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Prescribing Decisions: Should we comply with guidelines?

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COPD is of increasing concern, with 850,000 emerge COPD is of increasing concern, with 850,000 emergency admissions costing the NHS £9.9 billion a year

Clinical guidelines provide recommendations for choosing and implementing high quality and often cost-effective care for a variety of clinical conditions, both in the long and short term. Guidelines demonstrate the benefit of collaborative working between healthcare professionals, professional bodies, commissioning groups and patients/carers, who review all the best available evidence, recognising the need to standardize cost effective care, regarding prevention, diagnosis, and management.1

However, not all guideline groups represent a cross section of professionals working and may seek to appoint their own representatives to assist in the development of guidance. In contrast, there are challenges and limitations regarding the implementation of guidelines which can affect practitioners’ compliance.2

This article aims to discuss the implementation of COPD guidelines in the decision-making process for the use of corticosteroids in exacerbations of COPD and the implications of prescribing outside of the recommendations. The guidelines considered are published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)3 and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).4


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