National Institiue for Health and Clinical Excellence

Annual Review - 2009/2010

More about our VTE guideline

Helping health professionals provide the best care

The Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE develops clinical guidelines for the NHS that recommend the best way of treating and caring for people with specific diseases and medical conditions.

In 2009/10 the centre produced 13 new clinical guidelines, bringing the total number produced to 96 since the programme began in 2002.

When to suspect child maltreatment

This guideline, published in July 2009, provides a summary of warning signs that should prompt a healthcare professional to consider or suspect child maltreatment including neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or fabricated or induced illness.

The guideline will ensure that children who need help get it early so that further or future harm is prevented, and so that additional support can be provided to families that need it.

Dr Sheila Shribman, National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Maternity Services at the Department of Health, commented: “Spotting the signs of child maltreatment and protecting vulnerable children is an important but often difficult challenge for healthcare professionals. I welcome this guideline as an important means of helping frontline staff identify maltreatment and provide support for them in taking appropriate action."

The guideline is one of our most frequently downloaded, being part of many trusts’ mandatory safeguarding children training for staff. To help with implementing the guideline we have worked with BMJ Learning to create an education module that can be used by trusts as part of their training.

Download the guideline here.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) – reducing the risk

Assessing all patients for their risk of developing blood clots as soon as they are admitted to hospital could save up to 25,000 lives each year. This NICE guideline recommends that patients at risk are offered a range of treatments to reduce their risk of blood clots, such as blood-thinning drugs like heparin or anti-embolism stockings.

Speaking at the launch of the guideline, Professor Tom Treasure, chair of the NICE Guideline Development Group, said: “NICE first issued guidance on VTE in 2007 but this was for surgical patients only. This latest guideline will broaden it out to all patients who are admitted to hospital. It will ensure that the risk of blood clots, a silent killer, is always assessed.”

Download the guideline here

Rapid response – short clinical guidelines

In 2009/10 the Centre for Clinical Practice doubled its work on short clinical guidelines, which are developed more quickly than standard clinical guidelines.

Nicole Elliott, who heads the short clinical guideline programme, explains more about the work.

How are short clinical guidelines different from other guidelines developed by the centre?

“They tend to be more tightly focused on one very specific issue, unlike standard guidelines, or are developed when the NHS needs urgent advice, and as such take much less time to produce: 12 months or less, instead of 2 years.”

How are they developed?

“We develop them in-house. I lead a 15-strong team that carries out all the research, reviewing, health economics work and project management necessary for each short guideline. This team is supported by independent guideline development groups of health professionals and lay people, which we set up and run for each guideline.” 

What kind of topics do short clinical guidelines cover?

“In 2009/10 we produced three short clinical guidelines on neuropathic pain, coeliac disease and the management of donor breast milk banks.”

How is this work expanding, and why?

“Since the programme was set up in 2006 we’ve produced three short clinical guidelines every year. This year we’ve doubled our workload and now have six in production, for publication next year. This reflects an increasing need for a swift response to specific questions and issues in the NHS.”

Read more about how NICE develops clinical guidelines.