PIRATES Ahoy! Introducing the Principles of Clinical Governance

A definition of clinical governance is that 'it is a quality assurance process designed to ensure that standards of care are maintained and improved and that the NHS is accountable to the public.'

'A framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for continually improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish'?

It is of vital importance that every doctor has awareness and understanding of clinical governance and that they possess the necessary knowledge and skills that allow them to undertake regular clinical and service audits in line with the requirements and principles of this framework for improving clinical practice.

Specialist leadership and management training providers Maguire Healthcare provide a comprehensive one-day course, Clinical Governance and Audit, which provides doctors and other healthcare professionals with a thorough understanding of clinical governance and equips them with the skills needed to carry out audits to ensure continued delivery of the highest standards of clinical care.

The seven pillars of clinical governance

Clinical governance is based upon seven underlying principles and these can be remembered by using the mnemonic 'PIRATES'. The seven principles are:

P atient and public involvement

This aspect of clinical governance concerns developing and improving services by involving patients and the public, gathering feedback from them regarding the treatment and care they have received via surveys, questionnaires and consultative meetings.

I nformation and IT

The correct use of information technology to monitor service delivery and measure quality outcomes, protect the confidentiality of patient information and ensure that patient records are kept up to date is fundamentally important to clinical governance and audit.

R isk management

A framework of practices should exist to ensure that healthcare protocols are duly adhered to and that risks of harm to patients and staff are minimised. This framework should enable mistakes and close-calls to be learned from and foster a blame-free culture in which risks and mistakes may be reported without fear of reprisals.

A udit

A viable and comprehensive audit process is necessary to the ongoing monitoring and measurement of clinical service delivery, ensuring that any shortfalls in standards of care are captured and addressed.

T raining and education

An ongoing programme of training and skills transfer is necessary in order for staff to continue to perform their roles competently as clinical practice and service delivery changes and evolves. This scheme of Continuous Professional Development will include formal training, examinations and assessments to ensure that skills and knowledge remain current.

E ffectiveness in clinical care

Providing effective clinical care requires commitment to provide the best possible outcome for every patient as a result of your actions. This involves implementing and adhering to national standards and guidelines, taking an evidence-based approach to patient management and conducting research which adds to existing evidence in order to enhance future standards of patient care.

S taff Management

This concerns the need in clinical governance for effective staff recruitment and management including performance monitoring and improvement where necessary, team and morale building, motivation and the establishment of a sound working environment.

Maguire Healthcare can enable medical professionals to gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of Clinical Governance and Audit and also provide many other invaluable classroom-based and online training courses for doctors and other healthcare staff who have adopted leadership or managerial roles.

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