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NICE chair: ‘I want to go back to square one with GPs’

Exclusive The chair of NICE has pledged to go ‘back to square one’ to address GPs’ concerns over guidelines, following a barrage of criticisms from the profession.

Professor David Haslam, who has been at the helm at NICE for the past two years, said he was fully committed to listening to grassroots GPs and is now approaching leading representatives of the profession to head up a new consultative body.

The move comes after GPs expressed disquiet about a number of new NICE recommendations, including the decision to widen statin use in spite of protests from GP leaders, as well as a series of negative headlines in the national media – such as the call from a senior NICE official for GPs to be referred to the GMC for over-prescribing antibiotics.

Speaking to Pulse in an exclusive interview at the recent NICE annual conference, Professor Haslam said he was ‘committed to engaging with representatives of real, frontline GPs’.

He said: ‘I want to take this back to square one: what’s the problem, what is bugging GPs about the way NICE does things, how can we get it better? I’m expecting big things from that.

Professor Haslam insisted these controversies formed part of the usual consultative process in developing guidelines – and that NICE was consistently reviewing and taking on board the views of GPs.

He said: ‘I don’t see it as criticism. I see it as part of the process – it’s exactly what NICE tries to do.’

However, he conceded that misleading headlines had come out of the launch of NICE guidelines ‘on a number of occasions recently’.

And he said that the new GP consultative body would seek to tackle these issues and bring NICE back in line with GPs’ best interests - although he declined to name who would be involved.

Professor Haslam said: ‘I haven’t got a name for it yet, but initially it will be an informal meeting to discuss the best way to tackle the sort of issues that Pulse has been so effective at flagging up.

‘I am very aware that general practice is under a lot of pressure at the moment. NICE is seen as part of the establishment, and that causes real problems. [But] what NICE is here for is to produce the best possible advice to help people deliver high-quality care.’

Read the full interview here

Readers' comments (15)

  • Took Early Retirement

    Sounds to me like he has been up the road to Damascus.

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  • agree - David Haslam has been one of the good guys but I fear he will find he is hamstrung by the system

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  • good
    but job number one...?
    I NEVER EVER EVER AGAIN WANT ONE JOT OF DIKTAT TO GPS ABOUT WHAT WE SHOULD DO IN OUR SPECIALTY WITHOUT FULL CONSULTATION WITH THE COALFACE IN FUTURE FROM ANY ORGANISATION WHATEVER..and YES this SHOULD be screamed from the rooftops!!..until they finally come to their senses.

    this applies to every ivory tower..there is a terrible ongoing failure of the most basic sign of good management in the bureaucracy..this is that you MUST ALWAYS discuss proposed changes in the reality of the shop floor first before ANY proposed change.
    (justifiable on the basis of history)cynicism aside..i do feel professor haslam is honourable without question and i wish him well and thank him for this rare sunbeam of intelligent enlightenment in the black overcast of the dead hand of nhs managememt structures.
    bravo.

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  • does it actually matter how NICE he is?

    what is the point of NICE as it duplicates work of other organisations and we are often pressured to follow local guidelines anyway?

    is it cost effective?
    do doctors actually use it's 'guidance'
    why bother with BTS,SIGN etc if we have NICE?
    i thought money was tight?

    etc etc

    I'm sure he is lovely but i still don't see the point of NICE?

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  • ...Just a couple of years too late!
    NICE is a fail safe guidance system, not purely evidence based!

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