Published: 08/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5985 Page 36

'My role should be as a champion of delivering a good deal for patients, ' says Elsa Conway, head of clinical governance at Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland Mental Health trust.

Ms Conway is a firm believer in clinical governance being important for all trust staff. 'Each trust defines clinical governance differently and it is easy to set it up as being a different practice to what everybody else does, removed from other practices and staff. But here we try to make it the work of everybody in the trust; everybody's business.' Ms Conway names the local SHA's clinical governance forum (see main text) and support from the trust board as vital to getting the message across.

The trust is currently implementing an integrated governance framework that should be introduced early this year, with a view to preparing for the health checks due to be introduced by the Healthcare Commission.

'It is about sharing information better, not staying within the box that you work in and involving service users and carers more, although I might be doing myself out of a job, ' she says.