Clinical governance is fundamental to ensuring your healthcare service delivers safe, high-quality health care to patients. It involves your healthcare service establishing, using, and continuously improving the quality of their services and minimising risks to patient safety.1
Clinical governance is the set of relationships and responsibilities established by a healthcare service between regulators and funders, owners and managers, healthcare providers, patients, consumers’ and other stakeholders to ensure good clinical outcomes. It ensures:
- The community can be confident systems in place to deliver safe and high-quality health care
- There is a commitment to continuously improve services
- The healthcare service and its workforce is accountable to patients and the community for ensuring the delivery of safe, effective and high-quality health care.
Clinical governance framework
Your healthcare service’s clinical governance framework describes the safety and quality systems and processes, when they are in place, ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality health care.
By implementing the actions in the Clinical Governance Standard and the Partnering with Consumers Standard, your healthcare service will develop its own clinical governance. Clinical governance consists of five key components:
- A culture of safety and quality
- Safety and quality improvement systems
- Clinical performance and effectiveness; from a workforce with the right skills and qualifications to deliver high-quality patient care
- Safe environment for the delivery of health care
- Partnering with patients and consumers
A system is a way of describing all the components that together make up an approach to managing an issue. A system includes resources, policies, processes, and procedures that are organised, resources, integrated, regulated and administered to achieve an outcome.
Governance, leadership and culture
Governance, leadership and culture is a central driver of clinical governance. Healthcare services that demonstrate a culture of safety and quality improvement have strong leadership that prioritises safety and quality. Commitment from leaders is key; their actions and attitudes influence the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of everyone in the healthcare service. Other important aspects include:
- Shared perceptions of the importance of safety
- Constructive communication
- Mutual trust
- A workforce that is engaged and always aware that things can go wrong
- Acknowledgement at all levels that mistakes occur
- Ability to recognise, respond to, give feedback about, and learn from, adverse events, compliments, complains, data and new models of care.2