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About NICE guidance

About NICE guidance

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health. NICE develops guidance across a number of different areas and on a range of topics.

Key point

NICE is committed to promoting equality, eliminating unlawful discrimination and actively considering the implications of our guidance for human rights. We aim to comply fully with the public sector equality duty as outlined in the Equality Act (2010) to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (the 'protected characteristics') in the way we carry out our functions and in our employment policies and practices and

  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it and

  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

Our revised equality scheme 2010–2013 sets out how we are meeting these obligations on equality and discrimination and what we still need to do. Our document Positively equal: a guide to addressing equality issues in developing NICE clinical guidelines provides further guidance on how equality issues are considered and assessed during guideline development.

We encourage stakeholders to get involved in the development of our guidance at all stages. Stakeholders can include national organisations that represent patients and carers (or local patient and carer organisations if there is no relevant national organisation), national health and social care professional organisations, the NHS, organisations that fund or carry out research, and companies that have an interest in the guidance being developed.

Key point

In this document we have used the terms 'patients' and 'carers' to cover all lay people (people who are not healthcare or other professionals) who are involved in developing our clinical guidelines. This includes:

  • people who have the condition or disability

  • people such as family and friends who provide unpaid care for them (including parents for children and young people under 16)

  • employees of organisations representing patients and carers (for example, voluntary sector and non-governmental organisations).

The term 'patients' is used as a general term to indicate a wide range of people who may be referred to differently elsewhere, such as service users of mental health services and healthy pregnant women.

We also recognise that readers may use other terms such as 'consumer', 'user representative' or 'patient representative'.

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