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NICE rapid guidelines: exploring political influence on guidelines
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  • Published on:
    NICE Response to: NICE rapid guidelines: exploring political influence on guidelines
    • Paul Chrisp, Director, Centre for Guidelines National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
    • Other Contributors:
      • Gillian Leng, Chief Executive

    In their article McPherson and Speed claim that NICE’s independence seems to have diminished over time, and that it has been significantly undermined during the COVID-19 pandemic. They attempt to explain how various soft political factors may operate and how they undermine NICE’s scientific integrity.

    The authors begin by suggesting that NICE’s re-establishment as a non-departmental public body (NDPB) in 2013 was prompted by the need to “increase the deniability of rationing claims or for other political purposes”.
    Rather surprisingly, the authors then go on to claim that:
    “This revision to the relationship can be regarded as a move towards a more explicit form of meta-governance, whereby government mechanisms are enacted through a range of quasi-autonomous bureaucratic devices.”
    and further that:

    “decisions about access to healthcare, for example, can be made remotely from ministers and political motive obscured by claims of the need for availability to be determined by science, not politics."

    These statements are baffling because the legal position is clear. As a statutory corporation NICE is more, rather than less, independent as an arms length body (ALB) and as a body subject to administrative law and the administrative court, NICE is positively required as a matter of law to reach its decisions independently. If it did not do so its decision would be subject to being overturned by the courts. Furthermore, the regulations...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.