They are everywhere
Mine are declared on my home page. I hope my conflicts haven’t dulled my thinking, I’ll let others decide that. Maybe they aren’t inherently bad, I learned some useful ideas from the meetings from where my conflict arises, that I may not otherwise have learned.
NHSE have just published guidance on the matter. It’s excellent, comprehensive, wide ranging and very very practical.
Managing Conflicts Of Interest In The NHS: Guidance For Staff And Organisations
And the press release https://www.england.nhs.uk/2017/02/coi-guidelines/
From the blurb
“aims to strengthen the management of conflicts of interest within the NHS and to ensure transparent and accountable health care. The guidance permits NHS staff to receive small tokens or gifts but will require them to decline anything that could be seen to affect their professional judgement. It will also be standard practice for NHS commitments to take precedence over private practice, and for any member of staff – clinical or non-clinical – to declare outside employment and the details of where and when this takes place although not earnings at this stage.
It applies to NHS practice. This is great.
However…………There are things beyond NHS practice that have a massive bearing on NHS practice, namely clinical guidelines prepared by Royal Colleges (accepting that NICE is part of the NHS)
Often Royal College guidelines are viewed with more weight and gravitas my consultants than NICE (tell me if I’ve got that wrong)….
often I’ve seen College Guidelines with either 1) blatant non declaration of interests (which are well known and have sometimes been declared elsewhere) or 2) COI lists that are longer than the guidance itself (!)
Here’s two little ideas, courtesy of a friend of mine – who will remain nameless that might redress some of this and so reduce undue influences on the process of writing College guidelines
Firstly make it a GMC offence for non declaration of COI if there is an expectation of a declaration
Secondly, a default expectation that Royal college guideline development processes have same standards of COI management as NICE do (strict, rigorous and relentlessly enforced)