The committee for the development of Standard Practice Guidelines (SPG) for the State will study the feasibility of adapting the clinical guidelines formulated by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), U.K., with regional variations.

An alternative suggestion that came up at a two-day workshop, organized by the SPG group and NICE, here earlier in the week was that the State broadbased its attempts to develop clinical guidelines by tying up with such initiatives in other parts of the country.

Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman, NICE, and Kalipso Chalkidou, director, NICE International, U.K., said the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, under the Public Health Foundation of India, had been exploring the possibilities of developing clinical guidelines for various health conditions. While NICE did not offer individual consultancy services, it would be possible for it to support such broadbased organizational initiatives, NICE officials said.

NICE, set up in 1999, is the parent body in the U.K. that guides and assists the U.K.’s National Health Service in providing quality and cost-effective care to patients.

The acceptability of clinical guidelines among the medical fraternity here turned out to be one of the focal points of the discussion NICE officials had with the stakeholders here.

NICE and the London School of Economics had conducted a multi-country study this year on the acceptability and adaptability of NICE guidelines on hypertension. Kerala and Karnataka had participated in the study. The study said 60 per cent of the physicians from the State had said that NICE guidelines could be accepted with changes to suit the Indian context.

Leading the discussions, Sir Michael said clinical guidelines helped medical professionals practice their profession to the highest possible standards. Clinical guidelines were intended to assist health care professionals to take appropriate treatment decisions in specific clinical circumstances and not meant to impose upon or intervene with their judgement, he said.

About the NICE experience, Sir Michael said care had been taken to make sure that the guidelines were “robust, inclusive, transparent and independent,” so that these gained wider acceptance. The guidelines had been produced by members of the health profession who had contemporary and current experience, he said.

All guidance given by NICE, be it the formulation of clinical guidelines, appraisal of new medical technologies, interventional procedures or new drugs, was led by two main criteria - clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness. NICE had, in the past decade, brought out 107 clinical guidelines. Sir Michael suggested that the State make a beginning in formulating SPGs by tackling a common and pressing health issue, such as leptospirosis.