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Letter of the week: NICE admission on guidelines is overdue

NICE chair Sir Michael Rawlins writes that the institute’s guidelines are only ‘advisory recommendations’ after all.

Having been browbeaten and threatened by our PCT, and having had to submit pleading letters to funding panels in the usually vain hope that patients might have basic simple surgery for their facial blemishes and varicose veins, that is truly welcome news.

But what next? PCTs have built up a whole structure of policies based on the foundation that what NICE says is law. But Sir Michael says the guidelines are not suitable for that purpose.

Is this article going to be sent to all the PCT bosses (sorry, chief executive officers and chief operating officers)? Are they going to take any notice? Will the funding panels be abolished – saving lots of money for patient care? Probably not, unless turkeys start voting for Christmas.

It’s a start, so thanks – but what a pity NICE did not make this clearer before.

From Dr Ted Willis, Brigg, Lincolnshire

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