A new report in the BMJ shows that the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been urged to undergo a “full and proper revision” of its 2009 guideline on adult depression, after a meeting with 35 health organisations

The governing body said that the coalition, led by the Society for Psychotherapy Research, said that it still has serious concerns about significant flaws in methodology, a lack of transparency, and inconsistencies found in the updated draft guideline published in July 2017.

The announcement comes after a position statement signed by 35 health organisations, including the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, the British Psychological Society, the British Acupuncture Council, and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said that the guideline was not fit for purpose and, if published, would seriously impede the care of millions of people with depression in the UK.

In July 2018, 34 MPs and peers wrote to Andrew Dillon, chief executive officer of NICE, urging it to tackle the coalition’s concerns. In October 2018 an unprecedented third revision was announced. The publication of the final guidance has been delayed until February 2020, with a consultation period set from 2 October 2019 to 13 November 2019.

Paul Chrisp, director of NICE’s Centre for Guidelines, said that the meeting with stakeholders had been constructive: “NICE agreed to look again at the issues raised by the stakeholders, including the use of long term follow-up data, patient experience, and the use of non-symptom outcomes such as quality of life or functioning,” he said. “We will also look at how we word our guideline recommendations to better reflect any uncertainties in the evidence.”

Experts have also urged NICE to update its recommendations on antidepressant withdrawal to reflect scientific evidence.