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06 September 2013

NICE seeks views to inform BNF accreditation decision

NICE has opened a consultation on its draft decision not to give NICE accreditation to the processes to produce the British National Formulary publications following a review by an independent advisory committee.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has opened a consultation on its draft decision not to give NICE accreditation to the processes to produce the British National Formulary publications [1] following a review by an independent advisory committee. NICE welcomes further information from stakeholders to inform the final accreditation decision.

The BNF publications are key documents used by health professionals involved in prescribing, monitoring, supplying and administering medicines. The independent committee has made a series of recommendations to improve the processes to produce the BNF publications to conform to NICE accreditation standards.

The aim of NICE accreditation is to help health and social care professionals identify the most robustly produced guidance available, enabling them to deliver high quality care.

NICE's deputy chief executive Gill Leng said: “The BNF publications are important tools for healthcare professionals, and are widely used across the NHS. The independent NICE Accreditation Advisory Committee found that the BNF development process met many of the criteria required for accreditation. The advice is presented clearly and a variety of support tools are available to help implementation of the advice. The BNF publications also succeed in addressing high-level questions of drug safety, effectiveness, appropriateness, dosage and adverse effects for all medications covered.

“However, the independent committee found the overall process does not achieve the excellence expected according to international criteria. In reviewing the BNF publications, the committee saw room for improvement. For example, they were concerned at the lack of stakeholder involvement and were unable to find evidence of a process for systematically assessing the strengths, weaknesses and areas of uncertainty in the evidence, or an external peer review.

“We look forward to comments from stakeholder organisations during the consultation process.”

The consultation closes on 4 October. See the full draft accreditation decisions and how to comment.


Notes to Editors

1. The BNF publications include:

  • British National Formulary
  • British National Formulary for Children
  • Nurse Prescribers' Formulary

2. BNF is a joint publication of the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. It is published twice a year under the authority of a Joint Formulary Committee which comprises representatives of the two professional bodies and of the UK Health Departments. The Dental Advisory Group oversees the preparation of advice on the drug management of dental and oral conditions; the Group includes representatives of the British Dental Association. The Nurse Prescribers' Advisory Group advises on the content relevant to nurses. The first edition was published in 1949.

3. The British National Formulary for Children is published each year, and gives details of the doses and uses of medicines in children.

4. The BNF, BNF for children and Nurse Prescribers' Formulary provide essential information on the selection of safe and effective medicines for individual patients. They are published by the British Medical Association (BMA) and Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS). The review was carried out as part of NICE's accreditation process.

5. NHS access to the BNF is funded by the health services in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the contract is managed by NICE.

About the Accreditation decision

6. The draft accreditation decision is available for comment until 4 October 2013.

About NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for driving improvement and excellence in the health and social care system. We develop guidance, standards and information on high-quality health and social care. We also advise on ways to promote healthy living and prevent ill health.

Formerly the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, our name changed on 1 April 2013 to reflect our new and additional responsibility to develop guidance and set quality standards for social care, as outlined in the Health and Social Care Act (2012).

Our aim is to help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments, which are based on the most up-to-date evidence and provide value for money, in order to reduce inequalities and variation.

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