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Patient organisations and charities can evaluate the quality and provision of services using guidelines as a measure. They can develop research projects and frame questions about the availability and quality of provision to evaluate if services and experiences are aligned with published guidance.

Patient organisations and charities can then use guidelines to develop or scrutinise service improvement plans, to ensure they align with the evidence of what is effective and good value care. Case studies 13 and 14 provide examples.

Case study 13

Healthwatch Bucks in England wanted to find out about the experiences of people treated in the hospital emergency department after a self-harm injury. They wanted to see if the NICE clinical guideline on self-harm in over 8s (CG16 2004) was being followed. They worked with a mental health charity, Buckinghamshire MIND, who carried out interviews with service users. As a result of the project, Healthwatch Bucks made recommendations aimed at supporting implementation of the NICE guideline. Local health service organisations responded by producing a joint action plan that implemented several recommendations, including those around privacy and consent.

Case study 14

Pancreatic Cancer UK worked with University Hospital Birmingham to develop a project to deliver fast track pancreatic cancer surgery.

The patient organisation worked in partnership with the hospital to implement NICE guideline recommendations to improve access to services and reduce waiting times. The project enabled patients to have surgery in 16 days rather than 65 days, increased the number of those having surgery by more than a fifth, and achieved a cost–saving benefit of £3,200 per patient.