The Clinical Effectiveness Unit (CEU) of the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) has achieved NHS Accreditation for the process used to produce its guidelines. The NHS Evidence Accreditation Scheme recognises organisations that demonstrate high standards in producing health or social care guidance. It is stated that users of accredited guidance can therefore have high confidence in the quality of the information. In future all CEU guidance will display the Accreditation Mark.
This coincides with the release of the latest clinical guidance: Combined Hormonal Contraception – an updated and extended version of the previous guidance on combined oral contraception published in 2006. There are now clinical guidelines on the vast majority of currently available methods as well as Drug Interactions, Quick Starting (methods), Emergency Contraception and others for specific, special groups. This is in addition to the UK Medical Eligibility Criteria.
The CEU was launched in 2002 and after initially being based in Aberdeen transferred to Sandyford in Glasgow in 2008. The director of the current unit is Dr Louise Melvin and its main tasks are producing evidence based guidance, new product reviews and running the Members Enquiry Service.
Clinical guidelines that are evidence-based are an important element of current clinical practice and underpin clinical competence and governance. Along with training they have the potential to raise standards and improve quality of care, though as their name suggests they are intended to guide clinical care not replace clinical judgement as they are applied to general situations rather than to individuals. In sexual and reproductive health care CEU guidance and FSRH training is increasingly seen as the gold standard by which clinical care is likely to be judged. An example of this was seen earlier this year in a statement from the MDU in response to an increase in the number of claims related to problems with subdermal implants by GPs. The statement stresses the need for, particularly, GP members to ensure they have appropriate training and should ideally hold a Letter of Competence from the Faculty.