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Editorial: Guidance is only useful if it is put into practice

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At NICE we are well aware that there is little point in us developing guidance if no one puts it into practice. That is why we have spent a great deal of time and energy over the last few years establishing a team of people dedicated to supporting frontline practitioners in implementing that guidance.

At NICE we are well aware that there is little point in us developing guidance if no one puts it into practice. That is why we have spent a great deal of time and energy over the last few years establishing a team of people dedicated to supporting frontline practitioners in implementing that guidance.

Initially, we spent a lot of time listening to what our stakeholders had to say about implementation. We held workshops to find out what barriers you have to overcome before you can put our recommendations into practice. We also talked to a lot of people about what sort of practical tools and support would be of use in overcoming these hurdles.

We then spent time working on what we had been told. We built a team of people who come from a wide range of backgrounds and experience – people who have worked in nursing, pharmacy and management – who understand what it is like to have to take a piece of paper and translate it into changes in everyday practice.

I am constantly amazed at how much the team have achieved in such a short time. In just a couple of years we have gone from having almost no implementation support tools at all, to offering a full complement with each piece of guidance that we publish. In addition, we have produced a large number of generic support tools that cut across all our guidance-producing programmes – things like our forward planner and the evaluation and review of NICE implementation evidence (ERNIE) database.

The best part of my job, however, is not counting the number of support tools we have produced, but hearing how they are used and about the huge number of innovative implementation projects that are going on across the whole of the NHS. So many of these projects are led by nursing staff, and it is these people who are often at the forefront of driving change because they see our guidance as a way to improve care for their patients.

I hope that you enjoy reading this supplement and that it gives you a greater insight into the work that we do. Most of all I hope you will find inspiration in the case studies of nurse-led implementation projects that are featured here.


Dr Gillian Leng, MD, FFPH, FRCP
Implementation director, NICE

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