Clinical governance is an umbrella term to cover the activities that help sustain and improve patient care. It was first described for the NHS by Sir Liam Donaldson in 1998 as a 'system through which NHS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care'.
Clinical governance is at the heart of all of our clinical activity and we deliver and embed it in our activities through a number of measures.
- The Trust has a strong track record of focusing on our most important asset, our staff. Without well developed staff who understand their role and contribution to the patient or service user experience and outcome we cannot achieve good governance.
- Leadership is high on the organisation priority and our Chief Executive Officer commits energy, time and resource into ensuring leaders are fit for purpose and drive and deliver a strong clinical, quality based service.
- In order to achieve good clinical governance we must and do listen to our patients as they are the only ones able to tell us first hand how well we are doing to give the best possible care. We hear their voice through a variety of media - including patient experience surveys, stakeholder groups and events and respond. In 2012 we appointed a Head of Organisational Learning so that we can drive learning from patient surveys, patient comments and to ensure we do not repeat mistakes that come to light in complaints or adverse events.
- The Trust cannot deliver good clinical governance without good information and we have a wealth of information resource available. We have been using this data to enable us to understand how we can perform against clearly defined clinical outcomes.
- A comprehensive clinical audit programme that staff of all grades and disciplines participate in. Many of our audits are locally designed to ensure that we can truly test the efficacy of our services. Many of our audits are based on national best practice (e.g. NICE guidance). We also undergo a rigorous audit programme of services undertaken by external auditors. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visit us regularly to ensure we are complying with essential standards and we have our internal 'Mock CQC' programme where a team of colleagues visit services and assess them against the CQC outcomes.
- Other important elements or 'pillars' of clinical governance includes research. The Trust has a research programme that enables our services to deliver care based on the best available evidence.
Our Board receives monthly reports on various governance activities and seeks continual assurance through our committee structure and also by partaking in regular site visits and walk-rounds with our staff.
Clinical governance is at the heart of the Trust and is led by our Medical Director.