We use a single process to develop guidelines. The unified process manual was published on 1 January 2015 following public consultation.

Before this, we developed guidelines under 5 different areas. You can find out more about how these guidelines were developed in section 1.2 of the guidelines manual. When the unified process was published some topics were already in the later stages of development. Those topics will continue under their original areas.


Clinical guidelines

Clinical guidelines recommend how healthcare professionals should care for people with specific conditions.

They can cover any aspect of a condition and may include recommendations about providing information and advice, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and longer-term management.

These guidelines are also important for health service managers and commissioners of NHS services.

More about clinical guidelines



Public health guidelines

Guidelines on public health topics make recommendations on local interventions that can help prevent disease or improve health.

The guidance may focus on a particular topic (such as smoking), a particular population (such as schoolchildren) or a particular setting (such as the workplace).

More about public health guidelines



Social care guidelines

Social care guidelines aim to improve outcomes for people who use social care support by ensuring that social care services and interventions are effective and cost-efficient. They do this by making recommendations about best practice, drawn from current evidence-based research.

More about social care guidelines



Medicines practice guidelines

Medicines practice guidelines provide recommendations for good practice for those individuals and organisations involved in governing, commissioning, prescribing and decision-making about medicines. They have a wide range of audiences across both health and social care.

More about medicines practice guidelines



Safe staffing guidelines

Following the Report of the Francis Inquiry and the Berwick Review into Patient Safety, NICE produced 2 guidelines on safe staffing capacity and capability in the NHS.

From June 2015 NHS England will take forward staffing work as part of a wider programme of service improvement.