Research Article

Guidelines for medical audit: seven principles.

BMJ 1989; 299 doi: (Published 19 August 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;299:498
  1. C. D. Shaw,
  2. D. W. Costain
  1. King's Fund Centre for Health Services Development, London.


    The government, general managers, and professional bodies all agree that medical audit should be implemented throughout the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, it is not yet decided either nationally or locally how audit should be defined and what its implications will be. In an analysis to find ways of measuring the design and effectiveness of hospital audit, therefore, seven main measures emerged that might serve as practical criteria. These were the definition of medical and managerial responsibilities; medical organisation; scope of audit; essential characteristics; resources needed; record keeping; and evaluation. Though generally consistent with the proposals of the government and the Department of Health, these seven principles offer some alternative approaches.