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Medical Royal Colleges make Commitment to Evidence Based Medicine

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25 Apr 2013


Today, medical Royal Colleges tell Parliamentarians that evidence based medicine is central to the success of modern healthcare and must be their aspiration.


Twenty medical Royal Colleges and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society make a commitment to evidence based medicine. They say they will continue to strive towards a solid evidence base for treatments because this gives doctors and patients the best foundation on which to base decisions. The colleges worked with Sense About Science and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to launch a booklet of case studies of 15 of the game changers in evidence based medicine in their fields.


All agree that evidence based medicine must be at the core of medical Royal Colleges' role in raising the standard of patient care. They also agree that there are frustrations and challenges to this aspiration. It will never be possible to investigate every intervention for every possible circumstance and some treatments escape rigorous scrutiny. Complicated discussions about whether funding, time and expertise should be focused on clinical research, basic research or training are going on. Grappling with these frustrations must continue. Medicine is driven by precisely this kind of critical approach. It is because medical professionals are willing to open things up for discussion again and again that we can move medicine forward.


Commenting on this, Mr Ian Ritchie, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said: 

Ian Ritchie"The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is very supportive of the concept that medical professionals must consider the evidence that the interventions we use do work in fact and not just in our opinion. This applies not just to high-tech procedures and equipment, but also to the way in which clinicians relate to all their patients."


 Professor James D Hutchison, Vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh added:  

Prof J Hutchison 3

"As Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (an Edinburgh doctor, trained by a President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh) once said, 'it is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data'. Evidence matters in medicine, and surgeons have a long history of recording their results.

"What has changed is that this is now embedded within routine practice, and the practice and development of surgery (techniques, individuals, implants) is subject to rigorous on-going assessment. That, surely, can only be to the benefit of their patients."


Evidence Based Medicine Matters launched on Thursday 25 April 2013 at the House of Lords at an event hosted by Lord Willis of Knaresborough.

For further information download the report below or visit the Sense About Science website.

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