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Health and care improvement and evidence-based research at the RCP

Here are some of the ways that the RCP supports health and care improvement research.

The RCP views research in its broadest sense. We collect and use a range of evidence to underpin the support of health and care improvements. We involve patients and carers as key partners every step of the way, and have also established a Patient and Carer Network. Although research is often seen as running clinical trials or in a lab, it can take many forms and plays a fundamental part in improving care and outcomes for patients. 

We run several programmes of work to gather evidence, measure practice, assure practice and use data to drive improvement, including: 

National Guideline Centre 

The National Guideline Centre (NGC) is hosted by the RCP and is one of the largest guideline development centres in the world.  

It is commissioned by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to develop evidence-based guidelines. NICE guidelines  provide care standards within the NHS for healthcare professionals, patients and their carers on the prevention, treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions as well as recommendations on the organisation of services and social care.  

National clinical audit programmes   

We manage three national clinical audit programmes on behalf of NHS England and Wales.  

The audits describe variations and gaps in the quality of care and identify good practice. They are an invaluable tool for improving the safety and quality of care, for targeting intelligent regulation and delivery of services and exploring value and variation at a time when systems are under great pressure. 

Each year we produce a variety of reports to highlight key areas for quality improvement. Providers and commissioners are asked to consider how these can be delivered locally for the benefit of patients and the healthcare system. Data are used to inform national policy and is available for secondary use such as research. Hear more about this from Dr Jane Youde, clinical director for audit and accreditation.

Clinical service accreditation  

The RCP has a long history of driving up high-quality care by setting standards against what good practice should look like. We manage five clinical service accreditation programmes, with the aim of improving the quality, safety and experience of patients and improving service delivery. Accreditation is an iterative process that uses evidence to measure services against national standards and is a voluntary, team-led process to improve care. 

Quality improvement and patient safety 

We develop quality improvement resources, guidance and tools and combine these with courses, coaching and networking to support clinicians and healthcare workers in their quality improvement work. 

Find out more about our work in quality improvement and patient safety.