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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Alberti backs NICE when GP guidelines conflict

GPs torn between conflicting sets of national guidelines should follow NICE advice, says Professor Sir George Alberti, writes Rob Finch.

Sir George, the Government's emergency care tsar and former president of the Royal College of Physicians, urged GPs to ignore the British

Hypertension Society's user-friendly ABCD rules for selecting antihypertensives and instead to follow draft NICE advice to use cheaper diuretics firstline in all routine cases.

'To cover yourself legally, you have to go with NICE,' said Sir George, who led the team

that wrote the national service framework for CHD.

He added: 'Society guidelines go for what they think is best practice – but it is not necessarily economically viable.'

He was speaking after GPs were left in a quandary by the society's decision to stand by the ABCD rules in its updated national hypertension treatment guidelines – in defiance of NICE's

conclusion that there is 'no justification' for choosing an ACE inhibitor or calcium channel blocker firstline.

High-spending GP praised

by heart tsar

Dr Anthony Cummins's innovative scheme to tackle heart disease has been hailed by Government heart tsar Dr Roger Boyle as a model of good practice – despite causing GPs to spend three times the national average on cardiovascular drugs.

Nine in 10 CHD patients are treated entirely in primary care under the Wallasey Heart Centre scheme covering 80,000 patients. Dr Cummins said his PCT showed an 'enlightened' attitude to high drug bills for statins, ACE inhibitors and aspirin.

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