NICE is consulting on the first set of clinical guidelines to be moved to a static list, where they will not be updated as often as the rest of NICE's clinical guidelines. Guidelines moved to the static list will be reviewed less often either because no quality standard is to be produced on that topic, or because the last review didn't identify any relevant evidence likely to be produced in the next 3-5 years.
Following changes to NICE´s clinical guideline development process it was found that routine reviews at three years were not the most efficient and effective means of maintaining relevant guidance. For example, in areas where there are a number of new drugs becoming available, such as type 2 diabetes, shorter reviews after around 2 years are needed.
Conversely, there are other clinical guidelines where no new evidence is expected to be produced for a number of years. It is these guidelines that will be placed on the static list and only reviewed every 5 years.
"Placing a guideline on the static list will not mean that it is forgotten about," says Christine Carson, Programme Director for NICE's Centre for Clinical Practice. "They will continue to undergo surveillance, although less often than clinical guidelines on the active list, and they could still be updated earlier if new evidence or information from clinical practice comes to light that is likely to require changes to the recommendations."
The ability to create a static list has been part of NICE's guideline manual since 2009, but with the changes to the clinical guidelines programme including the significant increase in the volume of clinical guidelines that will require review after two years, and the changing priorities in health and social care, it has not been considered as an option before now.
Guidelines will be placed on the static list if a previous guideline review resulted in a 'no update' decision and no major research on that topic is due to be published within the next three to five years. They may also be placed on the list if no quality standard is commissioned on that topic. Stakeholders and the public will be able to comment before any decision is made to place a guideline on the list.
The consultation on the first batch of guidelines to be placed on the static list will run for four weeks until 23rd October.