The impact of the national clinical outcome review programmes in England: a review of the evidence

Clin Med (Lond). 2020 Jul;20(4):e52-e58. doi: 10.7861/clinmed.2019-0359.


Background: There is a lack of evidence about the effectiveness of the national clinical outcome review programmes in England.

Methods: We undertook a scoping review of the published literature for evidence of the impact of any of the current programmes or their predecessors, and asked programme leads to share examples of the impact of their work. Data were thematically analysed.

Findings: Evidence about impact related to clinicians' awareness and practice, structural aspects of healthcare, processes of care and patient outcomes.

Conclusions: The national clinical outcome review programmes appear to have had significant impact, but none are funded to assess the outcome and impact of the recommendations they make or to deliver a programme of change. There is no structured and systematic way in which the findings and recommendations of each programme are taken forward, nor in which the findings from across programmes are collated and considered.

Keywords: Clinical outcome review programmes; effectiveness; impact; mortality review programmes; service improvement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • England
  • Humans