Clinical governance is a systematic approach to maintaining and improving the quality of patient care within the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. It was introduced in 1999 in response to revelations of poor standards of care at several hospitals.
Clinical governance is underpinned by a number of concepts, including clinical risk management, quality improvement, clinical audit and patient safety. These concepts are interrelated, and all play a role in ensuring that high-quality patient care is delivered consistently across the NHS.
The key aim of clinical governance is to ensure that patients receive the best possible care, and that staff are continually learning and developing their skills so that they can provide the best possible care. To achieve this, clinical governance includes a number of processes and procedures, including the setting and monitoring of clinical standards, the collection and analysis of data on clinical performance, and the implementation of quality improvement initiatives.
The ultimate goal of clinical governance is to improve patient outcomes, and it is hoped that by continuously improving the quality of care delivered within the NHS, patient satisfaction will also increase.