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The need for guidelines for head injury
Emergency physicians are already surrounded by guidelines. Surely, you might ask, we don’t need more on head injury to add to those of the US Brain Trauma Foundation, the European Brain Injury Consortium, the SIGN guidelines from Scotland, and recent recommendations from UK neurosurgeons, radiologists, paediatricians, and anaesthetists? Well, yes, I think we do. The guidelines to be published by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in Spring 2003 will break new ground in a number of ways that will be of particular interest to our specialty.1
The development of the guidelines follows the pattern of best evidence synthesis, resolution of uncertainty by expert consensus, and consultation with a wide spectrum of professional and stakeholder groups that has been used so effectively in the production of National Service Frameworks. The work has been carried out at the recently created National Collaborating Centre for Acute Care, part of NICE, which is located at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
The parameters of the task were laid down by NICE. Their general philosophy is refreshingly patient centred and will appeal to emergency physicians—the guidelines are intended to help improve both the quality and consistency of clinical care by making …
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