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GPs face crackdown over NICE guidelines

Ministers are planning a crackdown on GPs' adherence to National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines.

Under the proposals, the Commission for Health Audit and Improvement will monitor primary care trusts' implementation of guidelines as part of an effort to influence GPs.

Health minister Lord Warner told the NICE annual conference guidelines were being put in place 'too slowly' and improving implementation was 'a key challenge'.

He also admitted NICE guidelines were often 'rather overwhelming' and not 'implementation ready'.

From January, GPs will receive quick reference versions of clinical guidelines and technology appraisal guidance as part of a drive to make them more accessible.

Professor Peter Littlejohns, NICE clinical director, said GPs would 'not be able to ignore' guidelines if the commission was charged with checking PCTs.

Future guidelines would pay close attention to the quality and outcomes framework and be made more GP relevant. 'We need to simplify the process so GPs know exactly what's expected of them to deliver a quality service,' he said.

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