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Clinical audit guidance could help trainees be 'change agents of the future'

The RCP has called for stronger educational and organisational infrastructure when promoting the benefits of NCA data to trainee doctors in its latest report, Unlocking the potential: supporting doctors to use national clinical audit to drive improvement.

The report - which has been produced to encourage greater use in quality improvement services to improve patient outcomes - also said that building capability in quality improvement is key to using this data to drive improvement.

    Professor David Oliver, RCP clinical vice president, said:

    This report describes a key initiative: to join up clinical audit work and improvement work and provides a template for the future. By rolling out such approaches, we could equip a large number of trainees with some of the skills that they need to be local service leaders, quality champions and change agents of the future.

    Key messages

    • NCA can effectively promote national improvement in patient care, but in some cases promoting the use of NCA to drive local quality improvement projects can be challenging.
    • Trainees are aware that NCA is valuable in healthcare but not what that means for their own practice. Trainees get involved in NCA through data collection but there is then a disconnect. Trainees are not involved in using the collected data nor do they know how to access it.
    • Critical ingredients are mentoring, time and headspace to plan and do. If this is not given attention, then any quality improvement initiative is a token effort and is set up to fail with consequent demoralisation of all staff involved.

    The report was independently commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).