Consultants' attitudes to clinical governance: barriers and incentives to engagement

Public Health. 2007 Aug;121(8):614-22. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2006.12.013. Epub 2007 May 15.


Objective: To explore medical specialists' attitudes to clinical governance in acute hospitals and factors influencing these attitudes.

Methods: A semi-structured interview study with a purposeful sample of 24 medical specialists from two contrasting hospitals. Hospital A had a low level of consultant involvement in quality improvement initiatives and Hospital B had higher levels of engagement.

Results: Specialists from both hospitals acknowledged that quality improvement was a major part of their role. Among specialists from Hospital A, the lack of a commonly held focus on quality-improvement, poor inter-professional relationships and little clinical engagement in management were the main factors generating negative attitudes towards clinical governance. Effective communication of the hospital's goal of continuous quality improvement to all staff groups, a sense of being able to get issues affecting the quality of care heard by senior management, and a perception that there were clear structures and processes to support clinical governance, were factors that resulted in a more positive attitude to clinical governance among specialists in Hospital B. Specialists from both hospitals identified lack of time across all professional groups and availability of accurate data as barriers to involvement in clinical governance activities.

Conclusion: The cultural context, level of technical support available, ability to communicate clear goals and strategies and the presence of structures to support delivery, all contribute to shaping specialists' attitudes to clinical governance and in turn influence levels of engagement and ultimately the success of quality improvement initiatives.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • State Medicine
  • United Kingdom