Development of clinical policies and guidelines in acute settings
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Development of clinical policies and guidelines in acute settings

Sean Collins Deputy board secretary, Corporate Services, Barts and The London NHS Trust, London
Seraphim Patel Clinical governance co-ordinator, Central West London Community Services, London, Barts and The London NHS Trust, London

This article outlines a model for developing policies and discusses some of the issues involved in the process of writing, approving and disseminating clinical policies and guidelines. It does not seek to dwell on policy drafting per se because guidance is readily available that can help authors to write and implement policies using evidence-based practice, research, implementation and audit skills. Any individual policy, however, does not exist in a vacuum, but in a network of related policies. There is relatively little practical guidance, literature or debate about the methodology that can be applied to developing an organisational policy framework, or how an understanding of this context can help those planning to develop a policy for their organisation. The article draws on the authors’ experiences of policy development from the perspective of an acute NHS trust and discusses the challenges of developing a proactive and co-ordinated approach to policy work. It concludes with a recognition of some useful internal and external checks that can help policy authors to identify the extent to which policy is translated into practice.

Nursing Standard. 23, 27, 42-47. doi: 10.7748/ns2009.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review