27 February 2018

A NICE journey Rachel Brown, GP and NICE fellow

Rachel talks about her time on the fellowship programme at NICE.

Keeping up to date with NICE’s activities is important for my work as a GP. And it was reading about its fellowship programme in a monthly newsletter that inspired me to apply. I wanted to make a difference.

The programme is deliberately flexible, catering for the needs of a busy GP and doesn’t add to an already large workload.

As a fellow, I support the organisation’s work by helping to implement its guidance, and also by helping peers and other professionals to understand how NICE can support them.

My initial focus was to develop a better understanding about NICE and to become more involved with it. I could then pass this knowledge on to local GPs and other contacts who would benefit.

As I began to do this in my first year, I started to realise that some of my peers didn’t know how to use NICE’s products and services in practice. So, I created a survey to assess local GP knowledge and use of NICE.

The survey results were interesting. It showed a significant lack of use or even knowledge of NICE amongst GPs.

As a result, I focused on holding workshops and sessions for my GP peers to help raise awareness of working with NICE and using its guidance in their day to day work. In reality, this proved to be quite hard, especially when trying to slot into the schedule of busy GPs.

I began to think how I could help GPs in a different way. That’s when I changed my focus for the fellowship. My new focus meant that I became more involved in the inner workings of NICE – so I could help the organisation to be more in tune to the needs of primary care.

I joined several committees, including ones for heavy menstrual bleeding and endometriosis. I also became an external advisor for NICE. Doing this allowed me to see the full development process for guidelines, and provide valuable input along the way.

What struck me particularly was learning about the barriers to the use and uptake of NICE guidance in primary care. There are still some gaps and whilst I’ve been working with the organisation, there has been some progress in bridging them.

However, there’s still a way to go. I’ll continue to work with NICE helping them to understand primary care needs, and hope that my peers might join me too.

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