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CA - clinical audit

Clinical audit graph

Clinical audit for Dental Practice Teams in Wales


HEIW's dental postgraduate section provides and facilitates programmes for continuous professional development (CPD) and quality improvement for individuals and practice teams across Wales.

These programmes are developed to assist and prepare practice teams for the rapidly changing face of dental health and dental healthcare provision.

The drivers for change all have the same aim this being to provide prudent dental healthcare, that is safe, simple and densitive (to the patients needs).

Dental practices and their teams have been encouraged to undertake clinical audit and peer review involving comparisons of different aspects of their practice against established good practice. This comparison had the aim of identifying areas of improvement that on implementation would be re-examined with the expected outcome of improving the service and care for patients.

The revised cookbook for clinical audit is designed to allow practices to become familiar with methods of quality improvement. The cookbook will provide Dental Practice Teams with ideas for identifying areas for improvement based upon National and International drivers for change.

These drivers for change lead to present and future improvement campaigns that often become embedded in Quality Assurance Assessments (QAS)

Becoming domains for CPD that develops into requirements for Enhanced CPD.

Quality Improvement and Clinical Audit

Improvement and Clinical Audit

The clinical audit cycle encourages dental teams to self examine different aspects of their clinical practice, to implement improvements where the need is identified and re-examine, from time to time, those areas, which have been audited to ensure that a high quality of service is being maintained or further improved.

Audit has its place in Healthcare however:

  • it takes a lot of time to collect data showing what you have either done or are doing
  • it doesn’t identify what you want to do better
  • audit doesn’t identify if the change made is an improvement.

The models for improvement

The models for improvement asks three key questions.

  1. What are we trying to accomplish? What do we really need to do better?

  2. If we make changes, how will we know that a change is an improvement?

  3. What change can we make that will result in improvement?

These questions are used in conjunction with small scale testing in “Plan-Do-Study-Act” cycles (PDSA)

In the revised cook-book we will provide examples of how you can utilize the model of quality improvement and PDSA into the improvement topics.

What to do next?

In Wales the quality delivery plan was published in 2012. This plan provides a common and consistent language and approach to improvement developed with 1000 lives Improvement. 

1000 lives improvement provides an e-learning training platform in the terms, processes and theories involved in quality improvement.

Undertaking bronze level training will provide the practice team with:

  • an understanding of quality improvement
  • two hours verifiable CPD with certification.

Before you start a funded clinical audit or peer review those participating should have achieved bronze level training.

If you have any questions regarding setting up a project, possible topics or the paperwork involved please contact your local tutor, or for general enquiries please contact