Communications

Our products are relevant to a wide range of audiences across the health and social care sector, so it’s important that we both engage and interact with those who are interested in and affected by our work.

Our Annual Conference took place in May 2013 and was attended by more than 1,300 delegates.  The conference hosted a number of speakers, such as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, Lord Howe; and Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

In November 2013, we held an interactive online webinar on the challenges and opportunities presented by the new integrated health, social care and public health system. The webinar allowed participants to participate in snapshot opinion polls, and send live questions to the team of expert panellists, who represented services across the three sectors.

In 2013/14, NICE representatives spoke at more than 130 conferences and events in the UK and Europe. Audiences ranged from industry to local government and the charity sector.

A new and improved website

Over the past year we have been busy redeveloping and redesigning our website to provide simpler access to our guidance, quality standards and other products. We’ve grown over the past 15 years as an organisation from producing a handful of guidelines on a few clinical topics, to an organisation that provides a huge number of products and services. Our website needs to reflect this.

We have listened to the feedback from the many different types of users who visit our site, and used it to make it more intuitive and easier to use.

Among the site’s new features will be better integration of NICE’s products and services, an improved search facility, and greater ways of interacting with users through blogging and social media. The site will also be more mobile friendly, to cater for the increasing number of users accessing our site through mobile devices. The new website will launch on the 26th June 2014.

Read all about it!

Our website contains all the latest news and comment pieces from NICE. In 2013/14, we published more than a 100 news articles and features covering NICE’s work. Among the topics was an in-depth look into NICE’s appraisal system, an insight into tackling the wellbeing of older people in care homes, and preventing avoidable deaths by tackling acute kidney injury.

We publish two monthly newsletters that highlight all the latest news and developments from NICE. NICE News has more than 60,000 subscribers and provides direct access to our features, news stories, consultations and implementation advice. Update for Primary Care is aimed at GPs and others working in primary care, and reaches an audience of more than 11,000. It features guidance, quality standards and other advice products published that month relevant to primary care, along with any accompanying tools to help put guidance into practice.

Stop press!

Our press office issued 199 press releases in 2013/14, and recorded more than 11,000 pieces of UK media coverage for NICE.

Major stories for NICE over the past year include updated breast cancer guidance, which received blanket media coverage across all national media outlets, and appeared on the front page of the Independent. Our guidance on needle and syringe programmes also received widespread coverage, including a piece on BBC’s Newsbeat. In May, our guidance on obesity made the front pages of both the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, was featured as a discussion on ITV1’s Loose Women, and received coverage across the BBC.

Responding to your enquiries

In 2013/14, our enquiry handling team responded to more than 12,000 calls, emails and letters. The vast majority came from healthcare professionals (37%) and members of the public (31%) with the remainder from parliamentarians, pharmaceutical industries and manufacturers, patient groups, charities, local authorities, and educational institutions. International audiences continue to take a keen interest in our work, accounting for around 6% of all enquiries.     

We responded to 47 official parliamentary questions. Questions posed included the number of NICE staff on zero hours contracts, the number of complementary treatments approved by NICE and requests for detailed breakdowns of information relating to cancer drug technology appraisal decisions.

This year, the team answered a high number of enquiries relating to NICE’s work on evaluating eculizumabas part of our new highly specialised technologies work programme. We also answered enquiries on our consultation about proposed changes to the way we make recommendations on the use of health technologies in the NHS, to take account of the new terms of reference for value based assessment.

The team also responded to 99 Freedom of Information requests covering a wide range of topics including a detailed breakdown of Board expenses, details relating to NICE International spend and requests for manufacturer submissions for a number of technology appraisals.

@NICEcomms

With over 50,000 users – more than double last year – our twitter feed is fast-becoming a well-used communications channel. Follow us to keep up to date with the latest news and guidance from NICE.

Connecting the dots…

Earlier this year, a hoax cancer email was issued that caused a great deal of distress for many of its recipients.  Members from across the Communications team worked together to reassure stakeholders and members of the public that the email was fraudulent and nothing to do with NICE. The teams dealt with calls, responded promptly to concerns on Twitter, and placed messages to reassure the public via our website and other media outlets.

 

NICE Pathways – mapping our guidance

NICE Pathways provide quick and easy access, topic by topic, to the range of guidance from NICE, including quality standards, technology appraisals, clinical, public health and social care guidelines and NICE implementation tools.

Our pathways are for anyone who uses NICE guidance and associated information, including health and social care professionals, public health experts, those who commission or provide health and social care services, employers, and members of the public. They can be useful for learning, continuing professional development and keeping up-to-date with what NICE says on a particular topic.

This year, we have been working on improving the user experience of NICE Pathways based on feedback from users. As a result, it is now possible to search within NICE Pathways, the menus are improved, and information on source guidance and related resources is much easier to find.

In addition, 92% of all NICE guidance is now accessible via NICE Pathways.  This has more than doubled from 41% in March 2013.

Pathways that have been recently added include ones on managing medicines in care homes and lifestyle weight management services for overweight or obese adults.

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE, said: "With 92 per cent of our guidance now accessible, there is no better time to use NICE Pathways, especially if they are new to you.

"Our pathways are designed to be useful for anyone who uses our guidance, presenting both a broad overview of a topic area, and detailed recommendations which can be explored further."

She added: "Each pathway pulls together everything that NICE has said on a topic. So visiting the NICE Pathway on dementia or diabetes, will provide you with advice not just from the relevant clinical guideline, but from technology appraisals and quality standards too."

Professor Tony Kendrick, Professor of Primary Care and Population Sciences at the University of Southampton, said: "NICE Pathways are a logical and useful way of bringing together various pieces of guidance together under one banner.

"The ability to get an overview of a topic is particularly useful, as it allows you to get an outline of a topic area but also access the relevant detail."