National Institiue for Health and Clinical Excellence

Annual Review - 2009/2010

Members of the NICE team spoke at over 70 conferences across the UK and further afield

Communicating about NICE's work

The work we do at NICE is seldom out of the public eye and we use many different ways to engage and interact with the wider world.

The NICE annual conference in December 2009 focused on ‘Innovation and value’, attracting more than 800 delegates from the NHS, local authorities, and the private, voluntary and community sectors, as well as patients, carers and the general public. Speakers at the conference included The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, Niall Dickson from The King’s Fund, and Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, author of an independent study on how NICE can value innovation.

In 2009/10 the NICE exhibition stand visited 31 events around the UK, publicising NICE guidance and implementation tools to 40,000 delegates, and interacting with everyone from GPs and NHS commissioners to local councillors and teachers. In addition, members of the NICE team spoke at more than 70 conferences around the UK and further afield on topics including using NICE clinical guidelines to help high-risk patients and NICE’s new work with diagnostic tests. 

Throughout 2009/10 press interest in NICE’s work remained high. Our media team has improved interactions with the media, for example by issuing more detailed explanations when drugs are not recommended for use within the NHS, and by talking to the media about likely decisions earlier in the guidance production process. Examples of media coverage of NICE’s work during 2009/10 include the BBC’s reporting of new guidance to prevent blood clots in hospital inpatients, and the Daily Mail’s coverage of NICE’s guidance on weight management after pregnancy, due to be published later this year. 

Any questions?

During 2009/10 NICE’s enquiry handling team responded to more than 12,000 calls, letters and emails on a range of topics, including how we work and how we make recommendations.

Just under half of all the enquiries received were from healthcare professionals in the NHS who are using NICE guidance in their daily work, and a third were from members of the public who wanted to know more about our recommendations. In particular new NICE guidance on when to suspect child maltreatment generated a number of enquiries, while NICE guidance on obesity, published in 2006, continued to be one of the most popular enquiry topics.

Also this year NICE received a large amount of correspondence from patients who questioned NICE’s initial proposal not to recommend the drug dronedarone for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. The enquiry handling team worked closely with the team developing the guidance to make sure all the comments were considered as part of the formal consultation on the guidance.