Clinical Audit Awareness Week blog: Diary of an audit lead day 1

Published: 10 Nov 2015

Michael Spry, Clinical Improvement & Assurance Manager at Countess of Chester Hospital NHS FT, Chair of Mersey Clinical Audit Network and member of NQICAN gives his views as CAAW 2015 begins

Diary of an audit lead day 1: Monday 9 November

It’s Clinical Audit Awareness Week, and here I am sharing my working week. Why? Good question: it started out with my wondering what I could do which would use little resource and be easy to do. I’m also one of those people that are terrible at remembering to pre-book tables and display equipment. But it also got me thinking: by doing this, will it reflect back just what I do?

From talking to clinical audit colleagues across the country, I find the words we use to describe how we are doing tend to commonly be ‘manic’, ‘crazy’ etc. I suppose this allows me to see just what my role in clinical audit entails, and might enable you to recognise the same. It feels like we are so busy with our national audits, our local audits, our processes around NICE, NCEPOD, CQUINs and the like we don’t get the chance to sit back and go ‘phew’! So, somehow reflecting back on my day, kind of enables me to do just that. It might allow me to go ‘hang on, why am I doing that?’

If I describe clinical audit to people not ‘in the know’ (and most often it’s to my mum, who always forgets how to tell her friends just what I do), I tend to compare it at its simplest to being able to stand on the roof of my hospital. I can see ‘snapshots’ of lots of things and lots of people, every department and every ward. It’s fascinating in its range and diversity – today alone has incorporated discussion about medical devices, sepsis, dementia and MRIs. But of course, it also suggests we’re all running to keep up with our wide-ranging and fast-paced services, for whom activity never stops.

Again, when I feel I am taking life at a run, slurping coffee on the go and grabbing a sandwich at 4.30 pm, maybe by stopping, tweeting, and looking at just what I do each day, it might help me think ‘Hmm, maybe I have got this under control after all’.  Call it a spot of self-awareness in Awareness week. Surely, that can only be a good thing for any of us clinical auditors, as undeniably busy as we are, to do in today’s pressured NHS?

Have a good week everyone.