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Seven in ten GPs ignore NICE guidance at least once a month

More than 70% of GPs depart from NICE guidance at least once a month, with one in ten ignoring them daily, a Pulse survey has revealed.

The survey of 515 English and Welsh GPs also revealed that the majority – 76% – believe NICE guidelines are at least ‘somewhat relevant’ to their practice.

The results comes as NICE has been criticised for a series of draft guidelines on core clinical areas for GPs.

It follows a series of draft recommendations from NICE that have been criticised by GPs, with guidelines on diabetes called a ‘laughing stock’, proposals for antibiotic prescribing reports branded ‘pointless’ and announcements around asthma guidelines labelled potentially ‘dangerous’.

NICE has also come under fire from GP leaders over recent guidelines on lipid modification partly because of the significant workload burden recommendations to expand statin use will place on GPs, while Pulse revealed two-thirds of GPs were tending not to follow the new lipid guidelines recommending statin use at the lower, 10-year risk threshold of 10% because of doubts about the drugs’ safety in lower risk patients.

Dr Nick Summerton, a GP in East Yorkshire who has served on several NICE guidelines committees, told Pulse: ‘The guidelines have always been a bit remote and they are getting worse.’

‘I’ve been involved for 20 years and I have never heard of most GPs on the guidelines panels – so they’re not attracting enough GPs and more worryingly they are not attracting the best calibre ones, the experts in the areas.’

NICE chair Professor David Haslam told Pulse NICE is putting GPs at the heart of its work and creating more user-friendly resources to help put guidelines into practice.

The Labour Party told Pulse last month that it was looking to ‘toughen rules’ around following NICE guidelines

Survey results in full

What is your overall view of NICE guidance?

Extremely relevant – 7% (36)

Somewhat relevant – 69% (356)

Neither relevant nor irrelevant – 10% (51)

Somewhat irrelevant – 9.5% (49)

Extremely irrelevant – 3.5% (19)

Don’t know – 1% (4)

Total – 515


How often do you go against what is recommended in national guidance from NICE?

Every day – 10% (50)

Every week – 29% (148)

Every month – 35% (183)

Never – 10% (50)

Other- 16% (84)

Total – 515