I fully support the development of clinical audit programmes at all levels across the health service, including the area of surgery. The need for development in this area is clearly identified in the health strategy, Shaping a Healthier Future.
I see clinical audit of surgical procedures as just one component of the overall quest for quality improvement in health care. In my view there are a number of prerequisites for the development of a clinical audit programme. These include commitment from hospital consultants, boards and management and the availability of accurate, timely and comparable activity data. The need, in particular, for directly comparable data is critical in assessing the success rates for specific surgical procedures.