summary of statutory and mandatory requirements for clinical audit.
All of the documents state that the CQC will use ‘national clinical audit datasets' in compiling risk profiles, but it is not clear whether this just refers to the NCAPOP projects, or to all the clinical audits on the Quality Accounts list, or to any national clinical audit which the CQC are aware of. If you search through the document for acute trusts you will find specific reference to some of the NCAPOP audits - for example, the Sentinel Stroke Audit - but also references to the last national priorities data collection on participation in clinical audit, which the CQC made for the year ended 31 March 2010.
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15 December 2011: Liz Smith: Keeping in touch
Now many of us are lining up on the runway to Christmas, it is the time of year when we traditionally think about keeping in touch with people. The Quality Improvement and Development team have, this year, noticed a lot of organisational and departmental changes affecting Clinical Audit staff. To enable HQIP to keep in touch with you please ensure that we are notified if your contact details, particularly email address, change.
To do this please go to http://hqip.org.uk/registration/ and enter your up-to-date details. This will ensure you receive the eBulletin at your new email address and that the information we have for you is up-to-date.
Unfortunately, you will need to amend your NCAF details separately. You can change your email address by logging in with your old details and clicking on ‘Settings' at the top of the page. If you belong to a regional network please also remember to update your contact details with your local chair.
Finally Kate, Alex, Mandy and I wish you an enjoyable Christmas break and look forward to working with you again in 2012.
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8 December 2011: Liz Smith: Effective end to the 2011 RCA Network meetings
Earlier this week I attended the South East Clinical Effectiveness Network (SECEN) meeting. This is one of the longest standing regional networks, and having been a member myself for many years, I know the group well. They are so keen to meet that in the past, when other venues were unavailable, the meetings have even been held in pubs! However, on this occasion we were given generous hospitality by a survey software company in Central London. The packed programme, apart from my HQIP update, included presentations from Jane Moore, NICE Implementation Consultant for London (a former HQIP colleague, and another SECEN member), Nick Johnson, HQIP's professional body consultant, and James Thornton, HQIP Communications Manager and Viv McGlashan (Royal Berkshire Hospital) who gave a mini - workshop on how to promote Clinical Audit both within organisations and externally.
Nick Johnson has now attended almost all the regional network meetings across the country and met a good number of the Clinical Audit community and other interested parties. Nick says that although the on-line professionalisation survey closes on 9 December 2011, he is still happy to receive direct emails from those who have additional comments to make.
My final event for 2011 was at the South Central Clinical Audit Network meeting at Bracknell. Whilst standing on Waterloo Station looking forlornly at the ‘delayed' message for the train I was expecting to catch, I was joined by Kirsty Maclean Steel, NICE Clinical Audit lead. We made the best of our unscheduled wait by having a good catch up and arrived at the venue just in time for our agenda slots along with a welcome coffee and mince pie (first this year!). Among other items, SSCAN members were very interested in the recently published schedule of mandatory and statutory requirements and felt that this document could give them some evidence to challenge proposed changes within their organisations. Members were also interested in the CAKE application, and agreed to log on to the website to learn more.
The joint chairs, Jen Knight and Kat Young, put a great deal of effort into arranging the SSCAN meetings so it was disappointing to see so few people there. This may be a reflection of the current changes that many teams are experiencing but is certainly not an indicator of the value to members of attending network meetings regularly. Kat and Jen have arranged an interesting programme for 2012 including items on regulation and assurance. It would be good to see more people from the South Central area attending the next meeting on 1 March 2012.
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2 December 2011: Liz Smith: Celebrating good practice and Ensuring Data Quality survey
To celebrate the first full year of the two London Clinical Audit networks, set up by HQIP in 2010, a pan London ‘Sharing Good Practice' event was held in the Great Hall at St. Bart's Hospital. It was an event worthy of the magnificent surrounding with the portraits of august benefactors looking down on us. How healthcare, and subsequently life expectancy, has changed over the intervening years. I expect in the 16th and 17th centuries care for the sick was mainly focussed around the feeding of nutritious meals and cleanliness - which also resonates with us today.
Following on from the normal network meeting and guest speakers there was the viewing and judging of 14 excellent posters. I was delighted to be asked to be a judge along with Kirsty Maclean Steel, Clinical Audit lead at NICE. Kirsty and I decided not to mark the actual presentation design, as not everyone had equal access to professional poster making, but only marked the content. We were pleased to learn that one poster had recently been submitted at an international conference in Berlin, and even more pleased to know that it was the Clinical Audit facilitator herself, and not a clinician, who had done the presentation. Well done Alexa for raising the profile of Clinical Audit in Europe. We were also delighted to be joined by two members of the South London and Maudsley patient involvement network who had submitted a poster on improving food and dining for in-patient units.
After much deliberation Kirsty and I chose in first place the Bart's and the Royal London project led by Senior Physio., Cystic Fibrosis Service, Charlotte Wells on ‘Meeting physiotherapy needs of adults with CF in a challenging time'. In second place was the CNWL Camden Provider Services project detailing the work and outcomes achieved in ‘An organisational approach to monitoring improvement' by Fiona Sutherland and Adam Backhouse. We later learnt that Fiona and Adam had used learning from the HQIP conference to create and monitor their new process.
The success of the two London networks is down to the excellent chairs, Emerald Toogood and Dawn Nortman, their enthusiastic members and the organisations which host the meetings. The QID team are delighted to see them flourish and will support their on-going development.
This week also saw the close of the Ensuring Data Quality Workshop impact analysis survey. Many thanks to all those people who have taken the time to feed back to us how they have implemented the learning from the workshops (held in July and September). It is only by receiving feedback that we can gauge the value of our workshops and support tools, which in turn enables us to develop further events and products.
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29 November 2011: Mandy Smith: Excellent events from RCA Networks
The last few weeks have brought a flurry of events organised by regional clinical audit networks. The North West Mental Health Network (NWMHN) conference was hosted by Mersey Care Trust at their offices in Maghull. The organising committee had put in a lot of work to develop an entertaining programme which included a role playing / observational exercise on the problems and pitfalls of presenting clinical audit findings. It was a challenge for those of us called on to play the parts - although I rather enjoyed the role of ‘stroppy consultant who doesn't want to listen'. There was an excellent display of posters, with prizes awarded by votes from the audience. First Prize of went to the audit on ‘MRSA in a Mental Health Trust' (5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), and the runners up were audits on ‘Screening Uptake in Women with a Learning Disability in Salford' (Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust) and ‘Out of Hours Workload of Psychiatry Trainees' (Mersey Care and Cheshire and Wirral).
Although the event was organised by the Mental Health network, the event was open to the other north west networks and I will be meeting the chairs of all four networks in the North West in January to discuss the possibility of a full region wide event next year.
The Yorkshire and Humber Effectiveness and Audit Regional Network (YEARN) conference is a much anticipated annual event and the turnout was excellent - particularly now, when many trusts seem to be reluctant to allow staff time out to attend events. The audience included both clinicians and clinical audit staff, and this was reflected in the variety of presentations which included examples of good quality local audits. Karina Gajewska from the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory presented findings from their review of Quality Accounts, but sadly Dr James Kingsland, National Clinical Commissioning Network Lead, was unable to attend to give his presentation on Clinical Commissioning - something I am sure we are all waiting to hear more about.
Again there was a poster competition and the winners were Mathew Bell and Ana Megias-Bas, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust for ‘Audit of the Approval process of restricted antibacterial agents'. Second prize went to Dr Muhammad Sharafat, The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, B. Carrigan (specialist registrar), R. Srinivassa, A.Thickett and R. O'Leary (all consultant anaesthetists) for an audit of the use of routine blood tests on ITU.
This morning I attended the Midlands Effectiveness and Audit Network (MEAN) event at City Hospital, Birmingham. Like YEARN, MEAN has been running a regular programme of events for some years. Updates from the network, from NAGG and from HQIP were combined with workshops on the NHSLA audit criteria by Sally Suleman-Fereday (Senior Assessor, DNV Healthcare & Biorisk UK) and on implementing evidence based care by Chris Connell (NICE Implementation Consultant).
Linda Chadburn (Chair of NWMHN), Helen Blenkinsop (Chair of YEARN) and Val Bailey (Chair of MEAN) and all their colleagues on the respective steering groups deserve congratulations for the work they put in to organise these events, and HQIP is committed to continuing to support them.
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23 November 2011: Liz Smith: Venues, SWANS and Clinical Governance
I attended and presented at two Trust's Clinical Governance events this week. Both were held in church buildings - it was good to see theses spaces used for conferencing but even better to see, were the very large audiences for both events and Trust commitment to Clinical Governance.
At the first event, held by East Sussex Healthcare, I was particularly heartened by a consultant urologist's excellent presentation on the National Continence Audit and how they were using the results to improve care especially as services vary between the Trust's two sites.
The second event at Moorefield's Eye Hospital, demonstrated their newly developed in-house, on-line Clinical Audit project management tool; this should benefit the Trust which has 21 sites. Three hundred people attended the session with a wide range of professions and Board members present.
It is always a pleasure to go into organisations to promote the work of HQIP, and usually come away amazed at some of the work being achieved.
Following on those two events, I also attended the South West Audit Network (SWANs) meeting which takes place at an agricultural auction house venue. I feel that SWANs is well named. Members are serene and graceful on top but paddling furiously to cope with growing pressures and demands against a backdrop of reducing staff levels. There was a lot of discussion about national clinical audit and members were pleased that HQIP will be working with the clinical audit community to improve the quality and effectiveness of projects over the coming weeks.
The schedule of statutory and mandatory requirements, published by HQIP last week, was well received (well done Mandy). There was also some interesting discussion about HQIP using too much ‘modern technology' such as NCAF and Twitter. My feelings are that we use a wide range of communication tools, and what is easier than the fortnightly e-bulletin popping into your in-box with ‘what's hot and what's not' in clinical audit and quality improvement.
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