The topic I have been asked to address, ‘Doctors, Economics and Clinical Practice Guidelines: Can they be Brought Together’, is both difficult and controversial. It is also timely. With the creation of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), the National Service Frameworks, and the clinical governance project, the UK has an opportunity to develop systematic national solutions to problems that have challenged every society – how to balance the quality and cost of health care in a way that respects both people’s humanity and their pocketbooks. My objective in this talk is to contribute in a small way to that effort.

I will begin by discussing the relationship between doctors and guidelines. Then I will address the role of economics in the design of guidelines. Finally, I will try to connect doctors to economics.