National Clinical Effectiveness Committee - call for submissions

24 May 2012

This week the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee puts out its second call for submissions of clinical guidelines for consideration to become part of a national suite of Clinical Guidelines. The NCEC is also seeking the views of the public and professionals on the content of the Draft National Clinical Effectiveness Committee Clinical Guideline Development Manual.

The closing date for consultation on the manual is the 9th July 2012.

The deadline for submission of clinical guidelines is the 20th August 2012.

The Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly T.D. acknowledged the progress made by the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee over the last year.

The National Committee for Clinical Effectiveness, chaired by Prof. Hilary Humphreys met for the first time in December 2010. The aim of the Committee is to provide a framework for national endorsement of clinical guidelines and audit to optimise patient care. This supports the vision of the Patient Safety Commission of ‘Knowledgeable patients receiving safe and effective care from skilled professionals in appropriate environments with assessed outcomes’.

Although several initiatives have been undertaken in recent years by individual bodies and agencies in the development of national guidance for specific areas of practice, there has been no formal system in place at national level which sets quality assurance standards for and endorses evidence-based guidelines.

Minister Reilly said that the primary objective of clinical practice guidelines is to achieve better health outcomes by improving the practice of healthcare professionals and providing consumers with better information. For the first time in Ireland clinical guidelines will be quality assured at national level in order to be endorsed as part of a national suite of clinical guidelines.

Recently, the NCEC received 17 submissions from a wide range of health care providers in response to its first call for submissions, demonstrating a high level of support across the health system, both public and private. A number of these guidelines have been prioritised using the NCEC screening and prioritisation criteria. The NCEC is now working with the prioritised guideline developers in order to confirm that their guidelines have been developed with a robust process ensuring that the guidelines will improve health outcomes, reduce variation in practice, improve quality of clinical decisions, influence health service policy and inform service users and the public about the service they should be receiving.

The NCEC also seeks to provide guidance on the development of clinical guidelines using a robust clinical guideline development process. The Draft National Clinical Effectiveness Committee Clinical Guideline Development Manual has been developed to assist all guideline development groups, whether or not they plan to submit their guideline to the NCEC. The NCEC is seeking interested views and comments on this manual and very much values input from a range of stakeholders to better inform future activities.

Welcoming the progress achieved in its first year the Minister said “this is further evidence of the Government’s efforts to achieve the culture change that the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance spoke of and to ensure that patient safety is our number one priority.”

The NCEC is now seeking

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Terms of Reference of the Committee

The main aim of the Committee is to provide leadership on clinical effectiveness across the Irish health system and to promote patient safety and healthcare quality in line with recommendations of the report of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance. Specifically, the Committee shall:

  1. Apply criteria for the prioritisation of health guidelines and audit for the Irish health system
  2. Apply criteria for quality assurance of health guidelines and audit for the Irish health system.
  3. Disseminate a template on how a guideline and audit should be structured, how audit will be linked to the guideline and how and with what methodology it should be pursued.
  4. Recommend health guidelines and national audit, which have been quality assured against these criteria, for Ministerial approval within the Irish health system.
  5. Facilitate with other agencies the dissemination of endorsed guidelines and audit outcomes to front-line staff and to the public in an appropriate format.
  6. Report periodically on the implementation of endorsed guidelines.

The Committee is supported by a Working Group which will develop/adapt the documents that will guide the work of both the Committee and guideline developers, and will undertake quality assurance of guidelines that are submitted to the Committee.

Further information on