NHS Evidence calls for guidance producers
NHS Evidence is calling on organisations that produce healthcare guidance to consider applying for its accreditation scheme, set up to to raise standards in guidance production and help health and social care professionals indentify the most reliable and trusted sources of guidance.
Organisations awarded accreditation by NHS Evidence carry a kitemark on their products, a clear reference that their guidance production methods have been verified by an independent Advisory Committee comprised of specialists in the healthcare field and are considered high quality.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics at Newcastle are the latest organisations to have been accredited by NHS Evidence, bringing the total number of accredited guidance producers to 11 since the scheme launched in autumn 2009.
In order to achieve accreditation, guidance producers must demonstrate that they meet rigorous, internationally recognised criteria, based on the
quality standard Appraisal of Guidelines Research & Evaluation (AGREE) tool.
Dr Gillian Leng, Chief Operating Officer of NHS Evidence said: “The bar for accreditation is set high and not all organisations are able to demonstrate that they meet the strict and rigorous criteria.
“However, regardless of whether accreditation is awarded, the advisory committee's role is to advise organisations on steps they can take to strengthen their processes. For guidance producers and the health and social care professionals who are relying on guidance to deliver care, this can only be a good thing.”
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has been producing guidance for 20 years and was among the first to benefit from the accreditation scheme.
Mr Tahir Mahmood, Vice President of Standards at the RCOG, said: “We produce guidelines that patients read and that our members use. But we find that commissioners often do not use them and if our guidelines are to influence purchasing and commissioning to drive up quality then they must be used by commissioners. That is the only way we will really start to tackle variations in care provided such as caesarian section rates.”
“It was very challenging, perhaps because we were so early in the process so there were no other organisations we could talk to about getting it right. When we started to measure our own performance and found that we were lacking in some areas.
“But now that we have the accreditation mark, I can say it was all worthwhile. We have proved our process to ourselves and to the wider world and shown that it is robust. We know what we are doing meets the highest standards. It is good to do something well and to be recognised for that.”
Guidance producers who are interested in applying for the NHS Evidence accreditation can attend a workshop in September. For more information, contact Margaret.firstname.lastname@example.org.
29 June 2010
This page was last updated: 01 July 2010