JRCALC: advice or requirement?

The Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee (JRCALC) is the body that develops and reviews clinical guidelines for use by paramedics working in the UK and it has been instrumental in moving ambulance services from locally-derived protocol and guidance to a national, systematically developed set of guidelines based upon current best evidence. The evidence is based upon systematic reviews, meta-analyses and randomized, controlled trials, where available. JRCALC states that its ‘guidance is advisory and has been developed to assist health care professionals, together with patients, to make decisions about the management of the patient's health, including treatments’ (JRCALC, 2006). The guidance is intended to support decisions and sound clinical judgement, not replace it. This begs the common question: what are the consequences for me if I make a clinical decision that deviated from the JRCALC guidance?

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