Unlocking the potential: Supporting doctors to use national clinical audit to drive improvement

Guidance | Published: 30 Apr 2018

This report, funded by HQIP and delivered by the Royal College of Physicians, discusses the role of junior doctors participating in local clinical audit, their engagement with national clinical audit (NCA) and how this translates into improving the quality of care for their patients locally.

Unlocking the Potential describes the findings of a project undertaken to join up clinical audit work and improvement work. Across seven English regions and six specialities, a total of 330 participating speciality trainee doctors undertook a structured programme of learning and development based on the Learning to Make a Difference (LTMD) programme. This improved their awareness and understanding of clinical audit and the principles and frameworks of quality improvement.

Key areas for action have been identified for all stakeholders involved in the commissioning, development and implementation of national clinical audit to improve patient care.

  • Results of NCAs need to reach all doctors (and other healthcare staff)
  • Local outputs from NCAs should be used for patient-focused quality improvement initiatives
  • It should be emphasised that quality improvement should naturally follow on from an audit
  • Staff need to be given dedicated time and support to undertake quality improvement work, based on NCAs
  • Sufficient training and resources need to be put in place to support quality improvement activity


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Unlocking the potential: Supporting doctors to use national clinical audit to drive improvement