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Medical Audit

Volume 201: debated on Tuesday 14 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria his Department will use to determine the success of its investment in medical audit.

Investment in medical audit was initially to ensure that the necessary infrastructure would be in place to enable all doctors in the hospital and community health service to participate in medical audit from I April 1991 and all general practitioners from 1 April 1992.All regions and districts have established medical audit committees and all family health services authorities have set up medical audit advisory groups as required by the Department.The NHS management executive has a duty to ensure that the special funds for medical audit are being spent for the intended purpose. It is discharging this duty by requiring annual reports from the regions, supplemented by visits to all regions by senior management executive staff specifically to review expenditure and progress in medical audit in the primary and secondary care sectors. As far as evaluating value for money is concerned, the Department is examining this complex issue as part of its developing strategy. The criteria have been set out in health circulars and executive letters to the service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his policy on the sharing of the results of medical audit between clinicians and managers.

Medical audit committees are required to provide regular reports to both medical staff and management on the general results of audit which have been carried out. These may, for example, include:

  • a broad outline of the aggregate results together with any national, regional or other comparison available;
  • an account of any problems encountered in data retrieval or analysis;
  • an indication of what action is being taken or is recommended.

With the separation of the purchaser-provider functions medical audit has become a provider unit based activity and it is to unit managers that regular reports of the general result of audit are addressed.