The Department of Health has chosen to entrust two audit contracts with The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).

The HQIP has been charged with the task of managing the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) and the Clinical Outcome Review Programme (CORP).

The partnership has also been hired to support local NHS organisations in England and Wales to undertake local clinical audits and maximise the local use of outputs from national audits.

Starting next April, when the contracts begin, the HQIP will report to the NHS Commissioning Board rather than the DH as is currently the case.

The HQIP plans to make the clinical audits more effective in improving patient care. This can be achieved, the HQIP believes, by enhancing the audit’s role in the improvement of service quality and clinical governance on a local and national level.

The HQIP hopes to appoint a medical director to improve clinical leadership within the organisation and provide support to those involved in the audit process.

HQIP chief executive Robin Burgess said: “Clinical audit is one of the most effective tools available to assess standards of care and improving quality. We have worked hard and achieved a great deal since being established in 2008, and the bar continues to be raised in terms of helping drive measurable improvements in patient care.”

NCAPOP includes national clinical audits on 40 of the most commonly occurring healthcare conditions. These include cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes and paediatric intensive care.

The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death, the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide for people with Mental Illness, the Child Health programme, the Maternal, Newborn and Infant programme, the National Review of Asthma Deaths and the Children’s Head Injury Project all fall under the umbrella of CORP.