Quality Improvement

Our work to promote quality improvement among providers of cancer care

What is Quality Improvement?

The clue is in the name! Quality improvement means using a variety of tools and methods in a systematic way, in order to improve the quality of care for patients on a constant basis, and create better outcomes.

Kate Walker, Senior Methodologist for NATCAN

What role do national cancer audits play?

A priority for each audit in NATCAN is the development of explicit quality improvement (QI) goals. The aim is to improve the results of all forms of cancer care, as well as the experience that patients have during diagnosis and treatment. The QI goals are developed in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders including professional bodies, patient charities and patients themselves.

Where available, national evidence-based standards of care, such as those published by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), underpin the improvement goals of each cancer audit. NATCAN and the audit teams review clinical performance against these goals and shine a light on areas where improvements are needed.

How can it help?

Results will be reported back frequently, and as soon after diagnosis as possible, alongside tools and methods which guide the way we evaluate cancer care. That means changes to cancer services, where needed, can be made as quickly and effectively as possible. In addition, the impact of these changes can be measured, and the lessons learnt can be shared, to help reduce costs.

The objective is that we will always be building and refining the way we do things, in order to improve them. There is no resting on our laurels. It involves the continuous testing and measuring of the way care is delivered, and ensuring that frontline teams of doctors and nurses are empowered to work effectively.


David Cromwell, Director of the CEU

When this is done in a systematic way, we can make the best use of stretched resources and reduce the chances of mistakes being made. It adds up to better care for patients, and better treatment outcomes.

Links to organisations providing more detailed information on Quality Improvement:

Royal College of Surgeons of England Quality Improvement in Surgery
Royal College of Radiology Quality Improvement in Clinical Radiology
Health Foundation Quality Improvement resources and publications
HQIP Introduction to quality improvement for healthcare professionals
HQIP Introduction to quality improvement for patients and publicĀ 
National Institute of Clinical Excellence Putting evidence based guidance into practice
NHS Wales Improvement Cymru

Quality Improvement Methods and Tools

Links to useful Quality Improvement methods and tools including templates

NHS Improvement Making data count

Quality Service Improvement and redesign tools

Cancer resources

Institute for healthcare improvement Model for Improvement

Quality Improvement essentials toolkit

HQIP Good governance handbook
HQIP Clinical audit: a guide for NHS Boards and partners
HQIP A guide to quality improvement tools
National Institute of Clinical Excellence Quality Improvement resources for commissioners

National Quality Improvement programmes

National programmes working to improve the quality of care and use the findings from the NATCAN audits to underpin their work

National Clinical Audit Benchmarking Benchmarked Audit data utilised for CQC hospital inspections

Last updated: 19 June 2023, 8:03pm