Question Robert Health

Clinical governance and quality

How does quality relate to the clinical governance framework in the NHS?

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Answer Internal Staff

'Clinical governance' is an approach which is intended to ensure that the NHS is accountable for maintaining a high quality of healthcare to its patients. High quality care in this case refers to care that is safe, effective and provides patients with a positive experience.

Clinical governance is important because before the late 90s, NHS trusts only had a statutory responsibility to ensure patient safety and to ensure the responsible financial management of the trust; they were not held accountable for improving standards of care for their patients. As a result, standards could be highly variable, with some areas receiving excellent care and others falling behind in quality.

As the above illustrates, quality is not simply relevant to clinical governance but it is actually the whole core of the approach, ensuring that quality is front-and-centre in the top-down management of the NHS.