Headlines: March 19th, 1999

The post code in which a patient lives will no longer determine the quality of care received if the newly launched clinical governance initiative succeeds. Guidance issued to Health Authorities and Trusts aims to develop a truly national health service in which there is equitable access to consistently high quality healthcare for all patients.

Arrangements are being made for setting clear national standards through National Service Frameworks and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Effective systems for monitoring standards will be introduced by the new statutory Commission for Health Improvement.

At the local level NHS Trust Boards will need to set up a clinical governance committee representing a balance of skills and interests. They will also have to carry out an assessment of in-house capacity and capability to implement clinical governance and produce a development plan for improving clinical quality. All arrangements will have to be set out in Board and Annual reports.