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Evidence-based Medicine

Volume 618: debated on Tuesday 20 December 2016

2. What his Department’s definition is of evidence-based medicine; and if he will make a statement. (907973)

Evidence-based medicine is about using high-quality research to guide clinical practice and to achieve optimal results for all patients. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence plays an important role in supporting evidence-based medicine by translating research into authoritative guidance for healthcare professionals on best practice.

Is the Minister aware that the author of “Evidence-based Medicine” in 1992, Professor David Sackett, said that it is

“about integrating individual clinical experience and the best external evidence, not just internal evidence”?

Is she further aware that in respect of the interpretation of evidence-based medicine, I have reported the so-called Good Thinking Society to the Charity Commission for the abuse of its charitable status through its use of legal threats to force the Department and health providers to change the law on healthcare?

NICE obviously considers complementary and alternative medicines when developing its guidance, where there is evidence, and it has been able to recommend some therapies, such as acupuncture for tension headaches and a range of complementary medicines for multiple sclerosis. We expect healthcare professionals to take that guidance into account when designing local services, but they must use their best understanding when treating the individual patients in front of them.

The evidence is very clear that eating more sugar increases the risk of diabetes. Apart from introducing the sugar tax, what further evidence-based research can be used by the Government to reduce the risk of diabetes?

The right hon. Gentleman is a great proponent of tackling the risk of diabetes. He knows that the Government take tackling and preventing diabetes extremely seriously. That is why we have introduced the world’s first national diabetes prevention programme, which we have piloted and are rolling out across the country. It includes not only education programmes but testing, and we are making sure that we use the evidence from the programme to bring about improvement and that we are rolling it out effectively.

We are all in favour of evidence-based medicine. We are also in favour of decent resources for the national health service but, in the case of Huddersfield and Calderdale hospitals, what we want is good, high-quality management, rather than GPs being promoted to a managerial position that they cannot handle.

The hon. Gentleman is a great advocate of evidence-based medicine and I am pleased to hear about his support for it. He will be pleased that the national leadership programme is one of the evidence-based programmes that we are rolling out to improve the leadership of the NHS across the country.