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Key messages from national conference in London

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On 6 March approximately 50 clinical audit and QI professionals gathered in London for the annual Clinical Audit for Improvement conference. Keynote speakers included Richard Arnold from NHS England and various HQIP staff members. Richard’s key messages were: the contract for local and national clinical audit support (currently held by HQIP) will be re-tendered soon as this expires in March 2018 and NHSE are looking at the possibility of more NCAs for Mental Health. Dr. Stevens from the CQC noted that in future there will be more unannounced CQC visits, but reports will be shorter and completed within two months of the formal inspection. The event was ably chaired by Carl Walker (NQICAN chairman) and included some excellent talks by local clinical audit staff, including: Dawn Nortman, Paul Gilliatt and Michael Spry. You can learn more about the event by reading our storify here.

CQC report includes section on clinical audit

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In March the Care Quality Commission published a new report entitled ‘The state of care in NHS acute hospitals’. The document provides invaluable feedback relating to inspections carried out between 2014 and June 2016 and includes specific sections relating to clinical audit. For example, page 26 of the report states ‘audits of whether guidelines are being followed are now widely undertaken. Where they are used effectively, they are an important tool for driving improvement in quality’. The report also praises several national clinical audits and states ‘services without an established national audit were often less able to demonstrate that they were achieving satisfactory outcomes for their patients’. In addition, the report identifies problem areas: audits not involving the multi-disciplinary team, poorly planned projects and a failure to re-audit. To read the full report, click here.

Mental Health and Community event on 24 March

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Given the almost relentless focus of the national clinical audit programme on acute trusts, we recently announced that we would be holding a free one-day networking event for clinical audit and quality improvement staff working in a mental health and /or community setting. The purpose of the event is to enable like-minded professionals working in a similar field to network and share ideas. The day will start with the CASC team providing an overview of the state of clinical audit in 2017 plus feedback on our 2016 NCAPOP funding survey. Carl Walker will give a short presentation on NQICAN and the work of regional networks and we will devote time to looking at what new NCAs would be useful in this sector and how staff working in community and mental health could better share their learning and resources. If you are interested in attending the event then contact us via info@clinicalauditsupport.com

Clinical audit featured in Health Service Journal

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Clinical audit rarely gains the attention of the national media, but it is vital that all working in the field read a recently published article in the HSJ entitled ‘National audits drain NHS resources’. Reading beyond the headline the article focuses on the outputs from the recent YEARN report and their recommendations for national clinical audit (see article below) and also features the results of CASC’s annual survey completed by over 200 respondents. The article notes that NCAs are becoming an increasing burden and highlights some common problems with NCAs: lack of explicit criteria and standards, IT flaws and slow reporting back of audit results to participants. CASC Director Stephen Ashmore was asked to comment and suggested there are ‘simply too many national clinical audits’ the majority of which do not measure patient care in community, mental health, primary and social care settings. We hope that the article will help stimulate an open and widespread debate on how to improve and broaden national audits. To read the article click here. Note that if you are not a subscriber to HSJ online you will need to sign up as a temporary member to gain access to the article. This is a simple process to complete.

YEARN publish important report on national audits

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The Yorkshire Effectiveness and Audit Regional Network (YEARN) is one of 15 regional clinical audit networks and during 2015-16 their members collaborated to produce a report entitled ‘National Clinical Audit Feedback and Escalation Mechanisms’. The eight-page report provides a network viewpoint on many aspects of national clinical audit from the perspective of local clinical audit professionals. Sections that will be of interest to the wider clinical audit community include a checklist detailing a minimum set of NCA characteristics that includes: explicit criteria and standards, robust methodology, a fit for purpose data collection tool, etc. The report also highlights that NCAs should not: change their data collection set or commence before all elements have been fully piloted. The report provides a logical overview of how NCAs need to improve and many points raised by YEARN echo what Clinical Audit Support Centre have been advocating for many years. HQIP are due to respond formally to YEARN very soon and you can read the full report by clicking here.

HQIP and the Quality Accounts list 2017/18

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HQIP have recently published the NHS England Quality Accounts List 2017/2018. This list provides the National Clinical Audits and Clinical Outcome Review programmes that NHS England advise Trusts should prioritise for inclusion in their Quality Account. The list contains 64 programmes and will remain static during the year. Five audits included on the list are currently being commissioned by HQIP and may not collect data during 2017/18. To access the Quality Accounts list, please click here. Other HQIP news includes publication of findings from a number of national clinical audit reports. The latest MINAP report indicates that care in relation to treatment times has improved nationally by almost 40% in the last decade. See full report here. Whilst the National Diabetes Audit 2015-16 has shown regional variations in the achievement of patient related targets such as glucose control, blood pressure and cholesterol. Full report available here.

Issue 215 of audit jobs bulletin now available

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The Clinical Audit Support Centre launched their Clinical Audit Jobs Bulletin in June 2009. Every two weeks we search through all of the clinical audit-related jobs advertised on the NHS jobs website and produce a relevant document that will enable audit professionals to see what jobs are currently available. We list the main descriptors for each role, e.g. employing organisation, job title, salary, location and closing date. We have also noted the job reference number that will allow you to find further details of jobs that you want more information on without spending lots of time searching the entire NHS jobsite database. To download the Jobs Bulletin, click here.

Request your CASC information pack

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CASC have developed a short PDF information guide that provides you with more details in relation to the work we conduct. The PDF includes the following sections: introducing CASC, training and accreditation, support and consultancy, sharing best practice, event management and CASC case studies. The information guide provides a great overview of how we work with healthcare professionals and teams to improve care and make it safer. The case studies showcase real-life examples of how our work has assured best practice and saved money. To access a copy of the information guide in PDF format, click here.

Register for the CASC E-News!

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Since we launched our E Newsletter in February 2007 over 1,000 healthcare professionals have signed up! The E News is free and delivered direct to your email account every two months. The newsletter provides you with a mix of CASC-related and other clinical audit news to help you keep up to date with what is happening in the world of clinical audit. If you have missed a previous issue of E News please visit the community section of our website where all previous issues are archived. Follow this link to sign up for your copy.

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