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By Matthew Wright

Each and every month the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence publishes a new set of guidance documents (final Wednesday of the month, if you don’t have it in your diary). With the institute’s ever expanding remit, you would be forgiven for losing track of what is on offer, which types of guidance you must, should or could follow, and in which of the home countries these apply — a useful summary can be found at www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/whatwedo/niceandthenhs.

Several months ago Clinical Pharmacist was approached by NICE to collaborate on a new series of articles, designed to help disseminate its latest clinical guidelines. And so we came up with a format that we believed would be both informative and digestible for pharmacists. The first such article — for NICE’s updated clinical guideline on hypertension — is published in this issue (see NEW GUIDANCE, p254).

We commissioned the main piece from the people at NICE — who got in contact with London-based consultant pharmacist for cardiovascular disease Helen Williams (since she was a member of the hypertension guideline development group). Then we sourced a short commentary from another primary care pharmacist to help put some of the advice into context.

Even if the Government’s plan for NICE to relinquish its drug-rationing role and become, solely, a champion of best clinical practice comes to fruition, it appears the institute will be no less busy. For instance, it has now taken over the National Prescribing Centre and produces NHS Evidence. And then there is the fairly recent initiative NICE Pathways (http://pathways.nice.nhs.uk), which incorporates all of NICE’s guidance into a series of interactive algorithms.

Next time you are online, why not reread our NEW GUIDANCE article and, while you do so, take a journey through the relevant NICE Pathways for hypertension — quite a handy tool!

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 11083355

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