National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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Guidelines, not tramlines

Blog posted by: Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre of guidelines at NICE, 15 September 2017.

Marks sets the record straight

recent headline in the Times said ‘Doctors must send obese patients to cookery class’. It was for an article about our updated guidance for preventing type 2 diabetes. However, instead of raising awareness of our new guidance it unfortunately suggested NICE recommendations are meant as instructions or advice.

We want to set the record straight.

NICE guidance is not mandatory. Our recommendations never instruct a GP or healthcare professional to do anything. We are here to support their decisions, not dictate them.

We assess the very best, highest quality evidence so that they can trust our advice is reliable, but it is then up to them as to whether they follow what we suggest, or whether they think their patient would benefit from a different approach. We recognise that they are best placed to make this call. They are the people who see, treat and talk to their patients about what they want and need, after all.

When headlines and media coverage suggest otherwise, painting a picture of us handing down ‘must dos’ and obligatory instructions, it helps no one.

Our health and social care sector is under immense pressure, facing unprecedented demand from a patient population with complex needs. It is vital now, more than ever that we work together to ensure we are providing the very best care as efficiently as possible.

NICE guidance can help to achieve that, but it should be seen as part of the puzzle, not the only answer.


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