The health secretary says: 'Clinical governance can be defined as a framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish.'2

According to Scally and Donaldson, clinical governance is a vehicle for continuously improving the quality of patient care and developing the capacity of the NHS in England to maintain high standards (including dealing with poor professional performance).3

At PCG level, clinical governance will involve standard setting and evaluation of service quality of general practice and individual practitioner development,according to Christie. It will build on the best of previous clinical quality initiatives and help make them the norm.4