• NICE expects to publish guidance on three covid-19 topics a week
  • Organisation will release front-line staff from committees
  • Will stop publishing guidance on non-critical subjects

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is to publish rapid guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of covid-19.

The organisation expects to publish guidance on three topics per week, according to an email from outgoing chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon, seen by HSJ.

NICE will also free any front-line staff from its committees to support the covid-19 effort, although it will continue to produce guidance on “therapeutically critical” topics.

The body published its first set of covid-19 guidance — on patients in critical care, on renal dialysis units and on patients undergoing chemotherapy — on Friday.

It is also producing rapid evidence reviews on medicine to guide NHS England’s covid-19 commissioning policies. The first reviews will focus on the short-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for acute viral respiratory infection and on angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors.

Depending on staff availability, NICE will still complete, but not publish, technology appraisals and other guidance that is post final consultation. It will continue other guidance, standards and advice that can be produced without engaging front-line staff. Other work may be initiated and continued, as far as resources allow.

HSJ has approached NICE for comment.