Clinical / Practice Audit Guidelines

Professional Competence

Information on our Professional Competence Scheme (PCS) and Continuous Professional Development Support Scheme (CPD-SS) for NCHDs in Non-Training Posts.

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Clinical (Practice) Audit Guidelines

Clinical (Practice) Audit Booklet
Clinical (Practice) Audit Summary Sheet
Clinical (Practice) Audit tips for MH Tribunal / S17 psychiatrists
Introduction to Clinical (Practice) Audit in Psychiatry
GDPR & Clinical / Practice Audit – Medical Council Guidance

Clinical (Practice) Audit is defined as the “systematic review and evaluation of current practice with reference to research based standards [and designed] to improve patient care”. The setting of standards, the measurement of practice compared to a “gold standard”, the identification of deficiencies (closing the loop) are the accepted components of clinical (practice) audit.

As part of the Professional Competence Scheme, all registered medical practitioners will actively engage in audit and at a minimum, participate in one audit exercise annually that relates directly to their area of clinical practice. It is recommended that practitioners spend at a minimum one hour per month in audit activity.

Clinical (Practice) Audit is recognised as having three elements:

  1. Measurement – measuring a specific element of clinical practice
  2. Comparison – comparing results with the recognised standard (in circumstances where comparison is possible)
  3. Evaluation – reflecting the outcome of audit and where indicated, changing practice accordingly

The College of Psychiatrists has drafted a Clinical (Practice) Audit Booklet giving guidance on planning, completing and documenting your Clinical (Practice) Audit. We recommend that you complete a Clinical (Practice) Audit Summary Record as evidence of your audit.

A list of sample Clinical (Practice) Audit topics for Psychiatrists engaged in Mental Health Tribunal / Section 17 work is available.


GDPR and Clinical / Practice Audit – Medical Council guidance, updated June 2021

The Medical Council has published updated Guidelines on the implications of GDPR on Clinical / Practice Audit. Please read this information carefully, as Clinical / Practice Audit is mandatory in the 2021/22 PCS year.

“The Medical Council has reviewed the advice and confirms that there are no restrictions under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Data Protection Act 2018 for Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs) to complete an audit”


GDPR / Clinical (Practice) Audit – Update from the Medical Council May 2019

Given the current uncertainty around the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implications on Clinical (Practice) Audit, in May 2019 the Medical Council published guidance on its website regarding GDPR & Clinical (Practice) Audit updated guidelines.

“It is important to note that each medical practitioner is either a data controller in their own right, or is employed by a data controller (for example a hospital). Every data controller is responsible for ensuring that they are compliant with the GDPR. The Medical Council can only give guidance in this regard. In light of this, medical practitioners should liaise with their data protection officer or seek their own legal advice on this issue.”