Consultation processes

[Graphic showing the people involved in consultation]

National Open Meetings

This is a one day conference, where the guideline development group discuss the draft guideline with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, general practitioners, patients and other NHS staff, and ask for feedback. We invite patients and carers to the national open meeting so that they can comment on the draft guideline and make sure that the issues that matter to patients and carers have been included.  If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can still comment as the draft guideline will be available on our website. Based on feedback from the national open meeting, the guideline is updated before going to the next stage of consultation, which is peer review.

Peer Review of Guidelines

All our guidelines are independently reviewed by an expert panel of peer reviewers before they are published. We ask reviewers to comment on the accuracy of the guideline and to suggest improvements. The draft guideline is also sent to lay reviewers to make sure that it has considered issues that are important to patients and carers. Lay reviewers don’t need to address every aspect of the guideline, but to comment on the areas where they feel their expertise is most relevant. We encourage lay representatives to comment on the provision of information section of the guideline. We have produced specific guidance for lay reviewers to take part in the peer review process.

Download our booklet Reviewing a draft SIGN guideline: information for lay reviewers (PDF 284K)

Peer review of patient booklets

Patient versions of guidelines are reviewed by a lay audience before they are published.  This can be done by submitting comments in writing or we can visit patient groups to discuss the draft and collect feedback from group discussions. We ask reviewers to comment on readability, language and tone and to suggest improvements to the text.

Focus groups and surveys

We often run focus groups with patients and carers to help us to identify the issues that are important to patients and carers.  The information gathered from focus groups is used to influence the key questions on which the guideline is based.  Information collected via surveys and focus groups is often used to help us identify the information needs of patients and carers. We use this information to help us draft the provision of information section of the guideline.


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