Continuing to raise standards in guidance production

Accreditation helps health and social care professionals identify the most robustly produced guidance available, enabling them to deliver high quality care.

The accreditation programme assesses the quality of the processes guidance producers use to develop their guidance. This will in turn, help raise standards in guidance production.

To date, 63 guidance development processes have gained accreditation; providing over 5,000 accredited sources. Organisations whose processes were accredited in 2014-15 including The Healthcare Infection Society (HIS) and The Resuscitation Council.

Only guidance and advice from accredited processes is used to develop NICE quality standards. Accredited sources of guidance were used in the development of both the ‘Inflammatory bowel disease’ and ‘Head injury’ quality standards topics which were published over this period.

The single guideline assessment piloted in 2013 continues to run successfully. The programme is used in exceptional circumstances where individual guidelines have been identified that could be useful for NICE quality standards, if accredited. The assessment of the individual guideline follows the same robust methodology. Application is by invitation only. To date, 4 guidelines have been accredited under this scheme.

A revised accreditation process manual was published at the end of 2014. Key areas of development included the process for accreditation renewal, timing of interim accreditation visits and public consultation on accreditation decisions.

Guidelines on rare form of cancer receive accreditation

This year, NICE accredited the process used by an independent group funded by the charity Melanoma Focus, to develop clinical guidelines on uveal melanoma, a form of eye cancer.

Uveal melanoma is a very rare condition, but is also the most common type of melanoma that affects the eye. It occurs along the uveal tract, which affects the choroid, ciliary body and iris, and can lead to loss of sight or of the eye itself.

The condition is managed differently from other forms of melanoma, and previously there was no guidance on how it should be treated.

NICE accredited the process developed by the independent guideline development group of clinicians and patient representatives after examining how it was used to develop the guideline. The Accreditation Mark the guideline now displays tells users that they can expect it to be a high quality source of information.

Dr Paul Nathan, Chair of the guideline development group and Consultant Medical Oncologist at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, said: “Uveal melanoma is a very rare condition which is managed differently from other melanomas. The Uveal Melanoma Guideline is the first comprehensive guidance on this condition and we are delighted its process achieved formal accreditation through the NICE Accreditation Programme”.