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2012 News Archive

The draft results of CASC’s annual audit survey now available

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Staff at the Clinical Audit Support Centre would like to thank all those who took time to complete our third annual clinical audit survey. A total of 137 respondents completed the survey created by CASC and supported by Formic Ltd. The full report for the survey will be available in February 2013, but we have created a short report that provides details of the key findings. The results show remarkable consistency with the previous surveys conducted in 2010 and 2011 and there is some good news to report (e.g. the proportion of respondents noting they have ‘more resources for clinical audit compared to 12 months ago’ increasing from 10% to 17%). However, the results also raise concerns with just 6% ranking patient involvement in clinical audit as ‘good’. To access the draft report, please click here.

HQIP re-commissioned to lead on clinical audit by the Department of Health

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The Department of Health have announced that the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) have been awarded two contracts that will allow them to build on work they have undertaken since 2008. The new three year contracts that run until March 2016 will see HQIP continue to manage the NCAPOP and CORP, plus HQIP will support local clinical audit. There are a number of significant changes ahead: for example, HQIP will be responsible to the NHS Commissioning Board (not Department of Health), and Imperial College London’s Centre for Health Improvement and Research (CHIR) will now provide HQIP with support on improving national clinical audit methodologies. HQIP Chief Executive Robin Burgess (pictured) said ‘we are delighted that the Department of Health has recognised our plans for a strengthened, reenergized and truly integrated strategy for quality improvement, which will provide robust, accurate national results which naturally lead to local improvements’. For full details of the contract award, please click here.

Winners of Junior Doctor Clinical Audit of the Year 2012 announced

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The Clinical Audit Support Centre’s third annual junior doctor clinical audit awards event took place in Leicester on 22nd November 2012. The day featured keynote presentations from members of NICE, the Care Quality Commission and was ably chaired by Kate Godfrey (pictured, far right) from the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. Junior doctors from across the British Isles attended the event with 40 clinical audit posters on display. The quality of the posters showcasing junior doctor audits was exceptional and the judging team faced a difficult task to choose the winners. Dr. Richard Williams and Andrew Hope were selected as the winners of the Martin Ferris Award for their ‘Night time emergency department secondment’ audit. First place in the Junior Doctor Clinical Audit of the Year category was awarded to Dr. Gibson (pictured, centre) for her audit entitled ‘Falling rates or falling flat’. CASC would like to congratulate all junior doctors who were short-listed for the competition. More details from the event will be available soon.

Take part in the annual clinical audit survey

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CASC’s third annual clinical audit survey is now available and will run from 6th to 24th December 2012. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and provides national bodies such as NAGCAE with vital information from those involved in clinical audit in terms of their views on national audits, opinions on the usefulness of resources, details of resourcing for local clinical audit, etc. Anonymity of all respondents is assured and CASC publish initial results within 2 weeks of completion of the survey. A full report will be made available in Spring 2013 and this will include full details of all data retuned (ensuing transparency of the survey process). Results from 2012 will be compared with results from 2011 and 2010 in the forthcoming report. Formic Ltd have helped CASC set up the online survey and we would like to encourage you to give up a few moments of your time to take part. Click here to access the survey.

New Clinical Audit Commissioning course

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Clinical Audit Support Centre are delighted to announce that we have been working with Martin Ferris (ex-NHS Sheffield and former NAGCAE member) to develop a new one-day course focusing on best practice in Commissioning Clinical Audit. The course is aimed at commissioners but will also be relevant to providers and clinical audit professionals. The course content includes: advice on why it is important to commission clinical audit, guidance on what can be commissioned, advice on monitoring progress, participation and improvements, reporting mechanisms and outcomes of an effective audit programme. The first course will take place in Leicester on 21st November and we are offering places at the discounted rate of £120 plus VAT. Please click here to download the course flyer.

Read the latest NAGCAE minutes

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The National Advisory Group on Clinical Audit and Enquiries met on 27th June 2012 and the minutes of the meeting are now available. The minutes provide useful updates on NCAPOP and other national audits that included discussions in relation to data sharing arrangements for NCAPOP audits, methodological development and maximising the use of NCA data. The NAGCAE minutes also provide updates on clinical audit work in relation to social care and members views on time-limited NCAs. The minutes also include important details in relation to the Heavy Menstrual Bleeding National Audit and report that this audit will have its contract ended in August 2013 (not January 2015 as scheduled) saving £125,000. To download the NAGCAE minutes, click here.

Clinical audit re-tender details published

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The OJEU notice for the national and local clinical audit contract was released by Department of Health on 24th July 2012. Parties wishing to bid for the contract have until the 17th September to send in their bids. As expected, the contract is split into two lots: Lot 1 – providing support for clinical audit in health and social care, and Lot 2 – management of national clinical audit and patient outcomes programme and the clinical outcomes review programme. CASC will be observing the bidding process and we will make those with an interest in clinical audit aware of the relevant documentation that is published in forthcoming weeks. To find out more details relating to the clinical audit re-tender, please click here.

Great feedback for accredited CASC training courses

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Since establishing the Clinical Audit Support Centre in 2006, a main aim of the company directors has been to deliver high quality training courses to healthcare professionals. CASC routinely evaluate all training courses and we have recently analysed the data from courses delivered between 2006-12. The results show that 99.5% of learners would recommend the course that they attended to colleagues and a further 98.4% stated that our training courses represented good value for money. More detailed data will be made available via the CASC website in due course and we will be drawing up an action plan on how we intend to improve all of our training courses. For information, we are currently taking bookings for a number of training courses, including Advanced Clinical Audit (9th October) and Train the Trainer (10th October). We are also recruiting for our Clinical Audit Skills distance-learning course. To find out more please contact the CASC team.

HQIP add their comments to the CASC's 'State of Clinical Audit' report

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Every year the Clinical Audit Support Centre conduct an online survey of the clinical audit community with the assistance of Snap Surveys. The most recent survey was conducted in December 2011 and a total of 158 respondents gave their views. Key findings were: local audit continues to be seen as the most effective way of improving patient care, national audits still have a mixed reputation and local audit resources are continuing to diminish. The report was published in draft format in May 2012 and was released in its final report format (that includes feedback from the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership on 2nd July 2012. To download the report, click here.

Junior Doctor Audit Competition deadline fast approaching

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After the huge success of CASC's annual 'Junior Doctor Clinical Audit of the Year' competition in 2010 and 2011 we are delighted to announce further details of the 2012 event. Juniors have until the 31st July 2012 to send in their abstracts and finalists will be short-listed by the 10th September. As in previous years the Finals Day will be held in Leicester in November. This year we are offering two competitions: the Martin Ferris Award (for the best audit poster as selected by Martin) and Clinical Audit of the Year (to be selected by a panel of clinical audit experts). Please inform junior doctors and colleagues of the competition and encourage them to take part. Further details of the competition, including the entry form can be found by clicking here.

Take the CASC clinical audit challenge

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In 2011 the Clinical Audit Support Centre launched the 'My best ever clinical audit' initiative. The basic idea behind this project was that healthcare professionals need examples of high quality clinical audit projects to learn from and to inspire them. CASC provided an example of a local clinical audit project and invited members of key national bodies (HQIP, Department of Health, etc) to supply first-hand examples of good clinical audits. Sadly, no submissions were received! However, given the continued need for good examples of clinical audit, we are now re-badging this initiative as the CASC Clinical Audit Challenge. Again we will ask key leaders for examples for their best clinical audits and we also want examples of great audits that have been carried out by clinical audit professionals. Click here to find out more and download the submission template.

Latest 'Job Vacancies' report now available

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Since July 2009, the Clinical Audit Support Centre have produced a fortnightly job vacancies bulletin listing all clinical audit jobs advertised via NHS jobs website. Each year the CASC team analyse the relevant data and produce a short report focusing on advertised job vacancies. The 2012 report is now available and this shows continued worrying trends in the reduced number of advertised clinical audit jobs: 178 in 2009-10, 112 in 2010-11 and just 92 in 2011-12. The report also shows that the number of temporary clinical audit jobs has doubled since 2009-10 and that the average salary has not altered significantly over the last three years (2011-12 average advertised audit salary stood at £22,326). At a time when clinical audit is in greater demand than ever and five years after the re-invigoration initiative for clinical audit was started, these are concerning results for all of us working in clinical audit. Click here to download the full report.

CASC's New Online Resource proving great success!

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Since its launch in March 2012, the Clinical Audit Support Centre new online resource, Clinical Audit Tools website has proved to be a great success. The innovative new website supplements the CASC website and is aimed at supporting clinical audit professionals and clinicians who are often expected to carry out clinical audit without support. The new website is highly interactive and features a range of tools that will help users determine if their project is an audit and if it is likely to be a success. The website focuses on learning and education and visitors will be able to watch educational podcasts and lectures. The website also features a range of interactive polls, quizzes and blogs. The discussion board is proving particularly popular and intelligent debates are generating considerable feedback. To date over 300 members have joined in the first three months. The website is free to use although you will need to take a few moments to register your details. To access the site, please visit www.clinicalaudittools.com or click here.

Take part in the new NAGCAE consultation

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As many of you will be aware, the National Advisory Group for Clinical Audit and Enquiries (who advise the Department of Health on clinical audit strategy) have become increasingly concerned over recent years in relation to local clinical audit. This led to a roundtable discussion of key stakeholders earlier this year and wider discussion with Trust CEOs. NAGCAE view that the current arrangements for local clinical audit are both unsatisfactory and unsustainable. As a result, NAGCAE have produced a consultation document on the future of clinical audit staff in Trusts. You can read more and take part in the consultation by clicking here. You can also listen to Professor Black (NAGCAE Chair and pictured) talk about the consultation by clicking here and following the relevant instructions. CASC encourage all those with an interest in clinical audit to familiarise themselves with the NAGCAE proposals and take part in the wider consultation.

NAGCAE is looking for a new member

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The National Advisory Group on Clinical Audit and Enquiries (NAGCAE) have recently announced that they have a vacancy for a local clinical audit professional on their group. NAGCAE were set up in 2008 and were formerly known as the National Clinical Audit Advisory Group. NAGCAE advise the Department of Health on clinical audit and are charged with helping bring about the re-invigoration of local and national audit. Members are re-imbursed to the tune of £144 per day and are expected to attend quarterly meetings in London and carry out up to 15 days work per year for NAGCAE. In other NAGCAE news, we encourage all those with an interest in clinical audit to read the latest NAGCAE minutes from March 2012. The latest minutes include updates on four new planned national audits. Click here to read the NAGCAE minutes from March 2012.

'The State of Clinical Audit' interim report published

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CASC's annual 'The State of Clinical Audit' interim report (click here to read more), which provides the views of over 150 respondents, is now available. The report focuses on data collected in December 2011 and follows on from the identical survey conducted in December 2010. The key findings are: the quality of national audits have dropped in the last 12 months (with less than 35% rating NCA's 'excellent or good', only 33% of respondents feel 'more positive' about clinical audit compared to a year previously, 84% of respondents stated that local audits are 'more effective at improving patient care' (up from 78% in 2010), for the second year running the National Stroke Audit was voted the most effective NCA, small improvements were reported in local re-audit rates, but only 10% of respondents reported they have 'more resources available to support clinical audit' compared to December 2010. The findings will be sent to the key national bodies: Department of Health, NAGCAE, HQIP and NAGG and we will publish their comments in the final version of the report (scheduled for July 2012). We have also set up a section on the discussion board where those interested can discuss issues raised by the report. Click here to access the Discussion Board.

HQIP make a number of important announcements

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HQIP have made several key announcements during the course of April including the revision of the Quality Accounts list for 2012/13. Three national audits (HMB, Schizophrenia and Falls and Bone Health) have been removed from the list as patient-level data collection will not be taking place in this financial year. HQIP have also released procurement dates for six new national audits and added a Frequently Asked Questions section to explain details of their forthcoming subscription funding arrangements. HQIP have also launched a set of patient record keeping audit tools (available in Excel) and started a second consultation on their 'Principles of Quality in NCAs' document. HQIP also hosted an international audit summit in London from 26-27 April focusing on their plans to extend their national audits and registries and build international links. For more details on HQIP's work visit their website via www.hqip.org.uk

Plans for professional body of auditors shelved

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The Social Care Association and PARN have recently published the results of work commissioned by HQIP looking into the possibility of setting up a professional body for those working in clinical audit and quality improvement. Between October and December 2011, a total of 273 questionnaires were returned. Results show that there was considerable support for a professional body. Over 60% of respondents gave a 4 or 5 rating (5 = very important) when asked about the importance for a new body and 61% gave the same response when asked if they would join. 27% of respondents reported they were not currently part of a professional group and perceived benefits of membership included: strengthening professional identity (mean score 3.8) and raising the profile and image of the profession (mean score 3.8). Sadly, respondents were not willing to pay to support a new body with over 79% of respondents stating that they would pay less than £100 per year to be part of a new professional body. With no central funds available to help contribute to establishing the group HQIP CEO Robin Burgess concluded ‘While there is some support for developing a professional body, the consultation results leave us in no doubt that a professional body is not the way forward’. To access the reports, click here.

New podcast explains why 2012 is the pivotal year for clinical audit!

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The Clinical Audit Support Centre are delighted to announce that after a sustained absence, our podcasting service is up and running again. With this in mind, we encourage you to listen to the latest podcast that explains precisely why 2012 is likely to be a monumental year for clinical audit. The podcast examines the balance between local and national audit and suggests that local clinical audit professionals should have a major say in who wins the forthcoming Department of Health contract for re-invigorating clinical audit beyond March 2013. To listen to the podcast, click here.

HQIP publish Standards and Curricula for Clinical Audit Learning

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After prolonged debate, discussion and re-drafting of the relevant documents, HQIP have finally published their long awaited Educational Standards and Curricula for Clinical Audit. The 'Standards for Clinical Audit Learning and Development' outlines six standards for education in clinical audit. Two further Foundation and Advanced documents provide tools to allow professionals to create their own educational packages. While the standards are not mandatory, HQIP hope that their work will enable training providers to benchmark clinical audit learning and training programmes against best practice. When launching the new documents, Kate Godfrey HQIP QID Lead said 'helping organisations to ensure and assure the quality of learning and development in clinical audit is a key objective of HQIP'. To access the documents, click here.

NCAAG changes into NAGCAE and calls for ‘new vision’!

Image From 1st January 2012 the National Clinical Audit Advisory Group changed its name to the National Advisory Group on Clinical Audit and Enquiries (NAGCAE). We understand that the main reason for the amendment occurred because the NAGCAE name suggested that the group only had a role in national clinical audit. This is not the case as the group also have a responsibility for helping to reinvigorate local clinical audit. We would encourage all those with an interest in audit to read the NAGCAE minutes from December 2011 as these include news of some significant developments – not least those outlined on pages 7-9. NAGCAE are looking at a number of key areas for audit: focusing on improving the quality of national audits and looking at links between local and national audit. Within the minutes there is a call for a ‘new vision as to the role and responsibilities of audit staff in Trusts’. To read the NAGCAE minutes, click here.

Clinical Audit features heavily in Sky News investigation!

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A Sky News investigation founded on requesting clinical audit reports from Trusts via the Freedom of Information Act has uncovered serious failings surrounding the security of medicines and controlled drugs in British hospitals. In total Sky contacted 166 NHS acute trusts asking for a copy of their last medicines and controlled-drugs security audit. Interestingly only 94 audits were received and a high proportion of Trusts did not respond to Sky’s FOI request. Results from audits obtained by Sky highlighted a number of concerns with audit results reporting that missing drugs could not be accounted for, key medicines were out of date, medicines were stored at incorrect temperatures and controlled drugs were often not stored securely. To read more and watch the Sky report, click here. For information, the Sky News report led to a letter being sent to all acute trusts by Sir Bruce Keogh (NHS Medical Director) requesting that all Trusts undertake an audit of the safe and secure handling of medicines by the 31st March 2012 and that results should then be returned to the Care Quality Commission. Click here to read the letter.

List of NCAs for 2012-3 Quality Accounts confirmed

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The Department of Health has confirmed the list of national clinical audits (NCAs) for inclusion in the 2012-13 Quality Accounts. The list is available from the HQIP website in both excel and word formats. A total of 51 national audits are included on the list, with a further 6 confidential enquiries. The HQIP website includes background details explaining how the list was compiled. There is information on stakeholders who were contacted by HQIP for their views on the list, but there is no information on what weighting was given to the relevant stakeholders views. To find out more, click here. The publication of the list has led to very lively discussions on the National Clinical Audit Forum and we would encourage those with an interest in this work to read and take part in the debate.

CASCexcel spreadsheet now available

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CASC Directors, Stephen and Tracy have always tried to make clinical audit simple and accessible and since 2005 we have utilised self-analysing excel spreadsheets to speed up data analysis. With this in mind we have been working with KALU Training and Consultancy to develop a series of simple excel spreadsheets. The first spreadsheet we have produced allows healthcare staff to collect audit data on 20 criteria across up to 50 patients/cases. As data is added number counts are updated, red-amber-green coding can be adjusted and a results graph is automatically produced. If you wish to download the CASCexcel spreadsheet in xlsx format, please click here. If you wish to obtain the xls version, please click here. This is free-to-use software but we kindly ask that if you develop audits using the resource you send your templates to CASC so that we can develop a library of excel audits to share with others working in audit. Please Note: The CASC spreadsheet is in xlsx format and requires up-to-date software to open.

News from Clinical Audit and Improvement event

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The annual Clinical Audit and Improvement national conference took place from 7-8 February in London. The event was organised by HQIP and Healthcare Conferences and incorporated various presentations and eight masterclass sessions. Sadly the Department of Health keynote speech was cancelled at short notice, but HQIP CEO Robin Burgess delivered the opening address to delegates. Burgess informed delegates that ‘audit is more and more important’ and re-assured local audit professionals that HQIP understand the current pressures faced by local practitioners and their ongoing concerns regarding the quality of national clinical audits. HQIP used the event to announce a number of key developments, including a new consultation looking at the quality of national audits, plans for an international audit event in London in April and their updated Curricula and Standards for clinical audit training. Further details on the event are available via both Healthcare Conferences UK and HQIP websites.

CASC’s online survey results now available

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In December 2011, CASC conducted their annual online survey for the second time. The survey was supported by Snap Surveys and a total of 158 respondents with an interest in clinical audit took the time to participate. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who completed the survey. The draft results are now available and a full report is scheduled for the start of May 2012. The results of the survey provide an independent barometer of the current state of clinical audit in the UK and this year we have been able to compare findings with results from 2010. To read the e-postcard sent to all CASC members, please click here.

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