Clinical Governance

The most widely used definition of clinical governance, as used in the UK National Health Service, is a framework through which NHS organizations are accountable for continually improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish. Introduced in 1998, it was a programme to implement extensive culture change: at the professional level, with individual health care professionals adopting 'reflective practice' and patients being placed at the centre of professional thinking; at team level, with teams becoming multidisciplinary groups, where understanding about roles, about sharing information and knowledge and about support for each other becomes part of everyday practice; and at the organizational level, with organizations putting in place systems and local arrangements to support teams and assure the quality of care provided with commitment and leadership from the board level down.

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