NICE 2007: evidence into practice report
Relocating from its traditional base in Birmingham, the ninth annual NICE conference rolled into Manchester, the Institute's northern home, in the first week of December. By popular demand, GP and entertainer Dr Phil Hammond reprised his role as conference facilitator, provoking lively debate on how to get evidence into practice (the event's central theme).
The keynote speech, ‘Getting change into practice', was presented by Sir Muir Gray, Director of the National Knowledge Service at NHS Connecting for Health. Using examples both personal and from wider clinical practice, he illustrated where the gap between evidence and practice has either been improved - or needs improving. One of the illnesses scrutinised in Sir Gray's presentation was hepatitis C. This had a particular resonance for conference goers as Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, who died from the disease in September, was due to give her perspective on changing practice at the event.
NICE Chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, Dr Hammond and NICE Chief Executive Andrew Dillon each hosted a lively mini-plenary session on innovative technologies, clinical practice and health inequalities respectively.
Over lunch, visitors to the NICE exhibition stand witnessed the launch of the Institute's new guide, ‘How to change practice: understand, identify and overcome barriers to change'.
Back in the auditorium, the afternoon session focused on how the gaps between new technology and guidance, funding and change and guidance and implementation could be narrowed. Speakers included Professor Barry McCormick, Chief Economics Adviser at the Department of Health, on funding and change, and Lord Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point, who gave a presentation on health inequalities. Highlights of the various workshops included a presentation on the NICE short clinical guidelines programme and discussions about the way NICE clinical guidance is implemented.
The second day began with an entertaining array of statistics collected by the Social Research Unit of Ipsos MORI. Reassuringly, the British public seem rather fond of the NHS.
Andrew Dillontook a broad look at funding issues related to clinical practice, while Mike Farrar of the North West Strategic Health Authority and Kathy Doran of Wirral Primary Care Trust provided examples of local practice.
Dr Carole Longson, Director of the Health Technology Evaluation Centre at NICE, described how its technology appraisals programme is being reviewed. Meanwhile, three of the four finalists for the inaugural NICE Shared Learning Award presented their clinical experiences to a supportive crowd (for details see the next ‘In focus').
The afternoon session comprised four mini-debates, including an engaging one on the interplay between the media, NICE and the NHS. Guest speaker Ben Goldacre, writer of the Guardian's ‘Bad science' column, brought his trademark humour to the table, provoking plenty of banter between the four panelists.
To end the conference, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley MP and Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Sandra Gidley MP took the opportunity to suggest how they might reform the role of NICE, should their respective parties come to power. Both agreed that NICE is a vitally important part of the NHS and praised the Institute for its excellent work over the last 9 years.
This page was last updated: 24 June 2010