You are currently not logged in to BMJ Careers.

THE ADVICE ZONE

What is clinical governance?

Authors: Carl Gray 

Publication date:  25 Jun 2005


Have a career or related problem that needs answering? Can't find the right person to point you in the right direction? Log on to the Advice Zone for reliable medical careers advice. You can post a question or see if one of our 300 advisers has already answered a similar question. Here is a selection of questions and answers posted on the site.

www.bmjcareers.com/advicezone

Clinical governance is defined as “A framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safe-guarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish.” [1] It's often thought of in terms of the seven pillars of clinical governance—clinical effectiveness, risk management, patient experience and involvement, communication, resource effectiveness, strategic effectiveness, and learning effectiveness.

In short, it's doing the right thing, at the right time, by the right person—the application of the best evidence to a patient's problem, in the way the patient wishes, by an appropriately trained and resourced individual or team. But that's not all—that individual or team must work within an organisation that is accountable for the actions of its staff, values its staff (appraises and develops them), minimises risks, and learns from good practice, and indeed mistakes.

Perhaps surprisingly the NHS only acquired a statutory duty of care for quality in 1998, unlike that of finance, which has been in existence for as long as the NHS has!

As with everything, times are changing, and in a lot of places clinical governance is being superseded by Healthcare Standards. Under this, there are seven domains—different to the seven pillars of clinical governance, but with the seven pillars buried within. Have a look at the clinical governance support team's website for more information (www.cgsupport.nhs.uk). ■

Cover: Wellcome Library

MORE ABOUT THE ADVICE ZONE

More than 3000 doctors and medical students have already posted their queries on the Advice Zone (www.bmjcareers.com/advicezone) on everything from exams and career choices to maternity leave or bullying bosses. Read what our advisers have suggested, or submit your own question to the panel.

WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE?

If you have anything helpful to add— perhaps you have been in a similar situation yourself—then you can post your own comments on the Advice Zone by going to the relevant section, then select the question and simply click on the “Reply to Question” button. Alternatively, you can send a rapid response to any of the questions and answers on the page.

References

  1. Scally G, Donaldson LJ. Looking forward: clinical governance and the drive for quality improvement in the new NHS in England. BMJ  1998;317: 61-5.

Carl Gray consultant histopathologist and executive medical director Harrogate Health Care

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: