I was interested to read the description in 'Count the cost', (pages 28-29, 27 May) of a method of calculating the cost of clinical audit retrospectively. Several authors have already outlined this process, using crude measures of time taken, once an audit is complete.

Addenbrooke's clinical audit department has developed a simple method of forecasting the cost of an audit prospectively. It is sensitive to complexities such as whether standards have been easily defined, the number of questions asked and fields required in the database. The project does not account for non-pay expenditure as 95 per cent of the clinical audit budget is spent on pay.

The ability to estimate the length of time an audit will take has improved clinical audit project management, and will be a valuable tool in allocating departmental resources to the demands of clinical governance.

I would be happy to share this with others interested in clinical audit and clinical governance.

Jane Robinson

Clinical audit manager

Addenbrooke's Hospital


phone: 01223-216112 fax: 01223-257179

e-mail: jane.robinson@msexec. addenbrookes.anglox.nhs.uk