‘NICE Bites’ prescribing bulletin

· UK Medicines Information

Objectives: To provide healthcare professionals with a clear, concise summary of key prescribing points taken from NICE guidance, and to facilitate implementation of NICE guidance and promote best practice by providing easily accessible information at the point of prescribing.

Background: This project originated from a request by a local senior commissioning pharmacist for assistance in incorporation of key prescribing points from NICE guidance into their local Health Economy formulary. It was recognised that this might be useful across the North West Strategic Health Authority. The suggested format was an electronic bulletin consisting of two sides of A4, to be published monthly for distribution to healthcare professionals. It would include key prescribing recommendations and signpost readers to full NICE guidance. This bulletin would be cascaded to prescribers within primary and secondary care in PDF and Word to enable incorporation into local formularies.

Method: 1) An initial draft bulletin entitled 'NICE Bites' was compiled and circulated to Heads of Medicines Management for comment.

2) To ensure accuracy, clarity and consistency a writing guide was compiled and standard operating procedures set up in accordance with UKMi recommendations for clinical governance.

3) A proposed work schedule was developed to include NICE Clinical Guidelines and Technology Appraisals for inclusion in 'NICE Bites' within 1 month after publication.

4) In Jan 2009 the first edition of 'NICE Bites' was published and circulated to the following groups: chief pharmacists, local and regional medicines information pharmacists, PCT pharmacists, senior medicines management pharmacists, community pharmacists and NICE implementation pharmacists.

5) In Mar 2009 'NICE Bites' became available online at www.medicinesresources.nhs.uk .

Monitoring and evaluation: 'NICE Bites' is being used locally and nationally to facilitate NICE implementation. It is difficult to assess the impact on practice at this stage so a questionnaire survey is planned for 2010 to evaluate the usefulness of this publication and any impact on prescribing. Anecdotally: a local PCT is including it in their prescribing newsletter, others are cascading it to prescribing leads and one GP was prompted to start an audit on prescribing of glucosamine, attendance at a local committee of Prescribing Leads led to the agreement to use this publication to disseminate information to prescribers and facilitate monthly appraisals of local implementation of NICE guidance.