3 Principles of the interim process and methods for clinical guideline updates using standing committees

3 Principles of the interim process and methods for clinical guideline updates using standing committees

Given the number of guidelines that make up NICE's library of guideline topics and the resulting number of surveillance reviews, the capacity needed for updating is considerable. To address this, these new processes and methods for clinical guideline updates using standing committees are more streamlined, and the process is more adaptive. Fewer resources are needed, because a rapid update does not include a scoping stage and there is not a Guideline Development Group (GDG) for the topic.

A standing committee model (see section 4) gives NICE the flexibility to schedule clinical guideline updates using standing committees of discrete sections of guidelines, which complements our standard update process for more substantive updates. We can also respond more rapidly to potentially serious or damaging errors or to new evidence identified after publication (such as safety concerns, withdrawal of drugs or interventions, significant changes to legislation, etc.).

Suitable topics for clinical guideline updates using standing committees are usually identified through the new clinical guideline surveillance process (which started a 12-month trial period in August 2013). Topics are then agreed by NICE Guidance Executive. The initial pilot topics (see appendix A and the NICE website) were selected from guidelines that were reviewed using the 2010 reviews process (see chapter 14 of the NICE guidelines manual 2012) and were agreed by NICE Guidance Executive in June 2013.

The Clinical Guidelines Updates Committee develops recommendations for the NHS in accordance with NICE's published methods and processes. As formal NICE guidance, rapid guideline updates are subject to the same level of scrutiny as other NICE products. The underlying principles of transparency of process and methodological rigour continue to hold.

The pilot programme for clinical guideline updates using standing committees is hosted by the Internal Clinical Guidelines team (within the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE), who provide management, technical and administrative support to the committee. The commissioning, technical and senior management teams of the Centre for Clinical Practice provide quality assurance oversight of guideline development, in line with the processes described in the NICE guidelines manual 2012.