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Today we celebrate the beginning of Clinical Audit Awareness Week. Throughout the week the Scottish National Audit Programme (SNAP) will tweet about each of the individual audits within the Programme to raise awareness of their work.

The vision of SNAP is: To provide an internationally recognised health intelligence service which, by working in partnership with stakeholders to audit clinical care, plays a key role in promoting safe, effective, and person-centred healthcare in Scotland.

It is widely accepted that good, accurate and robust data are necessary to allow NHS Boards to make decisions based on credible evidence and fact. Our colleagues across the NHS rely on the information provided by the SNAP to make decisions about how they manage their services. At Public Health Scotland (PHS) we use data to measure against agreed clinical standards or Key Performance Indicators, monitoring, and taking action where practice falls short of the agreed standard. SNAP is committed, on behalf of PHS, to working collaboratively with NHS Boards and others, providing intelligence and resources to fully utilise data to continuously improve care and outcomes for patients. The patient is at the centre of everything we do and we aim to support a world-class public health system, with patients receiving the high-quality care that they deserve, enabling them to live longer, happier and healthier lives at home or in a care setting near homes and communities.

SNAP maintains a wide range of nationally recognised clinical audits and registers, many of which are specialty-based and involve a wide range of clinical, government and voluntary sector stakeholders. They reflect many improvements in care and outcomes over the years:

- Scottish Arthroplasty Project
- Scottish Audit of Intracranial Vascular Malformations
- Scottish Cardiac Audit Programme
- Scottish Electro Convulsive Therapy Audit Network
- Scottish Hip Fracture Audit
- Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group
- Scottish Stroke Care Audit
- Scottish Trauma Audit Group
- Scottish Multiple Sclerosis Register
- Scottish Renal Registry

Using the data, we run an annual governance process with NHS Boards to identify success, celebrate it and share learning. We also identify areas for development with NHS Boards agreeing action plans and timescales to improve. PHS works closely with NHS Boards to support them in delivering against their action plans and ultimately improving the care experience and outcomes for their patients.

As a specific example, following a lengthy consultation process the Scottish Electro Convulsive Therapy Audit Network (SEAN) led a review of the SEAN clinical standards. In collaboration with a group of experts from the field, the Scottish Standards for Electro Convulsive Therapy have been developed and were launched on 1st June 2023 in tandem with a new dataset and data collection system. This is an exciting development for both the national audit and the patient group, moving the focus of scrutiny from process to person-centred and outcome focussed.

Collection of data and timely reporting of outcomes against standards is essential to monitor and improve the care experience for patients and ensure better outcomes, leading to longer healthier lives. Actively using audits is vitally important as is adjusting and modifying standards to continue to improve. It is also important to recognise when standards have become embedded practice, retiring them as appropriate. We would like to thank our colleagues in NHS Boards across Scotland for their support for SNAP and continued commitment and resilience to improve patient care.

If you would like to learn more about the work of any of the SNAP audits, go to the PHS website. From here you can find details of their individual websites and contact details for the teams who manage these projects.

To contact SNAP directly, email:






Last updated: 19 June 2023