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At the heart of general practice since 1960

17. Professor David Haslam

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NICE is not always a GP’s best friend, but it might have been a sworn enemy if not for chair Professor Haslam.

He is attempting to turn around the institute after a torrid 2015 saw key guidelines described as ‘bonkers’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘perplexing’. As one GP nominator put it, he is ‘listening to general practice’ and there are signs of real change. Professor Haslam has personally championed the idea of a GP advisory body to bring guidelines back to the reality of general practice.

For the first time, NICE has taken the unprecedented step of piloting a draft guideline following concerns its advice to use more tests to diagnose asthma would increase GP workload. And, in response to criticism about focusing too heavily on single conditions, the institute is to publish its first guideline on multimorbidity. Professor Haslam describes this guideline as his biggest achievement this year.

Asked which one thing he would change about general practice, he says: ‘The absurd failure to recognise that being a generalist is a complex, vital, and increasingly important role, and the damage it does to GP recruitment, needs to become history.’

Why influential: Trying to keep NICE GP focused

Surprising fact: Sometimes confused with the other Professor Haslam, who chairs the National Obesity Forum 

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