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GPs must talk to NICE before it's too late

NICE guidance is not perfect but neither is my clinical care - both of us could do better. The controversy generated by Baroness Young's comments is as much about our relationship with NICE as it is about NICE's outputs.

Until January this year I was employed by NICE as a clinical adviser. My role focused on identifying new topics for NICE to consider, developing these into sensible clinical questions and producing briefing notes for the various panels chaired by national clinical directors.

Sadly at every stage of this process the group I found most difficult to engage with were my GP colleagues. In comparison with the other royal colleges I also felt the response from the RCGP was particularly disappointing. Consequently I found myself in the position of arguing the general practice case. This was not the reason for my appointment but, as I became increasingly committed to providing the general practice perspective, it certainly contributed to my departure.

NICE is here to stay and

I would suggest that rather than grumbling about NICE outputs, GPs should become more involved in the process, from the generation of the evidence through to the publication of the guidance. The RCGP, in particular, should develop a much less passive role in relation to commenting on NICE guidance or updates.

I found Professor Mike Rawlins and Andrew Dillon very reasonable and approachable. But neither of them have worked in general practice and nor have any members of the NICE senior management team. Let's start a sensible dialogue before it is too late.

From Dr Nick Summerton, Hull

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