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. 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 expectation described in the 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. With the patient at the centre of everything we do, 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 Accreditation 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 an action plan 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, through the Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group (SICSAG), SNAP has transformed its systems to provide daily data to inform the response to the COVID-19 pandemic across Scotland. Since March 2020, it has extracted data from intensive care units and high dependency units to monitor the number of patients in units with COVID-19, which Scottish Government has used to plan the national response and protect healthcare experiences.

Collection of data and timely reporting of outcomes against standards is essential to monitor and improve the care experience for patients as well as ensuring better outcomes, leading to longer healthier lives. Closing the audit loop is vitally important (see the visualisation), as is adjusting standards to continue the improvement cycle and constantly driving forward change. 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.

To contact SNAP, email:

Last updated: 06 October 2022