Trainee Doctors

As a trainee doctor you will be expected to carry out clinical audits or quality improvement projects to meet your training requirements. This webpage is dedicated to helping you navigate quality improvement, providing you with knowledge, key information and resources to help you with your project.

Please click the headings below for more information.


Introduction to quality improvement for healthcare professionals

This introductory module to Quality Improvement for healthcare professionals explores the key principles of quality improvement and outlines some of the common improvement tools that are used within healthcare.

How do we know we are doing a good job? 

An introduction to the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) and How trainees can engage with NCAPOP to support improvement.

These e-learning modules are aimed at trainee doctors, but will be useful for all doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

Part 1 gives an introduction to the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme, including the broad range of topics it covers and the purpose of the programme. It highlights how trainees can engage with the programme and how to find relevant National clinical audits. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Part 2 focuses on practical ways in which trainees can use the NCAPOP to support quality improvement. This includes prioritisation of topics, accessing the data, and an introduction to national clinical audit benchmarking. It also highlights the potential benefits for trainees in taking this approach.  It takes approximately 60 minutes to complete.

HQIP Resources

Resources document

This list of resources summarises the quality improvement (QI) resources that are produced by national programme provider organisations and are publically available. These resources help support trainees and healthcare professionals to use the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) outputs to support local Quality Improvement activity and improve dissemination of NCAPOP findings.

Top tips

All doctors in training are required to participate in clinical audit or quality improvement activity. Engaging with National Clinical Audit programmes is an excellent way for trainees to do this.

This ‘Top Tips’ document is intended to help trainee doctors, and other healthcare professionals, understand the ways in which they can get involved with national clinical audits.’

Webinar: Clinical audits – a hive of knowledge for trainees

National clinical audits offer an opportunity for trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals to better understand clinical disciplines and cross-disciplinary themes, supporting best practice and providing suggestions for improvement. But how can the audit community best reach this important audience, and support them to engage with the information available?

In this webinar from 7 July 2021, National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow, Dr Hannah Wright, presents her work on awareness of and engagement with the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) among trainee doctors. She discusses her own experience as a trainee doctor, and outlines why it is beneficial to engage trainee doctors in clinical audit.

The directory

The Directory is an Excel-based document containing high-level information about all National Clinical Audits (NCAs), Clinical Outcome Review Programmes (enquiries) and other national quality improvement projects that plan to run during the forthcoming financial year, as well as those that ran during previous financial years. It can be useful to identify National Clinical Audits or Clinical Outcome review programmes in your area of interest or specialty.

Programme summaries

HQIP commissioned projects have been summarised and grouped into categories based on location of care and clinical subject area. Each summary is intended to provide a brief overview of the remit of each project, information on data available (other than that found in reports) and a summary of quality improvement resources. Projects are included in all groupings where they fit and as such, may appear more than once.

National Clinical Audit Benchmarking
The National Clinical Audit Benchmarking website is an open access online portal which provides access to national audit performance data. You can find benchmarked audit data searchable by specialty, Trust, hospital or unit. What is available is dependent on what the audit or registry publishes.

Publications schedule

This is a regularly updated nine-month publication schedule for the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) reports– covering the National Clinical Audit (NCA) programme and also the Clinical Outcome Review Programmes (CORP).


This page contains the full list of HQIP resources. All of the audit/ clinical outcome review reports will be published here and are searchable by care area.

Patient and public involvement

Involving patients and the public in audit and quality improvement is very important. Find more about how you can involve patients and the public in your audit or improvement initiatives here.

This video is an interview between Adrian Hardy, the chair of HQIP’s Service User Network, and Clinical Fellow Dr. Hannah Wright, exploring Adrian’s views of the importance of patient and public involvement in audit and quality improvement.  

HQIP guides

HQIP have produced a number of guides which will be helpful for trainee doctors.

The use of National Clinical Audit data in appraisal

This resource is a simple guide to support and encourage the inclusion of national clinical audit data in appraisal and revalidation. There is a directory of all the major national clinical audits, summarising their programmes with links and contacts

A guide to quality improvement tools

 It brings together ten other quality improvement tools providing an overview of each and practical advice on how and when to implement them, with illustrative case examples. The tools described include clinical audit; Plan, Do, Study, Act; model for improvement; LEAN/Six Sigma; performance benchmarking, process mapping and statistical process control.

Guide to involving junior doctors in clinical audit and quality improvement

This guide is intended to help people responsible for clinical audit and QI in NHS Trusts to provide appropriate support for these activities. It will also help NHS Trusts ensure that they gain the maximum benefit from the clinical audits and QI projects carried out by doctors in training

The full list of HQIP guides can be found here

Case studies

There are a number of case studies on the HQIP website demonstrating the National Clinical Audits and Patient Outcomes Programmes in practice.

If you would like to submit a case study, please visit our case study submission page.

Clinical Audit Awareness Week

Clinical Audit Awareness Week is a national annual campaign to promote and celebrate the benefits and impact of clinical audit and quality improvement work in healthcare. This includes hospitals, GP practices, hospices and residential nursing care.

The highlight of this week is our Audit Heroes Awards. They are an opportunity to highlight the wonderful work taking place all over the country to improve health care for patients and users of services. The awards are open to all healthcare professionals.

Find out more on our Clinical Audit Awareness Week webpage.

External resource

The Health Foundation’s ‘Quality Improvement Made Simple’ guide

This guide gives an easy to follow and thorough overview of Quality Improvement, including definitions, approaches to Quality Improvement and key questions for planning and delivering quality improvement. It also links to a number of other organisations which provide information and case studies on quality improvement approaches, methods and principles.

Trainees Improving Patient Safety through Quality Improvement (TIPSQI)

The TIPS QI Guide is predominantly aimed at Foundation and Core Trainee level doctors in the NHS but will be useful for all healthcare professionals who would like to improve their knowledge about quality improvement. The guide walks step by step through to go about improving an aspect of care in your clinical area of work.

Institute for Health Improvement (IHI) ‘How to Improve’ guide

The IHI is a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to improve health care worldwide through building the will for change, cultivating promising concepts for improving care and helping health care systems to put them into action. The IHI ‘How to Improve’ guide used the Model for Improvement as a framework and guides through this improvement step by step. The IHI also have a number of other resources, case studies, videos and training series.

The BMJ ‘Quality Improvement’

The BMJ in partnership with and funded by The Health Foundation produced a joint series of papers exploring how to improve the quality of healthcare delivery. The series aims to discuss the evidence for systematic quality improvement, provide knowledge and support to clinicians and ultimately to help improve care for patients.

Additionally, each of the NCAPOP providers produce resources to support the use of NCAPOP data for improvement. A summary of these resources are found here.