What is local clinical audit?
The NHS Clinical Governance Support team define clinical audit in their Practical Clinical Audit Handbook as:
'a quality improvement process that seeks to improve patient care and outcomes through systematic review of care against explicit criteria and the implementation of change. Put more simply: clinical audit is all about measuring the quality of care and services against agreed standards and making improvements where necessary.'
The priorities for national audits are set centrally by the Department of Health with advice from the NCAAG and all NHS trusts are expected to participate in the national audit programme. However, most clinical audit activity in NHS trusts will involve individual healthcare professionals evaluating aspects of care that they themselves have selected as being important to them and/or their team - these are classified as local clinical audit.
HQIP works to foster these "bottom-up" local clinical audits and support networking between trusts that are auditing the same topic.
See our ‘What is clinical audit?' factsheet