Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Policy is a direction and framework we consider (and should strongly consider) in deciding our clinical practice.

But policy supports clinical practice. Clinical practice doesn't support policy. We do what's right, we don't do what's written down. That's why qualified staff take clinical decisions instead of unqualified staff delivering what the policy says with no decison making at all.

Pyjamas in Bananas has pointed out the flaws of trying to support and use policy documents.

Part of me, rather impishly, wonders how much I should follow policy guidance. NICE guidance should apply to about 3/4 of the population the guidance is generated for. The routine, standard care should typically be in accord with NICE guidance, but for 1/4 of patients specific bespoke custom care is likely to be more appropriate.

As a specialist within Secondary Care services, I'm seeing a patient population that almost by definition don't fit typical routine care pathways that GP and non-medical mental health colleagues progress. When something's unusual or complex, that's typically when it's brought to my door.

On that basis, if NICE guidance applies to 75% of patients, and over 75% are managed in Primary Care or within NICE guidance by nurse lead services in Secondary Care, I'm seeing a portion of all the remaining 25% who sit outside NICE guidance.

Shouldn't 100% of my workload by complex/atypical stuff meaning I'm never adhering to standard policy or guidance or protocol? As I said, it's an impish thought, but I have shared with my Chief Exec that I fear I'm far too compliant with guidance and need to be more maveric and eschew such constraints on my clinical freedom, nigh on 100% of the time. Food for thought . . .

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