Guest Blog: Clinical Audit Advent

Editor introduction: During advent – Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust Clinical audit team have been sharing their audit advent tips via Twitter & Facebook pages. I saw their tweets & was impressed with their creative festive twists to some important messages so I was pleased when they kindly allowed us to share them in full via this guest blog. I hope you find them as enjoyable as I did. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2018.

Carl WalkerN-QI-CAN Chair

auditadvent You better watch out! You better not cry! You better not pout we’re telling you why, Audit Advent is coming to town!

Open our advent calendar each day for a new clinical audit hint, tip or FAQ!

1: ♪♫♪ On the first day of Christmas the experts said to me, “Clinical Audit is a Quality Improvement methodology”….♪♬♪

2:  Pilot your audit tool;


A pilot is central to the whole success/failure of your project. A small pilot of 2 or 3 cases may highlight any changes that are not apparent at the design stage before committing time and resources to the full project.

3: ♪♫♪ It’s audit time, there’s no need to be afraid….♪♬♪

Set a realistic end date and always leave yourself enough time to complete your clinical audit project.

4: FAQ: Can I audit someone else’s practice?

no 4

It is not ethical to audit the work of another ward/speciality without their prior knowledge and consent. At least one professional that provided direct care must be involved in the audit project.

5. ♪♫♪♬♬♪ Last Christmas, I finished my audit, highlighted issues, put actions in place. This year, to evidence change, I’m planning to re-audit ♪♫♪♬♪

Remember, improvements made to patient care are evidenced by re-audit

6. Are you using the Naughty or NICE list?

no 6

Remember, when planning your clinical audit, set explicit criteria against best practice standards, guidelines & policies. NICE guidelines are a great place to start & a Trust priority area

7. Focus is key; keep your eye on the bauble!

no 7

To ensure your clinical audit is successful, make sure you focus on your objectives and don’t go off track. Collect only the data you need to measure against your standards.

8. Don’t let the ghost of clinical audit future show you what would have happened were you not to have changed your ways…

no 8

Formulating robust, SMART action plans will ensure your audit improves practice and patient care

9. Follow the brightest star

no 9

Be wise with your time & ensure your audit project is a Trust priority, such as:

NICE, SIRI’s, CQC report themes, complaints, high risk areas, National Audits, Re-audit, themes from Confidential Outcome Reviews.

10. Don’t get your fairy lights in a muddle…

no 10

Keep your data organised and structured. Creating a simple data collection tool will help you untangle the information when it comes to the analysis.

11. Don’t get caught in a snow drift!

no 11

Clinical audit should be a snapshot of current practice, not a blanket of data. Select a manageable number of snowflakes to examine before your motivation melts away, you can’t catch them all!

Many thanks to the team at Portsmouth Hospitals for allowing us to share these festive words of advice – in particular Derek Williams (Clinical Audit Manager), Claire Froggatt (NICE Co-ordinator), Sarah McGuire (Clinical Audit & Governance Administrator), & Jen Burnett (Clinical Audit Facilitator)



  1. I’ve only just come across this blog. For reference the links on the NQICAN homepage are broken. While the content is very interesting and stimulating it is not current. I can’t imagine a QI blog focusing on Christmas post Easter and now well into April. What has gone wrong here? My understanding is that NQICAN are a network of enthusiasts. Surely writing a blog on a regular basis should be an easily deliverable collective responsibility?

  2. Has this blog been Bismarcked? This website is leading with an article on Father Christmas as we approach the Summer Solstice. I’ve just read the introductory blog from 2017 that ushered in this resource where lots was asserverated. After a promising start this looks like it has been well and truly scuppered. I also note the NQICAN accounts for 2017-18 aren’t available although they have been promised here. I’d sincerely like to see who recompensed what at NQICAN and for what? And who are NQICAN accountable to, or do they police themselves?

    1. Thanks for your support for the blog. A new blog will be posted before the end of the week – the launch of our forum has been quite a time commitment due to its success and we haven’t received any guest blogs since Christmas. Thanks for flagging the links issue we will rectify this asap. The accounts will go to our next meeting on June 7th and then shared. In terms of accountability we are an independent group of professionals so don’t directly report to anyone other than NHS England who now fund the networks.

      1. Also in the spirit of transparency, accountability & context – our chair has decided to take off the anonymous option for comments which is common practice across other blog sites for the same reasons.

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