Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Systematic failures and alternatives to audit

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 23 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1840
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

Set standards, review, change, and re-review: these fab four once rocked the medical world. This was “audit.” They rattled out simple quick numbers. From humble beginnings the tunes echoed around the world. For the first time audit attempted to systematically improve care at all levels of practice. Audit had merchandising, pens, calendars, and T shirts, and middle aged men screamed and fainted at the royal college command performance. Fan clubs formed throughout the country. The audit cycles were easy to write and so flexible that we thought they would play …

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