NHS England has published new guidelines which are designed to strengthen the management of conflicts of interest within the NHS, to “ensure that the NHS is a world leader for transparent and accountable healthcare”. The guidelines allow for small gifts such as chocolates or cards for a nurse to be accepted but gifts over £50 will need to be declared. The guidance is applicable across CCGs, NHS Trusts and NHS England.
Areas that are highlighted as risking conflicts of interest include sponsored events, sponsored research and sponsored posts. This might include a range of pharmaceutical sponsored research activities. An overview of potential issues and responsibilities of NHS employees are outlined. Transparency and clear reporting are highlighted as particularly important. It appears that paid positions with honoraria (including one off advisory boards) would need to be declared.
Under the terms of hospitality, it is stated that meals and refreshments under £25 can be accepted, those valued between £25 and £75 can be accepted but those over £75 should be refused unless there are exceptional circumstances and senior approval is gained.
The guidance comes into force from 1st June 2017.