New commissioned project: National Audit for Care at the End of Life

The NHS Benchmarking Network (NHSBN) are delighted to announce that we have been commissioned to deliver the National Audit for Care at the End of Life (NACEL). 

The three-year project, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP), focuses on the quality and outcomes of care experienced by those in their last admission in acute, community and mental health hospitals throughout England and Wales. Outputs from this project will be of interest to those who receive, deliver and commission care, so will have a far-reaching audience.

The NHSBN has a track record of delivering National Clinical Audits, with the successful National Audit of Intermediate Care, being delivered for the last five years. Claire Holditch, NHSBN Director, confirmed, “Our focus at the Network is delivering user-friendly outputs to help participants improve the quality of services for patients and carers. We are delighted to have this opportunity to bring our tried and tested benchmarking and improvement methodologies to the NACEL”.

The scope of the NACEL will now include the following elements:

-          A case note review of inpatients in hospital in the last few days and hours of life.

-          An organisational level audit covering service models, activity, workforce, finance quality and outcomes

-          The development and administration of an innovative Carer Reported Experience Measure

-          The development and administration of a Staff Reported Measure, and

-          Topics for periodic, time-limited ‘spotlight’ audits

I would strongly encourage all trusts to participate.
— Professor Bee Wee, NCD for End of Life Care

The NACEL will be an independent piece of work, but will also build on previous audits, with services being assessed against the Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People’s Five Priorities of Care, CQC domains and NICE national guidance and quality standards. Both carer and staff views will be included in the audit for the first time.

Professor Bee Wee, National Clinical Director for End of Life Care said, “I am delighted to be working with the NHS Benchmarking Network (NHSBN) on delivering this important National Clinical Audit which will shine a light on the care that dying people receive in acute, community and mental health hospitals. We need to work hard to constantly improve the experience of people at the end of their lives, as well as those who matter the most to them. I would strongly encourage all trusts to participate.”

The Network will work closely with professional bodies, clinicians and other stakeholders to develop the content and methodology for the audit. Claire Holditch commented, “We are particularly proud of our relationship with The Patients’ Association, who will be a key partner in this work. The Patients’ Association will ensure that patient and carer views are embedded in the NACEL.”

Over the next few months, The Network team will be establishing the governance structure for the NACEL and consulting widely with stakeholder on the scope of the audit. The first iteration of the audit will take place in 2018.

You can find out more about the National Audit for Care at the End of Life by contacting the Project Coordinator, Jessica Walsh ( or 0161 266 2313). More information to follow.

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Editors note:

About HQIP, the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme and how it is funded

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) is led by a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and National Voices. Its aim is to promote quality improvement, and in particular to increase the impact that clinical audit has on healthcare quality in England and Wales. HQIP holds the contract to manage and develop the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP), comprising more than 30 clinical audits and outcome review programmes which cover care provided to people with a wide range of medical, surgical and mental health conditions. The programme is funded by NHS England, the Welsh Government and, with some individual audits, also funded by the Health Departments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

About NHS Benchmarking Network

The NHS Benchmarking Network is the in-house benchmarking service of the NHS promoting service improvement through benchmarking and sharing good practice. We are a member led organisation, with all subscription fees funding the benchmarking work programme.