Interviews for the NICE guideline committee took place this week. From LDA one person applied for a lay member position and one for a professional position but we have no idea of the outcome and we have very limited information on other people who applied. Short-listed candidates will now have references followed up, there will be various checks within NICE and we will not know the panel membership for quite some time. So this is a period of waiting.
NICE and the National Guideline Centre are very concerned about conflicts of interest and keen to eliminate any possibility of bias. Bias in this case could potentially take the form of payment for services or products related to Lyme disease, or having expressed a view about Lyme disease or even perhaps being allied to one patient group. Lyme disease brings with it more complications, more uncertainties and is more contested than most conditions NICE has tackled. The reality is that within this context, everyone has a bias and a particular view based on their experience, and NICE has to sort out what really matters as this is their process.
There are two issues here that have to be grappled with: what matters to NICE and its international reputation for rigour, independence and objectivity and what matters to patients and clinicians actually dealing with Lyme disease. Both of these are important and it is difficult to see how they might differ.